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Extended Audio Sample Spark: A Novel, by John Twelve Hawks Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: John Twelve Hawks Narrator: Scott Brick Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Edgy, hard-core, and wildly imaginative, this new thriller from New York Times bestselling author John Twelve Hawks features an assassin-narrator unlike anyone we’ve seen before, set in a present-day dystopia.

Jacob Underwood is a contract employee of the Special Services Section, a shadow department in the faceless multinational corporation DBG. Jacob is not a businessman … he is a hired assassin, and his job is to neutralize problems deemed unacceptable by the corporation. Jacob is not like other employees, nor is he like other people. Suffering from Cotard’s syndrome—a real condition that causes people to believe they are dead—Jacob perceives himself as nothing but a shell with no emotion and no sense of right or wrong.

Emily Buchanan is a bright young second-year associate for DBG, and she has disappeared without a trace. Suspecting she may have stolen valuable information and a fortune from the company, Miss Holquist, Jacob’s handler at DBG, assigns him the task of tracking her down and neutralizing her. Jacob’s condition allows him to carry out assignments with ruthless, logical precision—devoid of guilt, fear, or dishonor. But as his new assignment draws him inside a labyrinthine network of dark dealings, Jacob finds himself up against something he is completely incapable of understanding.

Spark is an ingenious and chilling vision of modern-day humanity under constant, invasive surveillance and a pulse-pounding game of cat and mouse.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “What sets Spark apart is John Twelve Hawks’s expert characterization of Jacob Underwood, a first-person narrator whose view of the world is so unexpected and strange that we can’t take our eyes off him. This is an adrenaline-charged thriller—endlessly inventive—that winds through a landscape of cutting-edge technology with great assurance and skill.”

    Lincoln Child, New York Times bestselling author

  • The author of the Fourth Realm trilogy returns with a thriller about a contract killer who, following a brain injury, suffers from Cotard’s syndrome, a (genuine) form of mental illness in which the afflicted person believes he or she is dead. Jacob’s injury has totally changed his life; he needs a highly structured, uncluttered environment, and he needs to learn how to simulate all of the forms of human behavior that used to come naturally to him. But his new assignment, which involves locating (and then possibly killing) a missing woman, soon leads him into situations that are exceedingly disorganized and full of human emotion (which, as a "dead" man, he no longer experiences or understands). It’s been several years since the Fourth Realm trilogy ended, and some readers might have wondered if the author had only one story to tell. But guess what? As good as the Fourth Realm books were, this one may be even more appealing: less fantastic, more grounded in a contemporary real world, with a narrator who is deeply scarred and endlessly fascinating. Booklist (Starred review)
  • Spark is an even better introduction to the abundant dystopian talents of John Twelve Hawks than The Traveler was… exhilarated… breathless action …[The] protagonist lives in an ominous, technology-dominated world where machines aid or spy on all aspects of life. Sometimes, they can do both, and the few free souls left in society fear that a takeover by artificial intelligence isn’t far away…Mr. Twelve Hawks sets up the battles in Spark as more than simple combat. His appeal lies in his pairing of one system of belief against another and letting them duke it out. Janet Maslin, The New York Times
  • In Spark, by John Twelve Hawks, memory becomes a twisty beast to get rid of, especially if it is the last part of you that is really human...a fantastic blend of action and deeper questions about what it means to be human. The Washington Post
  • What sets Spark apart is John Twelve Hawks’s expert characterization of Jacob Underwood, a first-person narrator whose view of the world is so unexpected and strange that we can’t take our eyes off him. This is an adrenaline-charged thriller–endlessly inventive–that winds through a landscape of cutting-edge technology with great assurance and skill. LINCOLN CHILD, New York Times bestselling author of The Third Gate and coauthor (with Douglas Preston) of White Fire
  • Spark is a marvel.  An utterly gripping, unbelievably imaginative tale with all the heart, drive, and humanity that it's hero, Jacob Underwood, a contract assassin, lacks.  Underwood is an amazing creation--a man afflicted with Cotard's Syndrome, who believes himself to be spiritually and emotionally dead.  Yet as he travels the world, seeking his most important target, he discovers that somewhere inside of him, a spark still fires.  At once a heart pounding thriller, a bitter indictment of our growing surveillance state, and a life affirming story of the indomitability of the human heart, Spark is the most satisfying book you will read this year! CHRISTOPHER REICH, New York Times bestselling author of RULES OF DECEPTION and INVASION OF PRIVACY
  • Spark is an even better introduction to the abundant dystopian talents of John Twelve Hawks than The Traveler was…breathless action…Mr. Twelve Hawks sets up the battles in Spark as more than simple combat. His appeal lies in his pairing of one system of belief against another and letting them duke it out.”

    New York Times

  • “In Spark, by John Twelve Hawks, memory becomes a twisty beast to get rid of, especially if it is the last part of you that is really human…a fantastic blend of action and deeper questions about what it means to be human.”

    Washington Post

  • “Twelve Hawks creates an alternative world made oppressive by the ubiquitous tracking of citizens in this story of Jacob Underwood…a compelling and sympathetic antihero…Fans of Twelve Hawks, dystopian literature, and those who delight in original protagonists will thoroughly enjoy this new character and fascinating premise. The novel was optioned for a movie by DreamWorks last year, so expect strong interest.”

    Library Journal (starred review)

  • “Grounded in a contemporary real world, with a narrator who is deeply scarred and endlessly fascinating.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Engaging…Twelve Hawks’s prose, cold and clinical at times, yet punctuated with moments of great sensitivity, matches the tone and mood of his setting perfectly.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “The setup poses a challenge for an audiobook narrator. How do you keep the thrill in a thriller when the main character, the book’s narrator, is emotionally flatlined? Scott Brick succeeds by emphasizing tempo over tone and by occasionally infusing Underwood’s resigned persona with a spark of excitement, a maneuver that also helps to make the ending more palatable.”

    AudioFile

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