The Demon in Business Class by Anthony Dobranski – Audiobook Blog Tour Review
Author: Anthony Dobranski
Narrator: Laura Petersen
Length: 18 hours 26 minutes
Publisher: Anthony Dobranski
Released: Aug. 19, 2020
Genre: Supernatural Thriller
She can speak all languages. He can smell evil intent.
They’re enemies. They crave each other.
Secret magic, international settings, a conspiracy plot, star-crossed lovers, and sharp writing The Demon in Business Class is a stunning debut novel spanning continents and genres.
Zarabeth travels the world for a shady executive, laying the groundwork for global war.
Gabriel offers a second chance to the criminals that a visionary leader sees in dreams.
One rainy night in Scotland, they meet…
Now, it’s complicated.
There’s also the investigator, the witch, the playboy, the gangster, the cultist, the pre-school teacher, the two angels…
And, the demon.
Fans of Jeff VanderMeer and David Mitchell will love this stylish cross-genre novel. Gorgeously narrated by Laura Petersen, The Demon in Business Class is an international story of fantasy, intrigue, and love, on the uneasy ground where the human meets the divine.
Your next read is now boarding, listen now!
Anthony Dobranski is from and lives in Washington DC. His debut novel is The Demon in Business Class, a modern fantasy. He also designed and published Business Class Tarot, a modern Tarot deck inspired by his novel. He is finishing up his new science-fiction novel, The White Lake. He’s volunteered with many arts organizations, and now serves on the board of The Inner Loop, a Washington DC live-reading series and podcast. He loves to ski.
Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, Laura Petersen is the youngest from a very large family. She matured like a nice cheap wine in Southern California where her family moved when she was in high school. Honing her acting chops in college in Orange County and in the school of hard knocks in Los Angeles, she eventually settled down with a handsome young man and married. Then promptly moved to North Carolina, and then again headed West to Oregon where she now lives with her husband, and two kids.
She traveled extensively before becoming a suburban mom, traveling all over Europe and North America. She has also worked in almost every manner of job, from fast food service to bartending and from retail clothing to costume department PA, actress, short order cook, barista, auto repair, ballroom dancer, and independent film producer.
Now, when she is not busy narrating, she uses her BA and MBA to homeschool her kids (thanks pandemic) and enjoys hanging with her quarantine pod for occasional game nights.
Part of the Process – Morcheeba
This track evokes the uncertain, down-but-not-out place Zarabeth finds herself at the novel’s start. On my own visit to Aberdeen, Scotland to research the novel, I bought Morcheeba’s album Big Calm in a record store bargain bin. I think it’s the last actual compact disk I ever bought!
Opium Dreams – Rithma
Don’t read into the title. This song is here for its smooth groove, punctuated by the unsettling party laughter, both evoking when we meet Gabriel at a party that really isn’t fun.
Cirrus – Bonobo
This propulsive yet pretty track, known for its amazing video, is all for mood, launching Zarabeth and Gabriel down their respective rabbit holes.
The Marriage of Coyote Woman – All Them Witches
A slow, psychedelic blues, with an opening line that works in business class – “I never met a salesman like you before” – and a mood that fits Walt’s as he kicks himself back into the world.
Season of the Witch – Lana Del Rey
This breathy take on the 60’s pop classic brings out Missy’s seductiveness, and the turmoil behind it.
All That We Perceive – Thievery Corporation
A song about picking up more than other people do, and the difference between knowledge and understanding, an issue even for those paranormally gifted.
My Girls – Animal Collective
Sunny, but also manic, this track is from the album Gabriel plays for Zarabeth on their first drive together. It’s a hope for simplicity that Gabriel will not find.
Atlas – Part 1: Personal Climate: Travel Dream Song – Meredith Monk
This minimalist, haunting opera about modern travel is what Gabriel is listening to when Zarabeth comes to visit him in his Aberdeen hotel room. Zarabeth thinks it sounds like DNA.
Example #22 – Laurie Anderson
A fun nod to Gabriel’s uneasy trip to Hamburg, seemingly sung by Zarabeth working her way into his dreams. “What are paranormal voices?”
Policy of Truth – Depeche Mode
At a house party of deaf grad students, Zarabeth taps into her wild magic while dancing. This naughty, world-weary ode to lying was on repeat while I wrote the scene.
Just Like Heaven – Katie Melua
A gentle, sad take on The Cure’s story of lost love. We’re at the halfway point. It gets darker from here.
Revenge – XXXTENTACION
Like Zarabeth’s own feelings, this track is small and dense, a seed for careful growing.
Chce Se Mi Spát (I Want to Sleep) – Psí vojáci
One of the major voices of Prague’s Velvet Revolution, Psi Vojáci (Dog Soldiers) evoke Zarabeth’s fatigue, and the insincerity and disconnection in a world of surveillance.
等著你回來 (Waiting for You) – 白光 (Bai Guang)
1940s singer and actor Bai Guang was the sultriest of what have become known as the Shanghai Divas, and is still known across Asia. I went with the original to evoke Zarabeth’s bitter desire in Hong Kong, but you can find updated remixes on the album Shanghai Lounge Divas.
Furious Angels – Rob Dougan
Some will recognize the instrumental version, used in The Matrix Reloaded during Neo’s opening fight sequence. (“Upgrades.”) For burning blue Zarabeth and hot desperate Gabriel outrunning angry angels, I opted for the full melodrama of Rob Dougan’s original.
Hessel, Raymond K. – The Dust Brothers
This heavy, spacy drum and bass track evokes the Las Vegas cult ritual where the wrong god shows up, to Zarabeth’s benefit… and no one else’s. Originally from the Fight Club soundtrack.
Thirteen – Johnny Cash
Gabriel crosses the American West, trying to find an answer to his love and the hurt he caused her. Johnny Cash knows about that.
Wolf Like Me – TV On The Radio
Missy and Walt just hope to settle down, but there’s a reckoning ahead with Missy’s family and coven. TV On The Radio’s tale of horror and hunger speaks to Missy’s reaction.
Cheap Thrills – Sia
My editor Vivian Caethe told me to add a chapter about Zarabeth after Las Vegas, lest she seem to be “waiting by the phone.” Laying low in Lincoln, Nebraska let Zarabeth tie up some loose ends. To get back in her head, I had this song on repeat as I wrote the chapter.
IKAZUCHI (Thunder) – Tom H@ck – Yoshida Brothers
During my own work in Tokyo, I was introduced to the spare, bluegrassy music of the banjo-like shamisen — just before Yoshida Brothers took it international by mixing in drums and synth. This track is for modern Japan, land of quiet beauty, bullet trains, and much that is not spoken but that you need to know.
Regret – St. Vincent
Wouldn’t it be nice if love stories just ended well forever? St. Vincent doesn’t think that happens, and maybe Zarabeth and Gabriel agree, sometimes.
Demons Are A Girl’s Best Friend – Powerwolf
A little heavy metal, and maybe a renewed love triangle, to close out this alternately calm and stormy ride!
Antiheroes, Villains, and Lovers
The concept of the antihero is ancient, but its meaning has changed over time: from the clever servant who secretly guides a hapless employer, to a moody and vengeful hero, to an unheroic person alienated from their society, to an amoral stranger who does good as a side effect of thwarting bad people.
It’s easier to say what an antiheroes aren’t — they’re not overtly good and strong people who take direct action to make a situation better. And, some so-called antiheroes, such as Tony Soprano or Walter White, are really villains — they’re just villains we know well enough to sympathize with.
One fun aspect of my novel The Demon in Business Class is how my two main characters, Gabriel and Zarabeth, play with the hero/villain dynamic. Both start the novel as antiheroes. Zarabeth is frustrated by the impending loss of her job, and by the deeper loss of no longer being recognized for her talents. When she gets a chance to have both back, she grabs it, and demonic powers are a nice plus. Gabriel had a chance to do good works, but only open-ended and discouragingly long-term ones, and he gave up. His sudden violence to prevent an assault opens a door to a kind of redemption, a goodness he can only believe in, not understand.
One gets an arc toward heroism, the other toward villainy. Neither one is easy, but both come with rewards. Then, they get another option entirely: they meet each other, and find a deep connection with new possibilities — which aren’t compatible with the arcs they’ve traveled, and worked very hard to follow.
Is it selfish to give up a heroic life for love? Is it worthy to give up villainy for love? Is love separate from morality? They’re interesting questions to tackle.
There’s lots more going on in The Demon in Business Class: a series of strange adventures, across Europe, the US, and Asia, coming together in a grand design, a modern fantasy for our global age. Come enjoy the wild and magical journey of two people trying to stay true to themselves, even while their moral compasses swing wildly.
Welcome aboard, and Bon Voyage!
Who doesn’t enjoy reading about witches, demons and the ages old good verus evil – though it’s never that simple is it? This is an urban supernatural fantasy with adult romance and international buisness travel. Some of the descriptions will give you the urge to hop on a plane – you know if there wasn’t a global pandemic stopping us!
I enjoyed the audiobook narration, and all the accents that Laura used to bring the characters to life. In fact the characterisation was a strength of both the book and its narration with the latter adding to my enjoyment. It’s freaky how another book I just read has a character that can speak all languages like Zarabeth – the zeitgeist is well and truly in force. I also can’t get over the amount of plagues in my recent reads – even this one mentions epidemiology and cholera! Stop it 2020.
With the business scenes I’m afraid I couldn’t stop my mind occasionally wondering to Belinda Blinked (from My Dad Wrote a Porno infamy), though I am glad to report this was not that! It is much more polished, makes sense, and the business aspect is there to further the plot.
Occasionally there were slight pacing issues and I would have liked to get to the meeting between the two main characters a bit quicker but the investment in the characters was strong enough to get over the slight turbulence.
After reading the playlist above I’m definitely going to take a listen to see if I can “hear” the book through it.
I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Anthony Dobranski. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.
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