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Publisher's Summary

"As much as Scalzi has the scientific creativity of a Michael Crichton, he also has the procedural chops of a Stephen J. Canell to craft a whodunit with buddy-cop charm and suspects aplenty - most of them in someone else's body." (USA Today)

John Scalzi returns with Head On, the stand-alone follow-up to the New York Times best-selling and critically acclaimed Lock In. Chilling near-future SF with the thrills of a gritty cop procedural, Head On brings Scalzi's trademark snappy dialogue and technological speculation to the future world of sports.

Hilketa is a frenetic and violent pastime where players attack each other with swords and hammers. The main goal of the game: obtain your opponent's head and carry it through the goalposts. With flesh and bone bodies, a sport like this would be impossible. But all the players are "threeps", robot-like bodies controlled by people with Haden's Syndrome, so anything goes. No one gets hurt, but the brutality is real, and the crowds love it.

Until a star athlete drops dead on the playing field.

Is it an accident or murder? FBI agents and Haden-related crime investigators Chris Shane and Leslie Vann are called in to uncover the truth - and in doing so travel to the darker side of the fast-growing sport of Hilketa, where fortunes are made or lost and where players and owners do whatever it takes to win, on and off the field.

©2018 John Scalzi (P)2018 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about Head On (Narrated by Amber Benson)

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • leighann montoya
  • 2019-12-03

not a new story just a different narrator

wasted a credit thinking this was a new book in the locked in series which I love only to realize that this book is actually a previously released book just with a different narrator

7 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Craig
  • 2018-04-20

Great Sequel

This is both a great sequel to Lock In and also a good standalone novel. However, first time readers may be confused as much of the information about the origin of Haden syndrome is not mentioned. This is definitely an exciting and enjoyable read.

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mark Hancock
  • 2018-04-20

Excellent book and narration

Loved it. Read in a day. Love the characters, the tech & world building, and narration. Someday would like to hear the series in the other narrator’s delivery, too, (but may wait for a sale).

Another grand Scalzi book!

5 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2018-05-03

Book is good. Narration is ok.

Darn! I didn't realize that Wheaton narrated this book also! I had listened to the one narrated by Amber Benson. When I listened to Lock In, I had Wheaton as the narrator. So having Benson as the narrator for this one, which she made the main character sound feminine, was throwing me off because I had always thought of Chris (the main character) as a man. It actually didn't occur to me that he wasn't. So having a feminine voice for Chris was actually starting to get on my nerves.

I thought the book was pretty good. I really like the characters and the world. The mysteries for this series are entertaining. However this one did get a little boring for a short amount of time. But over all it was pretty good. I'm curious as to what my rating would be if I would have listened to the Wheaton narration.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Scott Odle
  • 2018-04-19

great story, meh narration

The story is just as good as the first, Lock In. The characters and setting are the same, and there are some callbacks to the original, but there is enough context given for this novel to stand alone.

The gripping mystery, with just the right balance of action and comedy, is here in full force once again. The thought-provoking social commentary returns as well, this time turning its attention to professional sports and the culture surrounding them.

I find Amber Benson's delivery to be dry and hard-boiled, missing many of the story's whimsical notes. I had this criticism with Lock In as well, greatly preferring Wil Wheaton's performance. I look forward to hearing his version of Head On next.

6 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • 🦑
  • 2021-05-04

Interesting conceptual world

Recommend the series for the sweet world building, but the plot won’t give you any chills. A good world, a good listen, a decent plot. Author can drop in good hints and incredible portrayals of the world. The MC Chris is very likable and makes good choices.

NOTE: There are two audiobook versions! Main character is never assigned a gender, never referred to as "he" or "she". To play off this, the series is narrated by two different narrators! A very cool duality that plays on the main character's nonbinary forms.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • WMB
  • 2020-12-27

Loved it!

I’d already read Lock In and liked it so was curious about this one! I liked this one even more! Amber Benson does a fantastic job and really makes each character distinctive.

The dialog is great - and very funny! Loved Van!

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Mike T.
  • 2020-07-03

Good book, and yes - good narration!

The book: A new interesting angle to the "Hayden Syndrome" theme. Likable main characters. A bit of a whodunnit mystery and lots of action. In short - I liked the book. Also the "he said / she said" writing that marred "Lock In" is absent here. Better writing or perhaps better editing made it a smooth listen.

The narration: As with the first book I very much preferred Amber Benson's narration over Will Wheaton's speedreading performance. In particular Benson has the ability to make conversations sound natural, with short natural pauses when appropriate. Not so Wheaton. There's a reason that Benson's narration clocks in at 8 hrs 52 mins as opposed to Wheaton's speedy 7 hrs 36 mins.

Benson's ability to create different voices for characters may not be perfect but it's way better than Wheaton's. At least she tries... If a third "Lock In Series" book should appear I'll buy it - but only if Amber Benson is narrating!

1 person found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Robert
  • 2019-12-20

Terrible narration

Why tf does Van sound 102 years old? I can't tell if this chick went for vocal fry and landed on throat cancer or what.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Ginger
  • 2019-11-01

Just a Detective Story

I wanted more stories from the near-future world of _Lock_In_, but this book is little more than a simple detective procedural. I still liked it, but it felt flatter, less engaging than I'd hoped.

1 person found this helpful