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Publisher's Summary

A supernatural thriller with a vigilante twist.

They say suicides are damned for eternity. But if possessing the bodies of violent criminals is Hell, then Dan Jenkins will take it. And he does every time a portal arrives to whisk him from his ghostly exile.

Dan rides the living like a supernatural jockey, pushing out their consciousness and taking over. He doesn't know where their minds go while he's in charge, and for the most part doesn't care. He's just happy to live again.

Normally, before the villain returns to kick him out, Dan dishes out a final serving of justice and leaves the world a safer place. It's one of the rules if he wants more rides, and he's happy to oblige. For a part-time dead guy, it's a pretty good gig.

And then he meets her.

©2013 John L. Monk (P)2016 John L. Monk

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  • Jip
  • 22-06-2016

One of the greatest narrations I have ever heard..

Any additional comments?

Riveting story by a great writer, naturally that is where my Amazon review was focused…the remainder of this review will be an attempt to describe how picture-perfect narration and near flawless audio production brought the story and characters in this novel to life.

I have 70+ audiobooks and I never write reviews, but this performance is unquestionably one of the greatest narrations I have ever heard…with the likes of Frank Muller, Barbara Rosenblat and Stephen Fry. The vocal performance transformed spoken work into a movie reel playing inside my head. I have read books I couldn’t put down, but this is the first audiobook that engrossed me enough to lose sleep over until I was finished…at 2:45 AM to be exact.

I am eager to discover more of Steve Phelan's narration work online, or for his next audiobook release. Right now I do not see other audiobooks under Steve Phelan’s hyperlink (on Audible at least). For me, narration really is what makes all the difference. You need the story AND the storyteller to create a masterpiece…this audiobook has both. Truly a work of art.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • AudioBook Reviewer
  • 19-07-2016

Creative, well-written and enjoyable

When Dan was a confused college kid having issues with his girlfriend, he committed suicide. Since then he's been in - what he calls - "the Great Wherever" but regularly gets sent by "the Great Whomever" into the bodies of living humans - usually violent criminals - to dispense justice. Typically, he has about 3 weeks to figure out what the person, or his "ride" as Dan calls it, has done and what vigilante action is required. Then he is kicked out of the body again by the original owner's consciousness.

It took me a little while to become fully invested in this story, as it started off with a couple of episodes showing the usual cycle Dan goes through. At that stage, the story seemed to lack continuity. It was almost like listening to a string of short stories, but I can appreciate why the author structured it in this manner. Then Dan enters the body of Nate, who seems to be totally different from his usual rides, and by that stage, I was hooked. Dan was a very likable character, remorseful, generous and a bit of a nerd, and in spite of the fantastical nature of the story, he felt like a very authentic person. The story was well-paced and delivered in a snappy, lighthearted style with plenty of wit and some very funny remarks, although the plot was obviously quite dark and at times violent.

Steve Phelan did a great job portraying the protagonist Dan in exactly the way you would imagine him. His normal voice, pacing, and rhythm were very pleasant for listening and the male characters were portrayed well and with distinct voices. The female characters, however, not so much. It was the common case of a male voice artist making females sound like Minnie Mouse or worse. Because of the type of story it was, it wasn't too frustrating and I would definitely listen to Mr. Phelan again, as the rest of his performance was excellent. There were no problems with the quality of the production, which contained some nice sound effects.

I'm hoping John L. Monk's sequel, Fool's Ride, will also be made available on audio.

Creative, well-written and enjoyable, I would certainly recommend this if you like supernatural thrillers or remember Quantum Leap and Dexter with fondness.

Audiobook was provided for review by the narrator.

Please find this complete review and many others at my review blog

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9 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • Tracy64
  • 13-06-2016

Excellent!

Love the story! What a great idea. This is a series I'll be following for sure. Can't wait until the next one is out. Narration by Steve Phelan is perfect! He brought this character to life! Worth the credit or the price. You won't be disappointed!

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Kathy
  • 29-07-2016

This Time, So Much Better Than I Expected!

Usually, I am writing that I didn't like a book as much as I expected to. Not this one. It really took me by surprise and was such a fun, easy listen.

The plot has been well-described above and in others' reviews. It is what I like to call magical realism. Briefly, Dan Jenkins is in a limbo-like state (for a reason), where he is thrust into the bodies of random people for a period of 3 to 4 weeks. He calls these episodes "rides". During that time, he must interact with that person's family and acquaintances, masquerading as the other person as best he can. He also must find out the purpose for his "ride" and make a resolution before the person inevitably reclaims their body and kicks Dan out. Quite often, his "rides" are very unpleasant, criminal types. Not always, though.

Dan is a truly likable fellow. You can't help but enjoy his first person narrative. Sure, this story requires lots of leaps of imagination and really could have deteriorated into silliness or stupidity, but it didn't.

The narration was superb and greatly added to the enjoyability factor. Steve Phelan is a master of voices. His female voices were SO funny and great, they always brought a smile to my face!

I will definitely check out John L. Monk's next book in this series. Highly recommended if you are looking for a fun listen.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Mindjacked
  • 28-06-2016

couldn't stop listening

Dan Jenkins suicide didn't get him out of his so called cruddy life, well I guess it did get him out of his life, but not the lives of those he gets dropped into. Some were really bad guys that deserve to die, others just need a push in the right direction, either way, in time Dan would get kicked out of the body and dropped into another. But these lives are always a living hell for Dan until he gets the assignment of a lifetime.

John Monk took a really interesting turn on a old subject and wow how did he add so much action and humor. This book is really good and will keep you turning the pages to see what happens to Dan next. I had the audiobook narrated by Steve Phelan who did a great job with all the different characters and made the story awesome to listen too. The characters in the book are very realistic and the story moves at a great pace that will keep you page turning or in your car (or on the treadmill) listening. So whichever way you choose to enjoy this book it won't let you down.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Ray Johnson
  • 08-05-2018

A paranormal Quantum Leap

All right. I'm ranting here. I have written a review for this wonderful book 3 times now, and audible is not posting it, and it is wearing on my nerves. I believe that my first run is always better, and as they go on they degrade slightly, as I try desperately to invoke what had come before. Audible is for crap when it comes to getting reviews online, so I apologize, as this is now my fourth rewrite. So, just imagine that it is at least five time better written and insightful than this actually is.


BTW, the headline was either going to be a riff on Quantum Leap or the TV show, Monk. I had a Mr. Monk writes about a Spiritual Circuit Judge in my pocket, but figured no one would get it. Headlines matter!


The first thing I'm going to speak of is the cover. I believe that the cover is often overlooked in a review, and it is actually the thing that fraws a potential reader in to a book. When I am looking for something new, I often go into a genre and browse by scrolling throught the list of book until something catched my eye. Usually it is the cover, but the title can do it for me as well. A good title can suck me in just as fast as a fancy cover. SO, in this case, the only low marks I can perceive come from both the cover and the title. The title, while appropriate to the story, really does not convey any thing about the book at a glance. Kick could be about a dance move, a kung fu fight, or a football game. Granted, once you know the stroy, it makes sense, but out of context it really doesn't say a lot. Nor does the Jenkins Cycle. Is that a coaching technique? Some sort of choreography? See what I mean? Also, the cover is just a guy in a hoodie standing before a cityscape, the broken glass spiderweb in the corner and the lightening blast look ominous, but again, convey nothing about the story. I do like that the hoodie is empty, as it does show us that the body it covers is an empty vessel, but there is no way to know that without reading the story. So, I do not love the cover or the title, but I take no points away from that, this is just to help the author when prepping the next book. As a side note, I only found this book because it came up in my suggested titles blurb for another book I was looking at. I scrolled right on past it, but stopped to pick something up that I had dropped and saw the description for this book, and thought, "Gee, that sounds intersting." Had I not dropped something right when I did, I would never have found this book, and it would have been my loss.



Anyway, you will not hear a negative thing come from my lips beyond this point. I actually LOVED Kick. Kick is unique in so many ways, and yet familiar enough that you slip right into the story. I don't generally provide overviews of books, you know what the blurb says, so why should I just rehash th story for you? Then you have to avoid spoilers and the like. No thanks. I'll tell you what I think, and expand where I deem it fit to do so. Like I say, the book is pretty unique. The closest things I can find that might come close is a book called A Warm Place to Call Home: A Demon's Story by Michael Siemsen. That deals with a demon that inhabits verious bodies until he tires of living their lives, an when he exits he leaves behind an empty husk, a mindless shell. That is good, but it really doesn't compare to this masterpiece. The second is, of course, the TV show Quantum Leap. It sort of deals with the same concept, only instead of Dan (the protagonist) jumping through time to put right what once went wrong, he leaps from one body to another ensuring that the people he inhabits get a great big tasty does of justice. Thankfully, Monk does not try to add in a supernatural equivelent to Ziggy or Admiral Al Calavicci to help our hapless protagonist. The third concept would be DC Comics Deadman, but only insofar as Boston Brand is a ghost who is not allowed to cross over and periodically takes over the bodies of the living to aid him in his various tasks. Each is a piece of what Monk has created here, but none can really touch it, either.



The book is clever, well written, and paced like a car on the Indy 500. Monk knows how to write. His characters are real and believable. Dan, for example, isn't perfect and he makes mistakes. I also appreciate that even though he has been at the spiritual karma thing for a while that Monk makes him still have the sensibilities of a young college kid. Dan is a wiseacre, but not a smartarse. SITTING BULL, that's all I'm going to say. And you will appreciate his love of apple turnovers. All of his characters, for the most part, are like this. Real, human, and imperfect. The only exception would be Erica, and that is because everything around her is somewhat predictable. Otherwise you have no clue where this story is going or how it will end. I also appreciate that even though this is obviously book one of a series (it says so right on the cover) it plays out like a stand alone novel. No loose ends exists nor is there a cliffhanger. This could be a one and done kind of book, but I am glad that it is not, ad that there will be more of this brilliance coming.



As I said, Monk's characters feel real. They are authentic fully fleshed human beings, and you get to know them. You will empathize with Dan, and panic when things start going pearshaped for him. Monk's style is smooth and fluid, and everything is pertinent to the story, every scene matters. There is no filler here.



All I can say is that I eagerly await the next book in this series. I genuinely have no idea which way Monk will take the story, but I trust that it will be an amazing ride. Now that I know the quality of his writing I will be keeping my eye out for anything else that he does.



Oh, let me tell you about Phelan's narration. He is flawless. His voice is pleasant to listen to, and he adds so much emotion when he speaks that you will come to believe that Dan is a real guy with some serious issues that he's dealing with. He plays each character as if he is out to earn an Emmy (the regualar kind, not a Daytime one), and never slacks off in his portrayals. I appreaciate his vocal skills, and will be keping an out out on other books in his catalog. Good narrators are hard to find. I think his style meshes quite well with Monk's writing.



If you want something new, unique, fun, and exciting then this is the book for you, but be warned it will also make you think some deep exitential thoughts regarding spirituality, justice, and a few other matters. It just doesn't beat you over the head with them. Monk handles those topics with a velvet glove, and not a metal guantlet. Even though I did receive a promo code for this review it in no way influenced my considerations of the material, and in fact, inspired me to be more honest. In fact, getting a code generally makes me harsher as a reviewer as I am more often concerned what someone like Me will decide based on my review.



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2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Cyndy Payo
  • 01-03-2017

KICK is a great story -- Amazing Narrator

What made the experience of listening to Kick the most enjoyable?

Not only is the story and premise so original... I really like that it touched on themes of the unknown. Is there a greater power? A Great Unknown? Redemption is perhaps the biggest theme. I really enjoyed the performance of Steve Phelan. What a talent! His voices were amazing and he was able to infuse great humor in what could have otherwise been a droll read. He read it way better that if I had read the book myself. Listen to KICK... it will be totally worth your time. Intriguing, suspenseful, thoughtful and throughly entertaining.

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  • Reviewer1023
  • 09-08-2016

Truly captivating book

Where does Kick rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Kick is a well-written book that brings to mind Quantum Leap and Dexter in a way that keeps you at the edge of your seat waiting to see what happens next. It is fun, terrifying, and can at times be quite emotional. Enjoy!

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  • Scott
  • 02-07-2016

Talented Writer Worth Watching

In the humorous irreverence, flippant narrative style, inventive use of metaphor, contemporary cultural touchstones, and wacky concept, John L. Monk's writing will remind you of Christopher Moore. At times he seems to be channeling Moore. The concept was novel (pun intended), though the picaresque nature of the narrative began to rub it little thin by the end. Nonetheless, Monk brought it all to a satisfactory conclusion. Steve Phelan did a decent job differentiating the male characters, though several of the female characters sound like Minnie Mouse which, given the underlying humor of the first-person narrator, worked well enough.

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  • s1
  • 13-04-2017

Quantum Leap

Reminded me of the TV show Quantum Leap but without time travel. looking forward to book 2

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  • Matthew
  • 13-01-2017

I have never even considered this possibility before.

Recommendation is kinda the best review you can give. Not like my opinion matter to you but the star rating should and the rating of other. The thing is don't go reading the reviews for this one. Not that there bad but they are full of spoilers. Also there are a lot of little things in this book that you need to take. Set a side what you think is really and just go on what ever the book tell you.

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  • Kat Taylor
  • 10-09-2016

Good fun and a different type of story.

Likable and yet flawed main character with a refreshingly different type of book. Funny in places and thought provoking in others, I found myself relating to Dan. Good fun to read!