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Jack of Diamonds | [Bryce Courtenay]

Jack of Diamonds

Born and raised in a poor, working-class family in Toronto, Jack Spayd is the son of an unhappy marriage. After being taken under the wing of "Miss Frostbite", the owner of a local jazz club, Jack becomes a gifted musician, playing piano and harmonica. Fame and the allure of gambling takes him to Vegas, and prospects of fortune take him to the Belgian Congo, where he's heard it's possible to earn big money working in the most dangerous parts of the local copper mines.
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Publisher's Summary

Born and raised in a poor, working-class family in Toronto, Jack Spayd is the son of an unhappy marriage. After being taken under the wing of "Miss Frostbite", the owner of a local jazz club, Jack becomes a gifted musician, playing piano and harmonica. Fame and the allure of gambling takes him to Vegas, and prospects of fortune take him to the Belgian Congo, where he's heard it's possible to earn big money working in the most dangerous parts of the local copper mines.

Jack of Diamonds is the story of a young, talented man, fighting to achieve his ambitions, and having to use his considerable talents to find his way in a perilous world.

©2012 Bryce Courtenay; ©2013 Christine Courtenay (P)2012 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (800 )
5 star
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2 star
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4.2 (689 )
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Story
4.5 (693 )
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
 (9)
Performance
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  •  
    Elad D.N. Hevel Eilot, Israel 12-26-12
    Elad D.N. Hevel Eilot, Israel 12-26-12 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    15
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    "Bryce Courtenay will be missed..."

    I'm writing this before I've actually finished the book, but halfway through it's clear that thi is yet another masterpiece, apparently the last, from this marvelous author. Humphrey Bower, as usual, narrates superbly,changing his voice and his accent to suit the character who's speaking. As the father of a 17-year-old jazz musician, this book resonates deeply with me, but I can't imagine anyone not loving it.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paula Overland Park, KS USA 10-07-14
    Paula Overland Park, KS USA 10-07-14 Member Since 2012

    Enjoying one good listen after the next!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Good Saga. . . Long, but Enoyable"

    I have enjoyed other Courtenay books more, but this is a very good story. For me, the difference was that in his other books, I have found a female character to empathize with/relate to; and found none in this one. Jack's mother, teachers, "girl friends" and others were just fleeting characters in the story.

    Jack is bright but sure makes some crazy (aka stupid) decisions throughout the story. Nonetheless, he survives, even thrives and his life story takes the listener to interesting and exotic locales where he makes his way with music and/or gambling.

    Humphey Bower as always, did a magnificent job narrating the story. I simply would have liked to "care" a little more about the characters, including Jack.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kelly 08-31-14
    Kelly 08-31-14 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Outstanding story and perforance"
    What did you like best about this story?

    What a well written story. It flowed very well. I am so happy to have discovered this author.


    What about Humphrey Bower’s performance did you like?

    I have never heard such an accomplished reader. How many accents can he do? Really entertaining!!


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paddington Sydney, Australia 01-12-14
    Paddington Sydney, Australia 01-12-14 Listener Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "What a store teller ..... Bryce does it again!"

    As with all of his novels, I have been thoroughly entertained by Bryce Courtenay listening to Jack of Diamonds. I am sorry that have only a couple of his novels left to read/listen to. This novel was in a different setting mostly in Canada and Las Vegas, and a little towards the end in a mining setting in Africa. It was set among the jazz world, high roller gamblers and Mafia connections with an interesting thread about the culture and times of pre and post world war 2. I love Courtenay's novels .... he has been a wonderful story teller and will be greatly missed.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    charmaine 01-06-14
    charmaine 01-06-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Jack of Diamonds"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    A better story


    What was most disappointing about Bryce Courtenay’s story?

    Not as interesting as his other books which had more of a historical theme and truth to them.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Not at all


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kim Slidell, LA, United States 03-09-13
    Kim Slidell, LA, United States 03-09-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Can't believe I got through this book."

    An awful and pompous use of words. I can't believe this got published! I had to persevere to finish.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jessica Atlanta, GA, United States 01-14-13
    Jessica Atlanta, GA, United States 01-14-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Courtenay not up to par on his latest novel."
    What was most disappointing about Bryce Courtenay’s story?

    It was slow and took a long time to really invest in the characters. He seemed to spend a lot of time on details that weren't significant to the overall plot.


    What three words best describe Humphrey Bower’s voice?

    Love him so much that I've found other audio books he's narrated, by other authors. He's a true master at narration, accents, characters (of both genders—without sounding condescending). But the story wasn't good so it was hard to get into his characters with this one. He seems to speak much slower when preforming with an American (or in this case Canadian) accent. It almost doesn't even sound like him.


    Any additional comments?

    I really enjoy Bryce Courtney's books—particularly Jessica, Power of One and Tandia. But it seems he's repeating/borrowing several concepts from his previous novels, i.e.
    card player—similar to Tomo in The Australian Trilogy
    copper miner/racial tensions—Peekay in Power of One

    Obviously authors write what they know, but with 20+ books, I think he needs to expand what he writes about a little more. I still have some other books of his to listen to, which I will, but this was not his best.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tim Poulsbo, WA, United States 12-19-12
    Tim Poulsbo, WA, United States 12-19-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "an epic personal journey"
    If you could sum up Jack of Diamonds in three words, what would they be?

    overcoming great odds


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I found that it was enjoyable with rarely a boring segment, but it was one I could put down and come back to later


    Any additional comments?

    This story, following a young boy from the depth of the economic depression of the 30's, virtually through his adult life was inspirational and read almost like a biography. It was, in a way, written in an old fashioned style of the 30's or 40's but modern in language and content. Its scope covered ground from Canada to Las Vegas, New York, England and Africa.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bek Mt barker, Australia 12-03-12
    Bek Mt barker, Australia 12-03-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Awesome but a lot like whitethorn"
    What made the experience of listening to Jack of Diamonds the most enjoyable?

    I love all BC books there a great way to get though the day


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Dj was awesome :)


    Which character – as performed by Humphrey Bower – was your favorite?

    He is great with them all


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No it was a little slow in pasts


    Any additional comments?

    Loved it but was a lot like whitethorn in parts

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    12-01-12
    12-01-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "May Bryce Courtenay rest in peace"
    If you could sum up Jack of Diamonds in three words, what would they be?

    Loveable, noble, sad.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Jack


    What does Humphrey Bower bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Brings the characters alive without any corny accents


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Yes, made me sad due to the death of Bryce Courtenay a week after the release of the book


    Any additional comments?

    May Bryce Courtnenay rest in peace with his son (April Fools Day) knowing that all Australians will remember him for his great works and his contribution to society

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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