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Sunday, October 8, 2017

Audiobookworm Presents: The Punch Escrow by Tal M. Klein; #AudioBookTour, #OutNow, #Review, #Giveaway

Author: Tal M. Klein
Narrator:Matthew Mercer
Length: 8 hours 42 minutes
Publisher: Audible Studios
Released: Jul. 25, 2017
Genre: Tecnothriller
Rating:  5 Stars

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Tal M. Klein. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

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 twenty-second century guy. He spends his days training artificial intelligence engines to act more human, jamming out to 1980's 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.

Top 10 Playlist

The Punch Escrow’s protagonist is a bit of an 80’s new wave savant. Here is The Punch Escrow soundtrack (released as a set of five double sided 7” records):
10. Yazoo - Situation
9. Eurythmics - Here Comes The Rain Again
8. Thomas Dolby - She Blinded Me With Science
7. A-ha - Take On Me
6. Don’t  You Want Me - The Human League
5. Erasure - Oh L’amour
4. Tears For Fears - Everybody Wants To Rule The World
3. Soft Cell - Tainted Love
2. Bette Davis Eyes - Kim Carnes
1. Culture Club - Karma Chameleon

Tal M. Klein was born in Israel, grew up in New York, and currently lives in Detroit with his wife and two daughters. When she was five years old, his daughter Iris wrote a book called I’m a Bunch of Dinosaurs that went on to become one of the most successful children's book projects on Kickstarter ―something that Tal explained to Iris by telling her, “your book made lots of kids happy.” Iris then asked Tal, "Daddy, why don't you write a book that makes lots of grownups happy?" Tal mulled this over for a few years, and eventually wrote his first book, The Punch Escrow. It won the Inkshares Geek & Sundry Hard Science Fiction publishing contest, and is the first book published on the Geek & Sundry imprint.
Narrator Bio
Matthew Christopher Miller, known professionally as Matthew Mercer or Matt Mercer, is an American voice actor involved in English dubs of Japanese anime as well as cartoons, films and video games. In anime shows, he voiced Levi in Attack on Titan, Kiritsugu Emiya in Fate/Zero, Kanji Tatsumi for episodes 13-26 in Persona 4: The Animation and Trafalgar Law in the Funimation dub of One Piece. In video games, he voices Leon S. Kennedy in the Resident Evil series, Jack Cooper in Titanfall 2, Chrom in Fire Emblem Awakening, McCree in Overwatch, MacCready in Fallout 4 and Yusuke Kitagawa in Persona 5. In addition to voice-over, Mercer has developed some live-action web series including a Nintendo character parody called "There Will Be Brawl" and the famous Geek & Sundry and Alpha Dungeons & Dragons gaming session show "Critical Role." The Punch Escrow is his first audiobook.

There is nothing bad that I can say about this book. If I can give one piece of advice it is to try something out of your comfort zone - you just might get a pleasant surprise. I certainly got that here.  

It's a book that brought back memories of childhood. It's a book that makes you think about what is possible. It's a book that makes you wonder what our future may hold. I'm all about the romance but I don't miss that here. I loved it from beginning to end. Mr. Mercer was the perfect choice for the voice actor.

Mr Mercer is multi talented. He does a great job of bringing all the characters to life. He changes the tone and timbre of his voice in order to create some of the people in this story. He even does a pretty good job with female voices - does enough that you can picture a woman performing in this story. And he even sings. He's an all around actor performing a one man play. One sad note was this is the only book that I found he has narrated so one can always hope. My only disappointment is that there is no visual - I bet it would have been amazing.

Mr. Klein was also a pleasant surprise. I took the chance and got out of my comfort zone and was completely blown away. His story took me back to shows that I watched while growing up. He reminded me how simple they were compared to the shows and movies that get created now. The technology is so much more advanced. It's that technology in his story that has me wondering what our future truly holds. Current events bleed into the story because of the villain in the piece. His mindset could be of any of those whose mind becomes a little skewed. I could not find any more books and that was a disappointment because he makes it a pleasure to go outside what I'm usually comfortable with.

These two men are the perfect couple. Mr. Klein has words that just sing and makes each scene flow. Than you have a very versatile narrator in Mr. Mercer. And if you listen through the whole book, he'll actually sing to you. In searching about these two gentlemen imagine my surprise when Mr. Klein notes on his Facebook page that it may be adapted to the screen. And that please me very much. It's just another way to bring his words to life. But after hearing our narrator sing a certain 80's song, I can't picture anyone else doing that once I can actually see "The Punch Escrow". It will be interesting to see if this author creates a followup.  

I have to say thank you to these two gentlemen for a very pleasurable experience.

Q&A with Author Tal M. Klein
  • How did you select your narrator, Matthew Mercer?
I always knew I wanted Matt Mercer to narrate my book, the hard part was getting him to agree to do it. Between Critical Role and his various Nerdist responsibilities, he’s also an incredibly prolific voice actor. Recording an audiobook is a serious time commitment! There was also the challenge of getting Audible to agree to having Matt do the book because he’d never done an audiobook before. Ultimately I got lucky in that Matt read my book, liked it, agreed to do the audiobook, and Audible was easily convinced to sign off once they heard his voice acting reel. The rest is history!
  • How closely did you work with Matthew before and during the recording process? Did you give him any pronunciation tips or special insight into the characters?
Matt is a consumate professional. We did one session on pronounciation, but everything else was entirely in his court. I wanted him to make my book his canvas. He did an outstanding job.
  • How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for writing?
The Inkshares community is incredibly supportive, so they are owed a lot of credit, but my wife deserves the lion’s share. She was my rock throughout the writing process and the book would have never gotten finished without her support and enthusiasm.
  • Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
I love audiobooks, though I tend to prefer listening to nonfiction. One of the reasons I was so particular about choosing Matt Mercer to do my book is because I knew he would give each chracter a unique voice. I feel like many fiction audiobooks lose me when they are narrated in monotone.
  • Is there a particular part of this story that you feel is more resonating in the audiobook performance than in the book format?
Nothing beats Matt Mercer singing Karma Chameleon. That alone is worth the price of admission in my humble opinion.
  • What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”?
I think the two experiences are distinctly different. As I mentioned, I rarely listen to fiction audiobooks, but when I do it’s usually after I’ve already read the book.
  • How did you celebrate after finishing this novel?
A bottle of expensive bubbly with my family and friends!

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