CBR11 Bingo Square- Science!
The Dispatcher by John Scalzi was created as an audio book narrated by Zachary Quinto, and was a free monthly download for subscribers. I’ve only read one other Scalzi (I really should fix that) but this main character, Tony Valdez, is a similar type of main character, working in a morally gray area and not feeling that bad about it. In his world, most people cannot be murdered, they wake up in their beds, naked and with the clock starting again. This opens a position that seems to be tied to the Government of the place, a Dispatcher, who kills a person before they can die. The story starts at a hospital, where Tony is on hand to dispatch a patient if the operation fails. He is hired by the hospital, and I felt for the doctor, who had to feel like her competence was being called into question.
He discovers from a police officer that one of his fellow Dispatchers is missing. The darker side of the job is revealed in interesting ways. Dispatchers do jobs for hire like mercenaries. The hospital scene teases the next part of the plot, what if you knew someone you loved was going to die of a terminal disease, would you hire a Dispatcher. Of course, it is implied that this service can only be afforded by the very rich.
This is a light quick read that I enjoyed very much. Tony implies to the police officer investigating his friend’s disappearance that he no longer does any side jobs like his missing friend, but I don’t think we’re supposed to believe him. And something significant happens to him which makes you wonder if he will now look at his job differently. Or maybe he likes the power that having official permission to kill people brings, even if it’s temporary.