He has been compared to Lehane, Ellroy, and Pelecanos, but Ace Atkins's rich, raucous, passionate blend of historical novel and crime story is all his own - and never more so than in Infamous.
In July 1933, the gangster known as George "Machine Gun" Kelly staged the kidnapping-for-ransom of an Oklahoma oilman. He would live to regret it. Kelly was never the sharpest knife in the drawer, and what started clean soon became messy, as two of his partners cut themselves into the action; a determined former Texas Ranger makes tracking Kelly his mission; and Kelly's wife, ever alert to her own self-interests, starts playing both ends against the middle. The result is a mesmerizing tale set in the first days of the modern FBI, featuring one of the best femmes fatales in history - the Lady Macbeth of Depression-era crime - a great unexpected hero, and some of the most colorful supporting characters in recent crime fiction.
©2010 Ace Atkins (P)2010 Tantor
“Atkins brings to vivid life the henpecked George and the bloodthirsty Kathryn as he convincingly conjures up a past era.” (Publishers Weekly)
I didn't really know what to expect when I downloaded this book. I didn't read the blurb very well - to be honest, I just downloaded it in a three for two sale.
I was very pleasantly surprised, however. Ace Atkins writes great 'prohibition' prose (ok, it's set after prohibition, but you know what I mean) and Dick Hill, with his very deliberate, precise, narration places the drama beautifully in its historical context.
Ace Atkins gives us an unprecedented view of a crime spree which lasted only a few months after the kidnapping of a rich oil man. George Kelly is portrayed as a weak criminal ruled by his overbearing, blood-thirsty wife Kathryn. Just about every major character and event of the era is woven into this rich story of murder, sex, crime, law enforcement, and greed. The supporting characters are just as colorful as Kelly and Kit. Lawman Gus Jones is a standout as well as the precocious child Geri Arnold, smoking Lucky Strikes and sipping Pabst Blue Ribbon beer.. The narrator elevates the whole story with his mastery of different voices. Well worth the price of admission!
Couldn't have been more disappointed. The random plot seemed to have been lost almost from the beginning. The wild array of slightly developed characters were difficult to distinguish one from the other. I guess this was written to be a start of a movie script for quick sell. Perhaps the use of pictures would help bring forward clarity of the characters but not sure there is any help for the plot. Lack of plot doesn't seem to stand in the way of many movies these days.
I might try another book by Ace Atkins, but I will not listen to another book narrated by Dick Hill. He is too affected for my taste.
I like the way Atkins takes well known historical crime figures and humanizes them.
His narrating was too dramatic, too affected with great and many changes in volume which made my ears hurt.
"Delivers just what it says on the box"
I loved this book. Normally when I write a review I try and answer all the questions I had about the book before I listened to it. But in this case I’m keeping it short; the book is exactly as described in the synopsis. The only thing to add is Dick Hill's narration is spot on, really added to my enjoyment
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