A Dark Night in Aurora

Inside James Holmes and the Colorado Theater Shootings
Narrated by: William H. Reid MD MPH
Length: 8 hrs and 58 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (235 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

James Holmes killed or wounded seventy people in a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. Only one man was allowed to record extensive interviews with the shooter. This is what he found.

On July 20, 2012 in Aurora, Colorado, a man in dark body armor and a gas mask entered a midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises with a tactical shotgun, a high-capacity assault rifle, and a sidearm. He threw a canister of tear gas into the crowd and began firing. Soon twelve were dead and fifty-eight were wounded; young children and pregnant women were among them. The man was found calmly waiting at his car. He was detained without resistance.

Unlike the Columbine, Newtown, San Bernadino, and Parkland shootings, James Holmes is unique among mass shooters in his willingness to be taken into custody alive. In the court case that followed, only Dr. William H. Reid, a distinguished forensic psychiatrist, would be allowed to record interviews with the defendant. Reid would read Holmes’ diary, investigate his phone calls and text messages, interview his family and acquaintances, speak to his victims, and review tens of thousands of pages of evidence and court testimony in an attempt to understand how a happy, seemingly normal child could become a killer.

A Dark Night in Aurora uses the twenty-three hours of unredacted interview transcripts never seen by the public and Reid’s research to bring the listener inside the mind of a mass murderer. The result is chilling, gripping study of abnormal psychology and how a lovely boy named Jimmy became a killer.

©2018 William H. Reid (P)2018 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved

What listeners say about A Dark Night in Aurora

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

A workmanlike effort, nothing especially groundbreaking to be found here.

Being super familiar with this case, I was interested in “reading” this book, if only to see if there was any insight into the case that was not part of the official, public record. The Dr. who interviewed the defendant for the trial did a great job so I figured his book would be amazing. Perhaps I expected and/or hoped for too much. It felt to me like the author just cracked open his interview notebooks one weekend and stitched together a book from it. No great insight here that was not already part of the record. After hearing it, there didn’t really seem to be any reason for it to even exist. I suppose the subject matter is enough in and of itself to garner some notoriety, but if you really want some real insight into the case, all you have to do is check out the voluminous amounts of trial video online, you will learn more and you won’t waste your audible credit. Perhaps I just had expectations that could not be met...not sure, but at a minimum, I’d hoped for something more than a simple “cliff notes style book report” on such a huge, tragic case. The subject matter deserved better.

8 people found this helpful

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Captivating

Really well written and well performed. It’s a fascinating glimpse into the mind of a mass murderer.

5 people found this helpful

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Disappointed

I am an avid audio book listener who never purchases a selection without reading through a cross section of other listener’s reviews first. This AB had overwhelmingly positive reviews which was what helped to both inform my decision and inspire me to put it at the top of my list to hear. I have to say that I feel cheated as well as incredibly underwhelmed. The story, while interesting, felt unidimensional and without depth; while the flat, monotone performance of the reader sucked every molecule of emotion from this unfathomable tragedy. I didn’t think it possible to remove all feeling from so vicious a crime. However, the author chose to narrate the book himself, maybe mistakenly believing that no one could do the story the same justice as he could. I respectfully advise Mr. Reid to not quit his day job. He possesses a deep, rather flat and somewhat nasally voice; reading the text without inflection, in a manner that has the mind numbing effect of lulling the listener into a coma. It’s really a shame. Further disappointing is the absence of any added insight or understanding of what motivated the perpetrator to commit so heinous a crime. My mind is spinning with unanswered questions and missed opportunities for reflection and deeper understanding. The incongruous flow of details with emphasis on exploring aspects of Mr. Holmes history to the most insignificant levels of minutia, while skating superficially over other areas that were seemingly far more influential to who this man was and what he became, brought added frustration. Having just finished listening, I am left with the same gnawing feeling synonymous with being left entirely unsatisfied after having just eaten a gourmet meal.
Unfortunate.

7 people found this helpful

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Author as Narrator

You would think author as narrator would be horrible like it usually is, plus he is an MD but I found the book and the narrator excellent. Very balanced for someone involved in the trail too. Highly recommend. Especially the afterword

6 people found this helpful

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Excellently written, flatly read, very informative

This one is read by the author, not a professional narrator, so there isn't as much inflection as you'd get with a professional narrator. It's flat almost to the point of being monotone, but in some ways that serves the material well. To dramatize the reading would almost be a disservice to the victims of the shooting, and would detract from the impartial nature of the writing.

Reid was a psychologist brought in by the court, rather than the defense or prosecution. He remains unbiased and fair as he talks about the "years, months, and weeks" leading up to the shooting, and about his psychological analysis of Holmes. He clarifies a lot of the misconceptions that have surrounded the case since day one. He also takes care to emphasize that the victims were real people- he recounts their experiences, mentions them by name, and never sweeps any ugly detail under the rug. His description of the trial and sentencing process was likewise clear, unbiased, and compassionate.

At first I was a bit put off by the reading style, but as I got further into the book it made more sense to me to have it so straightforward. So while I can't rate it a 5-star performance, I'm also not taking any stars from my overall review.

2 people found this helpful

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A Journey Into The Mind Of A Mad Man

Dr. Reed has definitely done his homework. So fact filled that I found it to be profoundly intense and it took me over a month to listen to this book in its entirety. I think that I was perhaps expecting more drama as these types of books often have you in tears by chapter 2. This was completely different to any book that I have listened to in this genre. Dr. Reed filled it with facts, facts and more facts. I really felt that he would have done far better by getting someone else to undertake the narration. His voice is so soporific that it was all that I could do in order to keep my eyes open. That was the main reason why I did not give a 5 star rating.

You may find this book disturbing but it is tempered with many facts based on evidence and James Holmes psychological evaluations. A very thorough and factual analysis of this dreadful event.

1 person found this helpful

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Exceptional!

Don’t think twice about getting this book. You won’t regret it and you’ll listen to it more than once.

1 person found this helpful

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PHENOMENAL!

If you're a formal or informal student of human behavior, you will love this book.

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Very informative

I have watched some of the trial of James Holmes & there are so many side bars & down time that it gets frustrating. I have also watched all of Dr. Reid's interviews with James Holmes - this book puts everything in a nutshell from beginning to end. I would recommend this book for people who never got through the lengthy trial or the 20+ hours of interviews.

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Great insight into the tragedy.

I loved this book. Some reviewers claimed the author should have had a performer read his book. I disagree. Even with the author's extremely dry delivery of the material, I enjoyed him giving HIS research. He was the one with access to Holmes. His reading of the material sounded very authentic.

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  • AmazonCustomer7894
  • 04-12-20

Fantastic

Fantastic book. Nuanced, well researched and well informed. Invaluable insights from a rare case when a mass shooter is still alive, with first hand insights form one of his assessing doctors. Highly reccommended.

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  • miss Laura Z Burden
  • 09-11-18

would I listen to again prob not!!

i can't help but think this book is very flattering towards holmes and his crimes!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Michael
  • 05-29-19

A nasty little book

A depressingly nasty little book from an insider involved in the case. Some of the chapters will have you wondering how the hell the criminal justice system works and how 'experts' have the gall to claim there's true justice. The book is opinionated and does little to help you understand this tragedy.