The boys said it couldn't be done - knocking over a racetrack. Too much security. Too much money to handle. Too many obstacles. But Johnny Clay knew, if anyone did, how to mastermind a daring robbery. You just had to have the right people to work with, a few ringers on the inside who could keep their mouths shut, and a diversion. A big diversion. Like taking out the favorite horse on the most anticipated race with a high-powered rifle. Things can go right, and things can go wrong. But Johnny knew his plan could work. If only everyone did his part without cracking.
The Killing (originally titled Clean Break) by the master of capers, Lionel White, is what many people consider the greatest heist novel of all time. Stanley Kubrick liked the book enough to option it and make a classic noir film of it, co-scripted with the great Jim Thompson.
©2014 The Devault-Graves Agency (P)2014 The Devault-Graves Agency
Originally released as Clean Break, this book has been renamed to match the Stanley Kubrick film.
It in essence a simple heist story. Racecourses takes in a lot of money from the bets, but are considered impossible to steal from due to the tight security and procedures. But with a plan and men on the inside Johnny thinks he might just be able to pull it off.
The story is quick, with a lot of characters and scheming fitting into a fairly short time. The pacing is great, with the tension continually building towards the climax. Its a quick, exciting ride.
Mike Dennis is great with the narration, providing voices to each of the characters. The main narration has a 'hard boiled detective' kind of sound to it, exactly what you would expect for a noir heist thriller.
The Killing is probably best-known as one of the finest examples of the noir film genre ever made. Directed by a young Stanley Kubrick, it was adapted from the novel Clean Break by Lionel White. Starring Sterling Hayden and Coleen Gray, it tells the story of a newly released con, Johnny Clay, and the crew he has patched together to pull off a race track heist which he’s been planning for years while cooped up in the joint. The plan relies on Clay finding a number of otherwise honest men with money issues who he can cajole into ignoring their consciences for just a few minutes during the biggest horse race of the year in order to reap a huge payoff.
Things go awry when one of the team’s members, George Peatty, a mild-mannered bet window operator with a wife too hot for him by several degrees, let’s slip to his unfaithful bride, Sherry, that he’s due to come into a big score. The story in the novel is told in third person, and the plot is slowly unveiled one chapter at a time until all of the pieces come together in the third act when the heist goes down without a hitch but somehow Johnny Clay’s dreams still manage to fall apart.
A huge Kubrick fan, I watched the movie years ago but had never bothered to read the book, even though heists and noir are among my favorite pastimes. Then I saw that Mike Dennis had released an audio version of the classic novel using the more familiar movie title, and I was in. Mike gifted me a copy, and I devoured it in three days.
Mike’s voice perfectly captures the mood. He has a somewhat classic tone in the narration, like a 60’s period news reader, his cadence is smooth and unclipped, but the pacing never drags. Meanwhile the nuances of Peatty’s meakness and Clay’s bravado shine through in the dialog. In fact, the entire cast comes off as individuals despite all being voiced with only subtle variation by the same narrator.
Mike has cleverly begun carving out a niche in the narration biz, finding old properties that fit his voice which the right’s holders haven’t bothered to give the audio treatment, and working out a deal. They don’t make movies like this anymore. They don’t write books like this anymore either. But thanks to talented and clever men like Mike Dennis who see the opportunity, an entire new generation can still be teleported back to the days when they did, and the world is all the richer for it. I seldom give full star ratings, but there’s really nothing in this nostalgic production to complain about.
Denver, Co metro area resident for over fifty-five years. Retired, Mid 60's, Male, own over 9,600 Kindle books, and over 400 Audible books.
In the sense that the excellent narration added to an already great noir book. Mike Dennis' delivery fit this like a glove.
It was gritty. And wasn't a knock off the race track payroll story. Unique. I'm going to rent Kubrick's 1956 movie because of how well written the story was and this audiobook production.
Mike's voice just works with the noir books narration. I've had the pleasure of hearing Mr. Dennis perform other classic mysteries on Audible. They've been consistently great.
It got me INVOLVED and kept me so through the whole development of the plot. And I can't say that about some of the audiobooks I have listened to.l
Thanks for making this available.
This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review courtesy of AudiobookBoom dot com.
My first of the crime, thriller books although I had seen the movie: I found it to be my favorite so far.
The confrontation at the end between Val and the others waiting for Johnny.
Liked the others I've heard but like this one the best: he did an excellent job especially with the different character's dialog.
although was already made into a film, my tag line would have been. "A 2 million dollar caper with 1 weak link"
This audiobook was given by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review via Audiobook Boom.”
I really enjoyed this book I hope the movie is as good as
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