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Tears of a Clone

Easytown Novels, Book 2
Narrated by: Daniel Penz
Series: Easytown Novels, Book 2
Length: 9 hrs and 31 mins
5 out of 5 stars (2 ratings)

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Summary

Torture tourism is an illegal sport in Easytown - unless the victim is a clone, then nobody cares. They're little more than property in the eyes of the government.

When Detective Zach Forrest discovers the mutilated bodies of three clones in a garbage compactor, he's dismayed that no one wants anything to do with the investigation. He takes matters into his own hands and visits Tommy Voodoo, aka The King of Easytown, to get information.

Forrest is shocked to learn of the multi-million dollar industry of torture tourism going on right under everyone's nose. He embarks on an unauthorized investigation and discovers that the truth behind the clone murders is more terrifying than he'd imagined.

©2016 Brian Parker (P)2018 Brian Parker

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Don't blame me. I just work here.

This is the second book in the Easytown series, following Detective Zack Forrest in the murky streets of futuristic New Orleans' Easy Town, and whilst it is entirely unnecessary to have read book one, The Immortality Clause, that book does help to set the scene and the character of the main protagonist. The area is lawless, life cheap in Easytown. And when the brutally battered and mutilated murdered bodies of a man and two women are found dumped in the garbage with the tattoos of clones on their necks, no one is interested in discovering the killers, after all, clones are just property, expendible, even if they are, in every other way, human. Everyone, that is, except Forrest, who reluctantly works with an old aquaintance, Tommy Voodoo, to discover who is behind this latest outbreak of Torture Terrorism. But what he discovers is far more than even be had anticipated.

Like it's predecessor, this book is an excellent detective noir set in a slightly futuristic world. There is humour, but mostly this is a grim world, with the main protagonist rather world weary, sardonic, not minding to cross a few lines himself but still capable of being shocked at just how low people can go and determined to end the corruption. The narrator, Daniel Penz, is an excellent choice to become the Detective through who's eyes we see this adventure. And he gives a great performance, his reading well modulated and paced, the different characters each given different identifiable voice. His air is also slightly laid back, resigned, tired: just right for the character of Zack.

My deep thanks to the rights holder of Tears of a Clone who, at my request, freely gifted me with a complimentary copy, via Audiobook Boom. A really enjoyable read: great characters and good characterisation, dark twisted story and excellent narration. Highly recommended

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  • Spooky Mike
  • 18-07-19

Easytown gets a lot darker and a lot harder

I really was impressed with how much progress was made with this book. I felt like Brian Parker took everything that worked well from the first book and cranked it up. I liked the first book a lot, but this one was strides better. What I also really enjoyed is that even though this is a cyberpunk story, I feel like it delved into some philosophical and ethical ideas that I didn’t expect to be faced with that got me thinking. This book can stand alone on its own, however you should listen to them in order as you will learn more about the world Parker has created and understand the characters better, plus the first book was really good.

Forrest is back after his last case and is better than ever. Easytown seems to have gotten darker and more depraved. Forrest stumbles upon another case that is more violent, more methodical, and more dangerous than ever. I really liked how it played out and think Parker has perfected his story telling for his world with this book. I liked how we get to see some of the darker sides of Easytown and how Forrest seems to change with the city as he gets pulled further into the seedier sides of the city. I hope that this continues as this book nailed my expectation of hardboiled fiction.

We get a few of the same characters from the first story and one incredibly bad ass new one. Paladin is the antihero that Forrest isn’t, but one that the town definitely needs. He is like a violent Batman while Forrest is more like Commissioner Gordon. This is a story arc that I definitely look forward to hearing more about.

I did feel like Andy had less of a presence in this book and missed the quirky banter from their strange relationship. I recognize that this story has a new relationship, although that one was not as satisfying for me as the one between Forrest and Andy. I liked the nagging Andy did as it felt quite genuine, even for A.I. I liked the relationship he had with Tegan in the first book, but wasn’t as excited how it progressed in this one. I share his sentiment on the age gap and the difference in their mentality based on life experience does make it a bit creepy. Tegan does seem to be the only beacon of light in his life and for that I am happy she is there.

Daniel Penz knocks it out of the park again. I love his voice for Forrest, it has the right grit, cadence, and emotion for a noir detective. I think you would get a completely different story with a different narrator. I often felt like there was more than one narrator as his other character voices are quite different sounding. The little things added, like the electronic cyborg voices, really bring the feel of this town to life.

I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.

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  • Mr EPN
  • 10-04-18

We need another book, too good not to have one

Brian Parker writes another fantastic story set in a futuristic town in New Orleans. The story as some twists and turns. Keeps you on the edge of your seat the whole time. I cannot wait for book three.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • BT
  • 27-06-19

My first time in easy town, probably not my last

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

Disclaimer I did not read book 1 and this is my first experience with the "Easy Town" series.

This book is a great example of sci-fi meets Noir detective. It is a bit formulaic but it mixes things up enough for the plot to not be plain and simple. As no one in the story trusts each other people rarely give each other the full story and what they do give is spun to show only the side that the informant wants to show.

This book is quite graphic in its depiction of the wounds and state of bodies, at times, and parts could be uncomfortable for someone not prepared for such things. Having said that the foul language is fairly light.

The story itself follows Detective Zach Forrest and his unauthorized investigation of clone murders. Clones being actively swept under the carpet in this world. The mystery unlocks a whole under ground world that even a place like East Town doesn't know about.

The setting is well developed and explored to the point of familiarity. It fits inside the wider world and allows the characters to develop inside this pressure cooker. There was no point where something out of place or superfluous to the story.

The characters were well developed and while their is a few references to the previous book, I didn't feel like I was missing anything by joining the story late. They served as more references or back story, rather than any real plot point.

The main plot makes sense. This may sound like a silly thing to say, but it is vital to a good mystery/detective story. All the pieces fit together in a reasonable way and it is easy to the imagination to believe the information being presented.

The only complaint I have is the pacing of the story. It seemed a little slow getting started, but once it did, it sprinted all the way to the end. If it got going a little faster and slowed down towards the 3/4 mark to let the characters and readers stop and take a break it would have been more enjoyable.

The voice acting by Daniel Penz was excellent! Male and female voices were well above par. There was also voice effects used for robotic voices, bring the level of professionalism to the top.

All in all a great book, and something I wouldn't normally read, but I am very glad I did. I think I may check out other books in this series. If they are on the same level as this book, they should be a highly enjoyable experience.

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  • Lonnie-The GreatNorthernTroll-Moore
  • 25-06-19

Full of Grit! Just the way I like it!

This is an awesome book!  Brian Parker has delivered up a SF/Noir Mystery, and he didn't skimp on the craftsmanship! The story is very seductive, and without even realizing it, I was soon held fast in it's web of intrigue. It's Dark, Gritty, and Well written... Just the way I like it!
Detective Zack Forrest is having girl friend problems, and work problems aplenty... and then he gets called to the scene  of a body dump site where three dead bodies have been found...
It turns out that the bodies are clones, and most of society couldn't care less if some clones have been "killed" ... they're nothing but property, after all, but Zack cares, and he wants to find the killer, but first he has to convince his boss that a crime has been committed! And it soon becomes a matter of life and death (his life), to solve the crime!
This book will stand entirely on it's own merits and you don't need to have read the first book to enjoy listening to Tears of a Clone. That said, I absolutely plan on getting more, because I NEED more of Detective Zach Forrest, Tommy Voodoo and Easytown (the backstreets of New Orleans)!
Daniel Penz absolutely nailed this, giving the narration all of the grit and nuance that this book called out for, and all without overdoing a bit of it!

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  • SAM
  • 24-06-19

Fast-paced, suspenseful, and funny!!

I love this series, it reminds me of Jim Butcher's Dresden Files series but with a really fun futuristic twist. It's the perfect sequel to the first novel.
So the book... It's excellent! I love that the vehicles in this series are all self driven and that as a society the people rely so much on AI that they don't do well without it. My very favorite part is when Forrest has to drive manually. I laughed like an idiot the entire time.
I thoroughly enjoy how much of an asshole Detective Forrest is. His character's ethical and emotional dilemmas are really interesting to listen to, and there's just the right amount of romance. I am really enjoying listening to Forrest's evolution as a character and can't wait to move on to the next book!
The narration for this series(and this book) is done incredibly well, Penz's voice fits Forrest's personality like a glove and his accents and inflection are spot on.


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

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  • timj26
  • 23-06-19

Great series

Another fantastic series from Brian Parker
If you liked book 1 immorality clause you won’t be disappointed
Once again Daniel provides stellar narration and production
With sci-fi elements that feel plausible this should appeal to a large audience
I received a free review audiobook and voluntarily left this review

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • C.T.
  • 13-04-18

More adventures in a cyberpunk New Orleans

I was a big fan of the Immorality Clause by Brian Parker last year. It was basically a variant on Blade Runner with the premise of a Louisiana Detective in the future doing his best to find out who was responsible for the deaths at a gynoid sex club. I was, thus, extremely interested in the follow-up book as far too many books are interested in the trappings of cyberpunk versus the more nuanced ways of examining how technology can be used to screw up people's lives. 'Technology is neutral in cyberpunk but people suck so it'll always be misused' being one way to explain it.

So, what did I get? Well, I was thrown as the book opens with our protagonist hunting Batman. Well, actually, a guy who wears masked black body armor and hunts criminals called the Paladin. That, however, actually paid off in the end. Still, it's interesting the book shifts some elements from the first book that I was troubled by. Aside from these elements, though, I find Tears of a Clone to be an extremely enjoyable science fiction novel that has a more polished feel in several respects. I loved the original book and enjoyed this one a great deal, making me eager to see a third one in the series.

The premise is Detective Zach Forrest is currently hunting the Paladin for the vigilante's murder of several criminals. Zach's a hardline "criminals deserve no mercy" sort of cop himself, so his distaste for the Paladin rings a bit hollow. Indeed, he's actually under investigation for charges of police brutality at the start of the story. However, all of this becomes a side story with the discovery of mutilated clones in the city. Apparently, someone has created "torture tourism" where individuals can mutilate and murder clones for pay. This disgusts Detective Forrest because he has met clones and know them to as human as anyone else.

This element is the only part of the story which confuses me, along with Zach's belief Easytown is a kind of Fallujah of America given it's a major tourist destination in the city as well as popular Red Light District. Why are clones needed when they have androids and gynoids perfectly capable of mimicking human responses that Zach slept with one without being able to tell the difference? Likewise, how did it get to the point people became unable to tell the difference between clones and robots that the former have no legal rights? I get the metaphor Zach is trying to use but wonder why society would have both clones and humanoid robots versus one or the other. No adequate answer was given and it seems like there'd be a competition between them at the least.

Despite this, I really enjoyed the dark and gritty story which unfolded. Zach is like a dog on a bone, constantly trying to find ways ot getting justice for the clone victims who have no legal protections. The metaphor for various minorities and setting in the Deep South makes an appropriate homage even if the story is never heavy-handed. The reader can draw the parallels between the treatment of Blacks and clones but there's never a need by the author to point them out.

While the best part of the book is the cutting away at the murder-porn ring, I also enjoyed the romance in the book as well. I'm not a shipper usually but Zachery's troubles reminded me of Harry Dresden's and that's always a good thing. I hope he doesn't get with Teagan, his much-younger admirer as he has chemistry with a lot of more interesting women. Hell, even his Siri stand-in, Andi, has better chemistry with him. Whatever the case, this is an excellent cyberpunk noir novel and I can't wait for the next one.

9/10

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  • Quella
  • 29-08-19

Even better than the first...

Brian Parker once again pulls off a gritty grimy future cyberpunk noir tale in his second audiobook of the Easytown series called “Tears of a Clone”. I very much enjoyed the first book in the series, and I was happy to listen and review the second. The author tells a rich, full, detailed, and engrossing story which only gets better the second time around. What makes the book even more enjoyable is that the audiobook edition is narrated by the same person who voiced the first book of the series; Daniel Penz. I enjoyed the emotion and depth he contributed to each of the story’s characters along with the crisp and professional audio quality. What makes this story so good is the wonderful blending of a great author along with a great narrator to produce a gem of an audiobook. One could easily close their eyes, and as they listen, imagine experiencing a full-length movie playing our before you; and I would love to see this series made into a motion picture or TV mini-series. Think Blade Runner blended with Grand Theft Auto along with some L.A. Noir for style. I’m not a huge fan of books which are in the hardboiled or detective procedural genre, but the author does such a wonderful job of spinning this story that I would listen to it no matter what. If you are a person who like well-crafted stories with a heavy cyberpunk feel, I would say this is a series you will want to listen too. It is worth the credit.

Let me first stated that this book deals with some very dark topics and the main arching theme is that of our main character investigating what is referred to as “torture tourism”. This is where clones are abused in any way imaginable for the pleasure and excitement of those willing to pay to play or watch. Easytown is easy in nearly every aspect and in some cases bad things seems to slip though the hands of the law or it is ignored by them. However, detective Forrest is one who does not like to see wrong ignored. Even with his many problems and faults, he is a man who understands the justice system. He will sacrifice his own job and even his life to bring those who break the law to justice. In many ways, he must leverage all his resources and even the slimy Tommy Voodoo from the first book. He is a man who gets away with murder, but the law can never pin any crime on him. This story has many of your favorites from the first, and a few newcomers who are a welcomed addition. There is a vigilante taking the law in his own hands called the Paladin. I expect we will see him showing up more and more in future books.

What I like most about this author and narrator duo is their ability to bring a story to life and not just provide details but instead paint a picture which touches nearly every one of your senses. The scenes are vivid, the characters are complex and likeable, and I felt that each fit their personalities very well. Solutions to problems did not simply appear a few pages prior allowing our character to save the day, not at all. Instead as you listen and the story unravels, you begin to see how all the pieces fit wonderfully together. In many places I found myself saying, wow, I did not see that coming. Not only are we presented with a good story backdrop, we are also shown many new and exciting technologies in this future world. Items from weapons, scanning device, and even vehicles all felt new and different. Yet, technology felt familiar and not over the top futuristic. One thing to remember is that smart toilets are not your friend and should be avoided at all costs. After listening to this story, I now look at my Alexa a bit differently. When will it become Andy? This story is very well-written, I in some ways I think better than the first, even with its darker theme. It truly was a joy to listen too.

Those who listened to the first book will remember the heavy sarcasm and no hole’s attitude of the main character this does not change or improve in this book either. We are given a deeper view into Andy, our main character’s assistance bot. She also is one who takes no flak from people. What the book centers around is the clones themselves. Here we learn of the large portion of the population who have no feelings or desire for clones to have any rights. They are not seen as moral beings but more objects which are property with no privileges. It reminded me of the way slaves were treated in the American south during the Civil War period.

This book in the series is a bit darker and graphic from the first, but much of this is due to the rather weighty and heavy topics covered. It should be noted that each of the Easytown stories can be listened to as a standalone audiobook, but you will get so much more if you listen to them in order. Many of the main characters from the first book are included in this book as well as a few newer ones. I like that Andy is back and as snarky as ever. With such a heavy and dark theme, the author does a good job of sprinkling in bits of dry humor and quips along the way which will make you laugh. I will say that I was surprised that romance was as difficult today as it will be in the future. In this second book we find that our main character struggles with relationships as he does not have time to devote himself to them. There is such a good emphasis placed in the importance of both friendships and relationships for people in their lives and I felt the author did a great job of brings this to the forefront.

Not only does the book deal with the main subject of torturing clones, it also includes more sinister areas of moral issues along with deep levels of prejudice. Here we also see the difficulties of what it is to be a detective. Long hours, late nights, weekends, and all of this takes a toll on one’s body and friends. We see our main character try to drown his sorrows in alcohol at the expense of those who love and care for him. He finds that these means are not the way to handle such problems.

The audiobook’s narration was full, expressive, and clear of any audio artifacts. The level of professionalism puts Daniel Penz is right up there with some of the best narrators I have listened too. His voice fits the character and story to a tee. It is smooth, a bit gritty, and dynamic. I am so glad to know that he narrates all three books currently in the series. For the characters who had accents, the narrator performs these masterfully. There are some light audio effects used in this story and the narrator does an exceptional job of making sure they are subtle and do not take away from the story. Little things like having the one end of a phone conversation sound as if it was truly coming from such a device. Good job.

For parents and younger readers, this book is intended for mature audiences only. There is heavy use of vulgar language and many adult themes included. There is a fair amount of graphic violence that may be too intense for younger readers. I would highly recommend the book only be enjoyed by mature listeners.

In summary, if you like your books to be a bit dark, dirty, depraved along with gritty, grimy and even gross at times, you may find yourself enjoying this expertly well-written book. If you take anything from this review, I will quote the author when he says, “Exuberant the new word for the day.”. If you are not sure what that means, go look it up as your mother would say. I can say this book has many elements what make that quote a reality. Sure, there is mystery, suspense, and a bit of whodunnit, but this is only the tip of the iceberg once you dive deeper into its story. Upon completion of this second book in the series, you will be able to easily slide right in to the third which is currently available on Audible.

Disclaimer: This audiobook was provided to the reviewer at no cost by the author, narrator, and/or publisher in exchange for an unbiased review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Logical Lady
  • 29-07-19

Excellent book

I listened to the audio book series. I had read book one a month ago and was very excited to "read" the next two books in the series. Little did I know, I would fall deep in to Zach Forrest's plots and finish books two and three in two days.

Book one discusses a murder plot involving AI droids. In book two there's a mysterious (human) clone problem plaguing the city of Easytown. Zach Forrest must investigate what's happening to the clones while upper management directly tells him not to do so. There's a lot more to these clones than meets the eye and Zach also has to solve this case while dealing with "The Paladin." a street vigilante who decides drug dealers would be better off dead.

The narration is excellent with a nice mix of effects. Daniel Penz does an excellent job of bringing the gruff detective to life. His narration range is wide and really brings the characters to life.

I did get a review code for book 3 and the author ever so kindle offered me a code for book 2 since I had told him I loved book 1 so much.

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  • NV Cefalo
  • 08-07-19

Another excellent adventure in Easytown

*This book was given to me by the author at my request, and I provided this voluntary review.*

4.5 / 5

I thoroughly enjoyed book 1 of Parker's series, and I was able to get the second book in the series! Once again, Parker has done an excellent job mixing crime and sci-fi together into an awesome story that is a perfect continuation of book 1 to book 2. While this one wasnt technically as exciting as the first story, it is still an excellent story in my opinion. He even sets up the events leading to book 3, which I will definitely be reading. The narration is once again top-notch. Highly recommend.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful