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"I know a guy…" In the "corporatocracy" of near-future Los Angeles, where hacker-tools are way-out in cyberspace but the voting machines clunk along the same old way, Artemis Bridge, ex-hacker turned wheeler-dealer, gets dragged into shady city politics, proving the saying that it's not what you know but who you know that matters in life. Especially when there's guys out there hell-bent on snuffing it out.
A racy, well-written tale that's doesn't lean too heavily on the frontal lobes – a kind of Bugs Bunny meets The Matrix. Confidently read by Joe Hempel, who brings the characters to life whilst reeling-off 2028 cyberpunk-talk as if he's spoken it from childhood.
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Set a decade or so in a future (2028) Los Angeles, after the USA has run out of money, meet Artemis Bridge, like his name, a bridge, a fixer, who links people with needs to those who can supply them - "I know a guy...". That's all he is, the middleman. He doesn't want any part of the action, doesn't want to know what goes down. He doesn't care; he's not nicknamed Amoral for no good reason. But in his line of work he really needs protection so employs a bodyguard, Aristotle, but can't afford to pay him enough to fight. Bridge has to take his own beatings from dissatisfied clients.
Then, against his will and better judgement, Bridge is thrust directly into the action and finds himself caught in something puzzling and dirty which soon threatens the lives not only of himself but also his hacker ex-girlfriend.
Under the Amoral Bridge is a delightful romp of noir cyberpunk crime, with fast paced action, great characters and witty dialogue. The storyline is intriguing, often violent and, at times, laugh aloud funny. The future is only a little removed from our time. Joe Hempel's narration brings it all alive. His racy reading perfectly mirrors the pace of the book and he expertly captures individual voices, each person distinct in ongoing dialogue, although the English accent of an obnoxious club bouncer did leave a little to be desired. But he carries the story expertly to its conclusion, leaving me wanting more.
Buy, read and enjoy. It's great fun.
What made the experience of listening to Under the Amoral Bridge the most enjoyable?
Set in a future Los Angeles after the government has abandoned it's role in governing the city, a major corporation is in charge. Ballard takes us on a ride through the corruption and societal decay, as the main character fights to stay alive after unfortunate circumstances place him in the dangerous unknown assailants. You may not be able to put down the audiobook until it's finished.
What does Joe Hempel bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?
Joe Hempel have done a great job
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
“This audiobook was given by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review."
I flipped back and forth
I found this book to be a delight. It really was like Neal Stepehnson lite. I found a number of times that I thought about Stephenson's "Snow Crash", especially when discussing their VR connections. I wish this book had gone further down that line, but alas. Having now read through book 4 of this series, I will say - NO SPOILERS - for fans of the genre that we do get to learn about this world's tech some more!
Artemis Bridge is a surprisingly complex character given how simplistic his outlook is. He is a businessman. He wants to make a buck by putting people together to do what they would. The obvious discussion of morality in the series, and amorality, added depth for me. I always enjoy a good thriller, and I especially like the technological world of the future that Gary A. Ballard built for us here. There are kernels of reality present that allow for understanding the characters and their plight(s). The corporations and privatization complex are a good playground for this story. The world is believable. It is a bit dark, maybe a little jaded, but so might we all be after our national government failed and gave power to corporations.
I found Joe Hempel's narration to be just the thing for this story. He had distinct voices for each character, and they really fit with the character's persona. I had no trouble keeping track of events, and I listen while working, driving, cleaning, etc. I've heard Joe in a number of books now. I found his performance in this series to be just right, and better than I've heard him from other stories.
I am grateful to have been given this opportunity. I recommend this book and series!
4 of 4 people found this review helpful