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The Next Best Thing

Written by: Wiley Brooks
Narrated by: Garrett Michael Brown
Length: 9 hrs and 43 mins

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Publisher's Summary

It's hard not to like Joey Jackson. He oozes charm to go with his good looks. Young women are especially taken by him. Right up until he kills them. Ex-CIA officer Mason Ray plans to find him and stop him. For good.

In his debut novel, Wiley Brooks weaves a character-rich story through exotic locals in Malaysia. The year is 1987. It's prime time for young backpackers from around the world to discover the beauties and mysteries of the long-time British colony. If you like a good thriller about a serial killer, you should buy The Next Best Thing today.

A grieving, angry dad hires Mason to track Joey down. Mason, though, is soon falling apart himself. The ex-CIA officer had committed a horrible act out of revenge years before, for the violent death of his fiancée. His barbaric actions didn't bring his Sylvie back, but it was, as he liked to say, the next best thing. He had killed the "high value target" who ordered the bomb that took her life.

Mason hasn't thought much about the ugly things he did that day over the years. He did what he had to do and moved on. Something about this case, though, strikes too close to home. He doesn't see it coming. Images of the innocent lives he took that otherwise beautiful day come rushing back. They jolt him awake most nights and plague his thoughts most days.

These problems don't stop Mason, a first-rate investigator, from doggedly pursuing Joey. Turns out that Joey isn't even his real name. And he's far from the young man people think he is.

Joey is a serial killer. All of Joey's victims are young American women traveling alone in Malaysia. All blonde. All 19 to 22 years old. Joey's smart. He never kills in the same place twice, and he spaces his victims months apart.

One day, Joey realizes that his days bedding and killing young women can't go on forever. Already, he can see small age lines in his face. There will come a time, he is sure, when the young, free-spirited women - girls, really - that his scheme relies on will no longer invite him back to their rooms.

Joey decides he needs to do one last big hit that will set him up for life. He had been making enough off the girls' cash and belongings to live well, but there was no future in it. Joey comes up with a plan to set him up for life. To make it work, he needs to find a slightly older woman with money in the bank back home.

He finds her in Jessica Stone. She's a 33-year-old widow from Seattle. But Jessica is nothing like the 20-year-old girls Joey has wooed in the past. Smart, beautiful, and looking for an adventure to help restart her life. A fling with an attractive younger man? Bring it on!

Joey uses all of his charms to win the redheaded beauty's trust on a private tour of Malaysia. In many ways, she finds him irresistible. And the sex? It's great! All the while, though, Joey is plotting how to get to her cash and the ways that he will kill her once he does.

Mason presses on, as his demons close in. He draws closer to Joey and Jessica, day by day. Will he corral those demons in time to save Jessica? Will Jessica ever see Joey for who he really is?

If this story piques your interest and you're not put off by a dollop of steamy sex and a little violence, buy The Next Best Thing today.

©2019 Wiley Brooks (P)2019 Wiley Brooks

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  • Milica
  • 2020-01-09

Unique, intriguing and suspenseful thriller

Joey is a gorgeous sexy hunk that also happens to be a serial killer. When Joey murders the daughter of a wealthy man, the father sends an ex-CIA agent to get revenge for his daughter.

Wiley Brooks write an absolutely compelling and intriguing story. It was fast-paced, interesting and unique. The plot was well developed and the scenes of Malaysia made me want to visit the place (although not alone, lol). There were steamy scenes and gory scenes and deep scenes going into the mind of a killer and hunter. I was entertained throughout.

Garrett narrated very well with amazing energy and intonation. He made the story even more enjoyable for me and i look forward to hearing more from him again in future.

Overall, i highly recommend this suspenseful and intriguing thriller. Set in Malaysia, not only was it beautiful, but worth it!

Note: This book was given to me for free at my request and i provided this objective review voluntarily.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Grace Valley
  • 2020-02-19

First audiobook I've finished quickly! Great read!

I searched for a book to enjoy on my sometimes long commutes to work. I found myself very engaged and listened everytime I hopped in the car. The story and characters were believable and the plot, gripping from start to finish. I'll only say that having come from reading lots of young adult novels and then college textbooks, that this book deals with mature themes, scenes, and emotions. I don't believe I've read anything like this before, but consider myself the wiser and more entertained for doing so. For a little while, I escaped from traffic, and now I need to find another book. The narration was great, as well. Highly recommend!

2 people found this helpful

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  • jaenpop
  • 2020-02-17

Damn fine novel!

The story can be a little gruesome at times and if you are squeamish about sex scenes be warned. They are not graphic in nature but they are there. The novel was very well written and the narrator was excellent at managing the many dialects and voices. This was not my normal genre but was an excellent listen!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Sara B
  • 2020-02-08

Intense & Entertaining

The Next Best Thing is a brilliantly-written thriller, it captivated me from the beginning right to the very end. The cast is well-developed, complex, and intriguing. I listen to this about a week ago and I'm still thinking about Joey's character. He is a contradiction, an incredibly attractive man who happens to be a serial killer. The story is about a father's need for revenge after Joey murders his daughter.

Brilliant narration by Garrett Michael Brown, he captured the characters' personalities and the intensity of the scenes. This a gripping and suspenseful story with outstanding narration. I strongly recommend it. I received a free copy of this audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Rayc
  • 2020-02-04

A Superb Read/listen

The Next Best Thing. .
I received a free copy of this audio book at my own request and voluntarily leave this honest review.
This book is an awesome read, gripping and a tense storyline, a well constructed and written storyline. With a great characters.
Narration is excellent and certainly compliments the book.
This is the first book by Wiley Brooks I've read and I will certainly look for more.
Highly highly recommend.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Jocelyne
  • 2020-02-01

Suspenseful!

The Next Best Thing is a captivating thriller. The characters are intriguing! Mason's investigation unfolds at a great pace. The story is told with multiple POV. The storyline is fast-paced and suspenseful. Danger, death, drama, and revenge kept me on the edge of my seat right from the beginning, waiting anxiously for some resolution. Garrett Michael Brown did an amazing job with the narration. He has a great voice. I was given a free review copy of the audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Karson Lee
  • 2020-01-25

Highly recommended!!

The Next Best Thing is such an amazing book! One of my favorites, definitely top 25! The descriptions of the jungle, landscape, etc. make the reader feel as though they've traveled to Malaysia themselves. There is a great sense of knowledge from the author that bleeds into every word he has written. At the end of the book, I find myself questioning how much of this story is real and whether this is the account of somebody who has truly lived through the portrayals in the book. Highly, highly recommended to all!

It is extremely rare for a book to stick with me for more than a few minutes after the end, but I cannot stop thinking about The Next Best Thing. I find myself empathizing with the characters and rooting them on. I'm hoping for more by this author!

The audio quality was excellent. The narrator has done a wonderful job telling this story in such a way that it is enjoyable, believable, and has the listener craving more!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Fievel
  • 2020-01-20

Great Book, Excellent Narration.

I have listened to numerous audio books over the last 3 months and have found the narration to be pretty poor on many of them. This is not the case with "the Next Best Thing" by Wiley Brooks. Garrett Michael Brown does an excellent job narrating bringing the characters to life and making it a please to listen and engage. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a good listen. I plan on looking for further audio books narrated by Garrett Michael Brown. Excellent work!

This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Jeff & Sabrena
  • 2020-01-19

Creative and realistic

This is a creatively plotted, perfectly-paced, character-rich suspense story expertly narrated by Garrett Michael Brown. He voiced characters distinctly with appropriate accents. The story grabbed my attention in the prologue and kept me enthralled right through the satisfying epilogue. It's an exciting debut novel.

Note: I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Kayla Krantz
  • 2020-04-16

Perfect Thriller

Joey is a murderer, but he hasn’t always been. At first, he was just a purse snatcher. Once he realized the value of passports and traveler’s checks, he upped his game. With the help of a partner, Joey targeted young blonde American women traveling alone. When things start to get risky, Joey crafts the idea for one last hit. The biggest yet. His plan is to woo an older woman with money and take her for all she has before he does away with her at the last moment. When he meets Jessica, he is very intent to move on that plan. Except he’s never felt this way about a woman before. Will he be able to go through with it when the time comes or is this the beginning of a fresh start for the serial killer?

Suspenseful and immersive, this was definitely one of those books that hooks you and keeps you. Joey’s character was so well-crafted from his looks down to his background and finally his personality. On the outside, he’s a charmer, but the inside is filled with darkness. It was definitely an interesting character.

As far as background is concerned, I think the author did a fantastic job of setting the scene in Malaysia from sights to sounds to food. Putting the reader into the lives of American backpackers overseas was an interesting change of pace from similar books I’ve read to this one.

I thoroughly enjoyed this read. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on more works from the author.

The narrator did a fantastic job.

This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review.

1 person found this helpful