The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag

  • by Robert A. Heinlein
  • Narrated by Tom Weiner
  • 3 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Jonathan Hoag has a curious problem. Every evening, he finds a mysterious reddish substance under his fingernails, with no memory what he was doing during the day to get it there. Jonathan hires the husband and wife detective team of Ted and Cynthia Randall to follow him during the day and find out. But Ted and Cynthia find themselves instantly out of their depth. Jonathan leaves no fingerprints. His few memories about his profession turn out to be false. Even stranger, Ted and Cynthia's own memories of what happens during their investigation do not match. There is a thirteenth floor to Jonathan's building that does not exist, there are mysterious and threatening beings living inside mirrors, and all of reality is not what they thought it was. Part supernatural thriller, part noir detective story, Heinlein's trip down the rabbit hole leads where you never expected.

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What the Critics Say

Part supernatural thriller, part noir detective story, Heinlein's trip down the rabbit hole leads where you never expected. Currently in development to be a feature film.
"One of the grand masters of science fiction." (Wall Street Journal)
"The most influential science fiction writer of all time!" (Locus)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Brilliant Sci-Fi Detective Action!

Any additional comments?

This is truly such a unique story that I believe it would translate into an excellent film. It's not often that you see the cross between detective mystery fiction and sci-fi, but it honestly REALLY works. The book is only around a 4 hour listen but TOTALLY worth the price of a credit. You won't be sorry you listened to this one.

9.5 / 10

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- Niels J. Rasmussen "Dr. Nils Rasmussen"

1950's Detective Sci Fi at it finest!

If you could sum up The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag in three words, what would they be?

Three word summation: Smoke and mirrors...Maybe that's what "reality" actually is.


What other book might you compare The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag to and why?

Robert Heinlein wrote the classic "Stranger In A Strange Land" as well as a later work, "Job", and I could see thematic elements of both these later novels in "The Unpleasent Profession Of Jonathan Hoag." I started reading sci fi by reading some of my dad's collection of '40's/'50's pulp magazines such "Astounding Stores", "Worlds Of If", "Analog" etc. and this novel was reminiscent of many of those old stores. As I listened to this story unfold, I was picturing an old black and white movie shot in the late 1940's. I always enjoyed those old mysteries! The revelation of what Mr. Hoag actually was up to immediately brought to mind an episode of The Twilight Zone, and a certain Stephen King story which shall remain unnamed because if I named it, you'd have the mystery solved before you read the the book!


Which scene was your favorite?

My favorite scene was when Ted Randall is brought before The Son's Of The Bird and warned against have any dealings with Mr. Hoag. And of course the last few scenes where what Mr. Hoag has been up to is finally revealed were also very enjoyable.


Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Having read this book decades ago, my main reaction was the pleasure of rediscovering a good old Robert Heinlein yarn as only R.H. can spin them.


Any additional comments?

For my money, there are few authors of speculative fiction, living or dead, who have written such a thoroughly enjoyable body of work as Robert Heinlein. I look forward to listening to them all again!

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- Mark Williams

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-11-2009
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.