A school administrator and avid reader and listener of books. At least an hour of every day is spent in the car, and that's where the bulk of my listening is done. I tend to listen to books on "faster" mode so I can get through more books!
At times I was confused by the mounting characters and plot points, but the bigger picture of understanding the single crime that, at least in the author's eyes, launched modern day yellow journalism really was quite fascinating. What did journalists do before the internet? Carrier pigeons, telegraphs, and more were used to quickly pass info. And the media butting their noses in where they don't belong? Nothing new!
audio addict! Mostly interested in history and some historical fiction. Will Durant is my all time favorite. Loving the Great Courses too.
Excellent! An insane murder mystery and a journalistic dogfight between William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer. The beginnings of the aggressive news media we all know today...
More fun than I expected!!
Incredibly well written, and well performed.
Easily worth the credit. Solid 5stars.
Married with 4 children. Love listening to the books. I have a variety of interests in titles.
This book could not stay on track enough to suite me. Much to much detail for me. I'm pretty much a "bottom-Line" person. The narration was good, however.
After recently reviewing Fever by Mary Beth Keane, I knew I had to go back to my library and pull this one out as well. If I'd written this review first, though, I would have only given Fever 4 stars because, if I'm grading on a curve, The Murder of the Century gets the definite edge.
Not because Fever is any less well-researched and written, or any less well-narrated, but because Collins just had so much more to work with here in terms of a story.
That being said, if you're trying to decide about this book, I would say you should probably consider it to be-- first and foremost--an historical account, with the deliciously gruesome murder mystery (in all its tabloid splendor) being more of a bonus than the main draw.
In other words, if you read a lot of non-fiction and history, but mysteries (especially police/detective procedurals) are your guilty fiction pleasure, you need to stop reading and start downloading this sucker right now, because, trust me-- this is right up your alley.
Or if you have any connection to, and/or love for old-school newspaper journalism, you'll want to strongly consider this as well, not only because the paper wars play such a strong role in the story, but also because it was the scrappy investigative reporters--rather than the already bureaucracy-bloated NYPD--who ultimately solved the crime.
And for those of you who are too young to have even studied the history of New York's newspapers, it's hard not to appreciate the parallels between the old paper wars and today's digital wars...(think Nick Denton v. Arianna Huffington).
On the other hand, if you love mysteries and true crime but don't have the patience for arcane details and long digressions (as in, Can you please stop talking about Hearst and Pulitzer and get back to the plot already?), you might want to read through the one- and two- star reviews before you put this in your cart, because there definitely IS a lot of background woven into the storyline. (It may be billed as a page-turning mystery, but it's really much more than that, so if you're looking for a plot-driven thriller to keep you awake on that 10-hour overnight drive--this is probably not it!)
But--for me at least--this book has it all: a CSI (Scrappy Reporter's Unit) --worthy plot, boldfaced names, and 19th century New York City. Not to mention a cold-hearted femme fatale and the men who loved her--or at least pretended to. (TEASER!!)
And I have to say William Dufris's narration is pitch-perfect--with just enough of that old-timey trans-continental inflection to make if feel authentic, but never hokey or over-the-top. His diction and pitch was distinctive enough for each character to be able to tell them apart in dialogue without being distracting, and, as far as I can recall, there was no annoying/ amateurish falsetto for the female characters. With what appears over 300 titles under his belt, I think it's safe to say this dude's a pro.
(I always feel a little bad when I mention the narrator as an afterthought, but it's actually the highest praise, since the best narrators are the ones who are able to become so infused into the story that you virtually forget they're a separate element.)
In any case, if you liked Fever, you'll probably like this too--and visa-versa.
Avid reader of history, biography, and true crime.
This is a very well told murder story. The clues and new information are introduced at just the right time to keep the reader's interest, and there are several possibilities so the outcome is not obvious until towards the end. The characters are gradually developed as the story progresses, and the background story of newspapers and journalists is also interesting. It is all very well done. The narrator is perfect for this book - his voice, his accent, the pace of his presentation, and his accents for the different characters, are all spot on.
Spoiler alert - I was so fascinated by the various characters that, before I finished the book, I looked on the internet for any photos I could find and accidentally discovered who was found guilty.
This was a fascinating story, but sadly presented in an 8-hour audiobook when a piece in the Atlantic or even a longish Wikipedia article would have more than sufficed. Collins draws it out exhaustively, putting in unneeded details for atmosphere and devoting entire chapters to twists and turns in the investigation that he inflates to grand importance when they turn out to have no impact.
I felt like he super-sized my book when I ordered a small.
Dufris' narration reminds me of a friend of mine who thinks he does a really great Jerry Seinfeld impression. In fact, it's terrible, but he thinks it's so good that he presents it with great earnestness, like a high schooler playing Hamlet. Dufris has exactly one accent, which is pretty much what an American would think a German spoke like if his only exposure to Germans was watching Hogan's Heroes as a kid, and all "foreign" characters in the book are treated to this terrible accent. The defense attorney character was presented in such a ridiculous cartoonish booming voice that all I could do was laugh, because it reminded me, more than anything else, of Sir Topham Hatt from the Thomas The Tank Engine shows that my 4 year old likes to watch.
Endless details and descriptions turn this novel into a word picture book. The reader sees, imagines and even smells the action and squables. The newspapers part in the drama is interesting and perhaps something that all these years later would be overlooked. I am not sure I needed this much information about this henious crime but I did enjoy being transported into the tabloid wars.
how the author wove the historical times into the storyline. Very descriptive and easy to follow
I say messy because of their rookie mistakes so to speak.
I really liked this book. It's based on a 19th century NYC crime that no Chicagoan I know ever heard of. The author really gives a good foundation on the mindset of the era. Wow, what the press got away with and what cops did & didn't do really catches your attention. The best part is the role this case had in the creation of today's tabloid news & paparazzo. Great epilogue rounds out what happened to all the players even the newspapers in the aftermath & into the 20th century. First time I've heard the narrator, haven't decided about him yet.
Rating scale: 5=Loved it, 4=Liked it, 3=Ok, 2=Disappointed, 1=Hated it. I look for well developed characters, compelling stories.
I think Paul Collins needed to figure out just what kind of book he was trying to write. It wasn’t a murder mystery because the culprits were fairly obvious and brought to trial before the book was half done. It didn’t really document the beginning of Yellow Journalism, because we were told the term had been tagged before this incident occurred, and the wars between the various newspapers were already well underway. Although we hear most about the Hearst-Pulitzer rivalry, these two potentially colorful characters remained mostly flat and in the background.
What is left is a somewhat disorganized description of a grisly murder committed by very ordinary people for the most mundane of motives. The police are portrayed as inept, but can be forgiven to some degree because of the intrusion of headline greedy journalists who planted false evidence, invented false leads and “witnesses”, making it a miracle that the truth ever came out at all. I kept wishing for someone to step up and tell everyone to knock it off. In the end I came away irritated at the whole thing – sort of how I feel about tabloid reporting today. I guess I got what I asked for.