The Automatic Detective

  • by A. Lee Martinez
  • Narrated by Marc Vietor
  • 9 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Even in Empire City, a town where weird science is the hope for tomorrow, it's hard for a robot to make his way. It's even harder for a robot named Mack Megaton, a hulking machine designed to bring mankind to its knees. But Mack's not interested in world domination. He's just a bot trying to get by, trying to demonstrate that he isn't just an automated smashing machine, and to earn his citizenship in the process. It should be as easy as crushing a tank for Mack, but some bots just can't catch a break.
When Mack's neighbors are kidnapped, Mack sets off on a journey through the dark alleys and gleaming skyscrapers of Empire City. Along the way, he runs afoul of a talking gorilla, a brainy dame, a mutant lowlife, a little green mob boss, and the secret conspiracy at the heart of Empire's founders - not to mention more trouble than he bargained for. What started out as one missing family becomes a battle for the future of Empire and every citizen that calls her home.

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What the Critics Say

"Martinez tickles the funny bone in this delightful, fast-paced mishmash of SF and hard-boiled detective story.... Eccentric characters, all of whom are clever twists on stereotypes, populate a smart, rocket-fast read with a clever, twisty plot that comes to a satisfying conclusion." (Publishers Weekly)
“This combination sci-fi/hard-boiled detective story is a hoot….Narrator Marc Vietor approaches the story with a classic noir tone that is hilarious.” (AudioFile)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Wonderful Narration performance

A good story mixing the genre of hard boiled detective yarn with solid Science fiction with a deft touch of humor this was the first by this author I have listened too it will not be the last.

But major kudos for the performance by the narrator. I have listened to Mr. Vietor before and found him to be one of the better artists here on Audible but this performance moves him up to the top rank. his work catches all the best notes of a classic Dragnet and has just the right deadpan "just the Facts, ma m" tone and is to be praised.
I have bought over 230 books here and other than the works of the masters of classic Science fiction (you know who they are) and Terry Pratchett's works this is the first 5 star I have given to a 'new' author
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- Windy

A charming hard-boiled, hardware detective story

A bot's gotta' do what a bot's gotta' do. Automated citizen candidate (pending full citizenship) Mack Megabot drives a cab and scratches out a scanty living, barely able to pay for his electrical recharges and his rent. He enjoys a higher status than other robots, and has been deemed eligible for potential citizenship after he completes a probationary period.

Marc Vietor does a superb job of reading this wondrous tale - I would not have loved it nearly as much if it had been read in a traditional manner. Vietor does the hardboiled detective to perfection, giving Mack a voice and a personality beyond what Martinez gave him in words.

Mack stumbles into a kidnapping of a biological (human) family that he knows. He doesn't really feel affection, and doesn't have friends in the traditional sense, but he's a learning robot, and he's learning to care. He cares about this family, and after reading a note written on the back of a child's drawing, he realizes that they truly have been kidnapped and are in danger.

As Mack begins to understand and look into the missing family, his apartment blows up. The only thing he salvages is the battered drawing from the refrigerator - isn't that where all art is posted?

He needs a place to stay, so he heads for the apartment of a fellow cabbie, an intelligent gorilla named Jung. Jung is well spoken, educated, and a good friend, even if Mack doesn't really get the friend concept. Mack has lost all of his clothes in the explosion, so Jung lends him some attire. High status robots are allowed to wear clothes, and Mack doesn't feel right without something to wear.

After a recharge, courtesy of Jung, Mack hits the streets in search of info, and meets another biological, a wealthy woman who is a researcher and inventor of robotic upgrades and various high tech devices. He's wary of her friendly overtures until the house robot butler points out that the lady is being nice to him, and that he oughta' be nice back (the butler has a Brooklyn accent).

The streets of his city are full of strange mutant beings and chimeras created by science, including a fuzzball, a cross between a dachsund and a pill bug that rolls up into a hairy, yapping ball for play.

Mack realizes that he needs help from his friends, or he'll get nowhere. WIth his own heavy duty construction and killer design (literally - he was built for battle), he takes on the pilgrims who are changing the citizens of the city into monsters, seeking the lost family.

He finds a lot more than he ever bargained for, and then some.

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- Patroo "patroo"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-12-2011
  • Publisher: Audible Studios