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Publisher's Summary

It's the year 2147. Advancements in nanotechnology have enabled us to control aging. We've genetically engineered mosquitoes to feast on carbon fumes instead of blood, ending air pollution. And teleportation has become the ideal mode of transportation, offered exclusively by International Transport - a secretive firm headquartered in New York City. Their slogan: Departure...Arrival...Delight!
Joel Byram, our smartass protagonist, is an everyday 22nd century guy. He spends his days training artificial-intelligence engines to act more human, jamming out to 1980s new wave - an extremely obscure genre - and trying to salvage his deteriorating marriage. Joel is pretty much an everyday guy with everyday problems - until he's accidentally duplicated while teleporting. Now Joel must outsmart the shadowy organization that controls teleportation, outrun the religious sect out to destroy it, and find a way to get back to the woman he loves in a world that now has two of him.
©2017 Tal M. Klein (P)2017 Audible, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

"Narrator Matthew Mercer is perfectly cast as smart-ass Joel Byram. One can almost see Joel's facial expressions as he navigates a world in which he's been duplicated in a teleportation accident. This futuristic story is made Monty Python-like by Mercer's outstanding voicings. His version of the synthesized voice of the 171-year-old founder of a religious cult is beautifully mechanical. His rendering of the two Levantine spies' accents is marvelous. And his depiction of the transformation of a hardworking science guy into full-fledged mad scientist is spot-on. Many characters, many voices - one terrific performance." (AudioFile)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Amazon Customer on 09-25-17

Great Premise, terrible execution

What would have made The Punch Escrow better?

A less dumb/pompous protagonist. The protagonist is hard to like.

What was most disappointing about Tal M. Klein’s story?

Too many $5 adjectives. Klein over describes everything. Simple scenes drag on for minutes because Klien has to describe everything in excruciating, unnecessary detail.

What about Matthew Mercer’s performance did you like?

Great voicework. All the characters are distinctive. There were intermittent dead air spots that made me think my player had stopped.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

I really wanted to like it. Time Travel/ teleportation stories are my thing, but I just couldn't get past the presentation of this one.

Any additional comments?

I don't know if Audible sorts higher rated reviews to the top of the page but I probably wouldn't have bought this if I had read some of the 2 &3 star reviews lower down that pointed out all the things that annoyed me about this story.

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168 of 176 people found this review helpful


By alexkazam on 09-07-17

Terrible execution of an interesting idea.

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

No. The dialogue is exhaustively repetitive. The narration is way too informal and simplistic. Obviously the point is that a normal guy gets caught up in a high tech sci fi storyline - but he is obviously an intelligent person so his stupidity and rumination on details that are really not important are boring. The characters are not well developed. The potential climaxes or thrills this book could have are bogged down by terrible dialogue and characters.

His wife's character should have been one of the most interesting - but the author fails to elaborate on her backstory as much as he should have (as her actions create the course of the entire book). The "bad guys" in the book are just simplistic tropes. In the middle of action scenes that could be exciting, the author goes on random tangents that are entirely unhelpful and distracting.

The premise of the book is so interesting, but the execution is just terrible.

If you liked Dark Matter or the Martian do not listen/read this book. It will severely disappoint.

What does Matthew Mercer bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

He gets the sarcasm the main character has, which is probably the only interesting part of the main character. So the book would have been even worse had that characteristic not been drawn out.

Was The Punch Escrow worth the listening time?

No. The characters were one dimensional. It was unpredictable but in an unintelligible way. The action scenes could have been so much better but were bogged down by unnecessary detail and possible the worst analogies/metaphors/similes I have ever listened to.

I cannot tell you how many times I rolled my eyes.

Any additional comments?

The only reason I listened to the whole book is to see if it would ever get better and it didn't. I am holding back rolling my eyes as I am writing this review. Literally I audibly sighed out of exasperation and rolled my eyes so much while listening to this I am sure other commuters were concerned for my well being.

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35 of 36 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Jordan on 07-30-17

New and improved

What a fantastic story.

Suspense and thrills abound and fantastically performed by one of my favourite voice artists.
Thanks Tam and Matt for making this come to life.
Great stuff

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful


By Kim on 07-30-17

outstanding!

enthralling story from start to finish, matthew mercers narration really brings it to life

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Clinton on 02-09-18

Plot got teleported

What did you like best about The Punch Escrow? What did you like least?

I don't quite know what happened here. About a third of the way through I was enjoying this - nice idea for a story, plenty to explore and then it just stopped being intriguing. I started to find the protagonist annoying. The book mentions Choose Your Own Adventure, if this was one, I would have made many different choices.

Has The Punch Escrow put you off other books in this genre?

No, in fact I have thoroughly enjoyed other books exploring this theme

Was The Punch Escrow worth the listening time?

Worth it? That's hard. I did speed it up to 1.5x to get it finished...

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By Caspar on 01-28-18

Just awful

Everything stereotypically wrong with science fiction is used to assemble this trash. It is just exposition briefly interrupted by plot. The characters, in their infinitesimal moments of characterization, are banal ciphers existing only so some cunt can world build in an incredibly infantile manner. It's the future and A.I's are children so you can just lie to them to achieve your ends... Thrilling. All three monotheisms united to form their own theocratic state? No; that's never going to happen. The only reason it gets a one is because I can't give it a zero.
And just to reiterate because it's important and would have informed my purchase, it is just unnatural exposition dumps provided by cardboard.

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