A Stand-in for Dying

Brink of Life Trilogy, Book 1

Fiction - Audiobook
Audio Book
Reviewed on 05/02/2021
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Author Biography

I am a Harvard educated psychiatrist who taught psychotherapy and spent nearly four decades listening to my patients tell their stories. After leaving practice, I in turn became a storyteller, writing science fiction that explores the psychological consequences of living in a world of expanding possibilities, including even the prospect of evading death. My characters deal with enduring moral and emotional struggles against a backdrop of a near future world that is still dealing with environmental crises as it navigates the intersection of human and artificial intelligence.

As I watch the current generation of young adults assume their leadership roles in our culture, I see once again the youthful illusion of immortality and invincibility, this time with a twist. The Technological Singularity is close upon us and with it the prospect, at least in the eyes of the young, that life everlasting is within their grasp. And I wonder, given the temptation to extend life indefinitely, how the choices will be made and at what price the reality of immortality might come.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Divine Zape for Readers' Favorite

A Stand-in for Dying is the first book in the Brink of Life Trilogy by Rick Moskovitz. It is set in the near future and at a time when technology has developed to the point where it allows humans to extend their lifespan and to shift consciousness from one host to another. It is against this backdrop that a mysterious woman called Terra makes a proposition to Marcus, a young man whose life is not the best, asking him to give up his body in exchange for vast wealth and fortune. His client, the discreet Ray, is willing to pay a lot for it. Things do not go as planned as Ray finds a way to introduce a twist to the arrangement. There is more at stake in this story, including attacks from the creator of the consciousness-swapping technology and Marcus’s support for the rights of AIs which attracts the wrath of supremacists.

This is an intriguing opening to a trilogy that will have readers spellbound. Unsurprisingly, the author has a background in clinical psychiatry, because he brings deeply troubling probabilities into the story and, while exploring the realm of possibility, illustrates through deft storytelling how much impact science can have on human life and dignity. A Stand-in for Dying is real and it features characters that are memorable. Marcus is one of my favorite characters and I loved him from the moment he strikes the bargain with Terra. He is at the heart of the pathos that is skillfully written into the story. Rick Moskovitz writes about power and control, and how a few wealthy people can use their money to have access to healthier new bodies and better lifestyles, while the rest bargain for the crumbs.

It is an enthralling story that is enriched by the beautiful and arresting voice of the narrator — Joe Smith. The narrator captures the emotions, the pacing, and the punctuation in a way that feels natural and that makes the listening experience an enjoyable one. A Stand-in for Dying is an audio book that is professionally accomplished and keeps the reader enthralled.

Sefina Hawke

A Stand-in for Dying (Brink of Life Trilogy, Book 1) written by Rick Moskovitz and narrated by Joe Smith is an audiobook that would appeal most to a mixed audience of mature young adults and adult science fiction lovers who do not mind some minimally explicit, brief sexual situations. Ray and Marcus live in a future where the world is in an environmentally catastrophic state. An anonymous pact is made to allow Ray to live in Marcus’s body upon Ray’s death in exchange for an exorbitant amount of cash. Yet, things take a turn when Ray uncovers a way to switch with Marcus while both men are still alive. Are you ready for consciousness swapping technology, a human supremacist organization, artificial intelligence, and more?

A Stand-in for Dying by Rick Moskovitz is a well-written and well-narrated audiobook. This book truly kept me on the edge of my seat as the story unfolded. The moral and emotional issues involved in consciousness swapping technology intrigued me, especially when combined with the idea the AIs should have equal rights as humans. I found this to be interesting, not only in the story itself but also in terms of the psychological dilemmas behind AIs and what would happen if they did gain emotions and rights. I really liked the way in which the author used strong resourceful women in the story in real roles and not as just simple side characters.

The narrator Joe Smith is an accomplished performer with numerous voice-acting credits. His voice acting experience was easily heard in his ability to narrate both female and male characters while using his voice to distinguish between the two. The way he altered his pitch for characters of different genders allows the audience not only to hear the book, but to become immersed in it.

K.C. Finn

A Stand-in for Dying is a work of fiction in the science fiction, conceptual and interpersonal drama sub-genres, and was penned by author Rick Moskovitz as the first novel of the Brink of Life Trilogy. It is presented in audiobook format with narration by Joe Smith. In this poignant and interesting story, a pact between a younger man, Marcus, leads to a unique opportunity for the older Ray, who will inhabit his body in exchange for a wealth of knowledge and riches. But as tensions rise between these two men and the women by their sides, factions from all angles have a powerful investment in the consciousness swapping technology and its proposed results.

In terms of the novel itself, author Rick Moskovitz delivers a highly intriguing narrative and a well-crafted plot structure that sees the story go from strength to strength with every chapter. I enjoyed the sharp edges and sinister sides to the central roles as well as their more admirable qualities, and these elements in balance created realistic and relatable characters whom readers will certainly be invested in from the get-go. The concept itself is well thought out with excellent futuristic worldbuilding that adds to the overall believability and tension of the piece.

In terms of the audiobook presentation, I found the editing quality to be crisp and clear throughout. Narrator Joe Smith is well suited for the tale and embodies the spirit and intentions of the central male characters well, delivering a confident prose narrative with a clear grasp of the concepts at hand. This is certainly a voice actor who adds to the overall experience and enhances the story. Overall, I would certainly recommend A Stand-in for Dying to any readers who is a fan of conceptual science fiction, interpersonal dramatic tales, and intriguing original concepts.