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Never Love a Stranger Audiobook

Never Love a Stranger

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Publisher's Summary

Based on a $100 bet with his boss that he couldn't write a novel, Harold Robbins penned his first book, Never Love a Stranger. Not only did Robbins win the bet, the novel became a best seller, was adapted into the classic noir gangster film of the same name starring John Barrymore and Steve McQueen, and launched the career of one of the world's best-selling authors of all time.

Never Love a Stranger, still considered one of Robbins' most powerful books, tells the story of Francis "Frankie" Kane, an orphan growing up in the dirty world of New York's Hell's Kitchen. After being kicked out of a Catholic orphanage when it is discovered that he is of Jewish descent, a confused and deeply distraught Frankie turns to a life of crime, the only life he knows, and he's good at it. Frankie quickly makes a name for himself and becomes one of New York's most dangerous men, ruling the city with an iron fist and indulging in his passion for sex, power, and the best things life has to offer - regardless of whether they're for sale. But Frankie's childhood friend, Jerry, grows to become an ambitious, tough-as-nails district attorney - determined to bring Frankie down.

In Robbins' writing debut, he takes an unflinching look at the menacing New York of a bygone era when the syndicate ruled without mercy - and the world was introduced to a writer who would influence pop culture worldwide for decades to come. More than 25 New York Times best sellers later - many, like his most famous novel, The Carpetbaggers, reaching the number-one spot - and with over 750 million copies sold to date, Robbins became one of the most successful authors of all time. This is the novel that started it all - giving the world its first taste of Robbins' world of sex, corruption, and intrigue.

©2014 RosettaBooks LLC (P)2015 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Robbins’s books are packed with action, sustained by strong narrative drive, and are given vitality by his own colorful life." (The Wall Street Journal)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (363 )
5 star
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4.2 (327 )
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Story
4.6 (335 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    LadySpeaker 09-20-15
    LadySpeaker 09-20-15 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    30
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    "Mastery"
    Where does Never Love a Stranger rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This book engaged me from the beginning. It was a masterful character study made possible by a great script and a narrator who brings each character to life. Will Patton, as always, is a magician who excels in his craft.


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

    I laughed in places but overall it left me thinking about the main character for a couple days and 'what might have been' had he been given the love and opportunity he craved.


    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    W Perry Hall 08-09-15

    One master-passion in the br east, like Aaron's serpent, swallows all the rest. A. Pope

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Robust Rags 2 Riches of Hell's Kitchen Orphan"

    My first novel by Harold Robbins was this, his debut. NEVER LOVE A STRANGER is the story set between 1925 and 1945 of Francis "Frankie" Cain, who was raised in a Hell's Kitchen Catholic orphanage until around 14 when he was taken in by the brother of his Jewish mother who died in childbirth. It is mostly the story of Frankie's journey from his high school days and friendships to his travels and loves after returning from a stint in the Navy and skips to after his rise to the head of a NYC gambling racket and his marriage.

    I thoroughly enjoyed this resonant, robust story told mostly in the first person by Frankie, with interludes of a discussion by his 3 closest high school friends.

    I wasn't sure if I wanted to take a chance buying an audiobook by Harold Robbins, though I saw his name on enough books while growing up (he sold 150 million worldwide in his career). Yet when I saw that Will Patton was the narrator, that sealed the deal. For my money, he's the best male audiobook narrator out there, by a mile. If you are new to Audible, the narrator, particularly in fiction with lots of dialogue, makes a huge difference to the whole listening experience. [For example, had the narrator been Dick Hill, with that thick Chi-town accent and the awful Marge Schott impersonation he uses for EVERY female character in dialogue, I wouldn't have touched this book].

    10 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Don Normal, IL, United States 06-23-15
    Don Normal, IL, United States 06-23-15 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    "Real Book, Real Characters, Real Writing"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Never Love a Stranger to be better than the print version?

    Yes.
    Thank you Audible for signing up some of Harold's work. I love his stories. Real stories. You feel like you are right there in the story.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Never Love a Stranger?

    "The beavers are still gnawing" line to describe his enemies plotting against him.


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

    His accent is perfect for Francis. You feel like Will is Francis.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    The Real Deal


    Any additional comments?

    Please sign up "The Carpetbaggers".

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Candace Russell 09-26-16 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    258
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    "Why was this categorized as a mystery?"

    Good enough as modernish historical fiction, but I didn't see the kind of plot and clues that I personally think should be the basis to all mysteries. This just tells a fictional life story for almost 15 hours. I kept listening, since it wasn't bad writing and I kept thinking it could become a mystery at some point, but it never did. Please, Audible, if you're trying to sell mysteries, give me something to SOLVE. A story isn't a mystery merely because it's about criminals. Look it up.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephen Lakewood, CO, USA 08-04-15
    Stephen Lakewood, CO, USA 08-04-15 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Inspiring story"
    If you could sum up Never Love a Stranger in three words, what would they be?

    A story about a charismatic man that is smart, has a good heart and a strong work ethic. Oops, more than 3 words.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Troublesome situations of Franky


    What about Will Patton’s performance did you like?

    Great as usually. What a joy to have Will Patton narrate so many audible books.


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

    No


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Thomas More 07-25-15
    Thomas More 07-25-15 Member Since 2012

    Unafraid to read from any genre.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    59
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    "Guilty Pleasure (Another Will Patton Triumph)"

    When Harold Robbins’ Never Love a Stranger was published in 1948, it became a bestseller. Robbins hit upon a winning combination of elements to draw readers into his story, that he would go on to repeat multiple times in the future. “Power, sex, deceit, and wealth: the four main ingredients to a successful story,” he was quoted as saying. Of course, not all members of the public were pleased with Robbins racy use of sex in his first novel, and Never Love a Stranger was banned under pornography restrictions in the city of Philadelphia. Robbins and his publisher sued the city and won. In his decision, the judge proclaimed, “I would rather my daughter learn about sex from the pages of a Harold Robbins novel than behind a barn door.”

    For me, Never Love a Stranger gets filed under the category of “guilty pleasure.” The plot follows the life of Frankie Kane, a street-wise orphan who scraps his way to the top of a criminal empire during the Great Depression. The story is narrated by the incomparable Will Patton, who lifts this glorious piece of tripe to a place wholly beyond its station. Patton has obvious fun with the novel’s terse, Cagneyesque main character, and the listener can’t help but enjoy it, too. If you are bothered by strong and obvious 1930s gender stereotypes and scenes of violence in the tone of “smacking a moll for getting wise,” steer clear of this novel. Otherwise, you are in for some dialogue that will have you chuckling in your recliner. I knew that I had reached a new level of noir ecstasy, when at the end, the book provided this nugget of sap: [note: virtually nothing is lost in reading it, as plot always comes secondary to tone]

    She looked at me. Her face had grown very pale. “Loved you?” she asked. “I’ve loved you so much ever since we were children that at night I couldn’t sleep for the wanting of you, that when we didn’t know where you were I would dream about you, that all these last months I was longing for you to take me -- I wanted your child inside me under my heart.” Her voice was strained and shaking with emotion. “That’s why I won’t bargain with you, Frankie. That’s why I’m not going to marry you.”
    I crushed my cigarette out in the tray and took her by the shoulders roughly, squeezing my fingers into her arm. She made no sound, just looked up into my face.
    “You stupid little fool!” I was raging mad. I could feel the pulse pounding in my forehead. “Maybe that’s the way it started, but can’t you see what I’ve done is for you -- that what I’ve thrown away has been for you? Don’t think I couldn’t have cleaned up this mess if I didn’t want to. I had a dozen places in the United States I could have gone to and operated from, and they never would have been able to touch me. I didn’t have to quit. I quit because of you. If it weren’t for the way I felt about you, I would have beat this the same way I beat everything else that got in my way; I’d have ruined Jerry’s career as I could have.
    “You were the only reason I threw in the towel -- because I fell for the line you gave me. Maybe I always knew deep inside you were right, but it was for you that I did it.
    “I didn’t make any bargain with you. I’ve turned my life inside out for you. I’ve traded a fortune for you, I’ve traded a loaf of bread for a pie in the sky, steak and potatoes for an ideal. And if you still think I don’t love you, baby, you can go to hell!”

    I was fully prepared to give the story three stars, but felt this glorious exchange was worth an additional star. And with Will Patton narrating, what more can you ask?

    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    D. Donohue 12-07-16
    D. Donohue 12-07-16 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    "Wow"

    I admit I listened to this purely because Will Patton narrated it. He did a wonderful job as always but for the first time he was not the best part. The story, the lessons, the writing were the best parts. Amazingly well written and emotion stirring book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janice 12-06-16
    Janice 12-06-16 Member Since 2015
    ratings
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    7
    4
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    "Excellent"

    Loved it. Always enjoyed his writings. Narrator was very good as well.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    rhonda hilton, NY, United States 11-10-16
    rhonda hilton, NY, United States 11-10-16 Member Since 2016
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
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    "Awesome"

    Wow, what a GOOD BOOK. Can't believe it was written so long ago! Worth a credit!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark M. 10-27-16
    Mark M. 10-27-16 Member Since 2015
    ratings
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    32
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    "Most impressed"

    I have listened to some of his more recent books and not been so impressed... BUT this very first "date", paid off for him and the reader in spades. Nicely paced, well developed plot. I really enjoyed hearing where it all began. Well worth your time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Maggs
    Port Talbot
    11/5/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Never Love a Strange - Great Storytelling"

    Never Love a Strange - Great Storytelling
    Enjoyed this book partly for the great storytelling @ partly due to the great narration

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Glenn
    9/22/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Harold Robbins at his well crafted best"
    What did you like most about Never Love a Stranger?

    This was probably one of the first 'adult' books I read. It has lost nothing of its intrigrue and fascination over the years


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    This is probably very autobiographical


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    There is nothing wrong with the narrative. You ARE on the streets of New York


    Any additional comments?

    An excellent listen

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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