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Dodgers

A Novel
Narrated by: J. D. Jackson
Length: 10 hrs and 17 mins
4 out of 5 stars (282 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Dodgers is a dark, unforgettable coming-of-age journey that recalls the very best of Richard Price, Denis Johnson, and J.D. Salinger. 

It is the story of a young LA gang member named East, who is sent by his uncle along with some other teenage boys - including East's hothead younger brother - to kill a key witness hiding out in Wisconsin. The journey takes East out of a city he's never left and into an America that is entirely alien to him, ultimately forcing him to grapple with his place in the world and decide what kind of man he wants to become. 

Written in stark and unforgettable prose and featuring an array of surprising and memorable characters rendered with empathy and wit, Dodgers heralds the arrival of a major new voice in American fiction.

Winner of the LA TIMES Book Prize of 2017 for Best Mystery/Thriller

Winner of the CWA Goldsboro Gold Dagger 2016 for Best Crime Novel of the Year

Winner of the CWA John Creasey New Blood Dagger 2016 for Best Debut Crime Novel

Winner of the Mark Twain American Voice in Literature Award

Finalist for the PEN/Heminghway Award 2017 for Debut Fiction

Longlisted for Andrew Carnegie Medal 2017 for Excellence in Fiction

Nominated for the Edgar Award 2017 for Best First Novel

©2016 Bill Beverly (P)2016 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Not only is the fast-paced and masterfully plotted Dodgers one of the greatest literary crime novels you will read in your lifetime, Bill Beverley has also created, in the teenage boy, East, one of the most unforgettable and heartbreaking characters ever encountered in American fiction." (Donald Ray Pollock, author of Knockemstiff and The Devil All the Time)
"Propulsive, brutally honest and yet unexpectedly tender, Dodgers is one of the best debuts I've read. I was absolutely gripped by the voice, the world of East and his brother, and surprised at nearly ever turn. I audibly gasped at the end." (Attica Locke, author of Black Water Rising and Pleasantville)
"Reading Dodgers is like having the veil lifted from your eyes: The world is more vivid, more intense, more exquisite, and more terrifying than you ever knew. Bill Beverly is a conjurer, a poet of the dark arts, and his novel is a spell: When he sends his young drug-world protagonist on a deadly errand in the alien landscape east of LA - that fat swath of America known to him only by its names and its shapes on maps - it is you who makes the journey, who is the stranger in a strange land, a watcher who now feels the eyes of others wherever you go, and who must pay the devastating tolls of crossing boundaries. Hypnotic, breath-taking, bruising, beautiful, important, true - choose your adjectives, this is a great novel." (Tim Johnston, author of Descent)

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Average Customer Ratings

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Dodgers leave L.A!! What's the world coming to?

A “road trip” novel worth reading.

Like any classic road trip, this is a voyage of discovery, but one that follows a different route than normally taken in this genre. It’s not about a white youth heading west, which has been the classic narrative in most American road trip stories since Jack Kerouac – hell, since Frederick Jackson Turner.

Instead, it’s a road trip story for a modern, urban, American reality: a black youth heading East (the youth happens to be named East; the hero as the homonym). East heading east, fleeing from the past instead of journeying into the future, disappearing into the hinterland instead of arriving wide-eyed and innocent at the Pacific coast. Encountering personal limitation and responsibilities instead of liberation and possibilities.

Some critics have compared East with Holden Caulfield, narrator of The Catcher in the Rye. Others with Raskalnikov in Crime and Punishment. Perhaps a better comparison would be to Huckleberry Finn. (East’s uncle, by the way, is named Fin. This cannot be by accident. Beverly's symbolism is very purposeful, if not always subtle). In many ways this novel is a photo negative of that original American road story, with East = Huck (and Michael Wilson + Walter + Perry = Jim?).

But I kept referring back to “Easy Rider”, the cult-classic Peter Fonda/Dennis Hopper film. (East's nickname is Easy....) Here we have the same aimless meandering toward the same inevitable conclusion. The same admonitions: “America is burning” says the final image in the movie. “America is strung out”, says the book. Everybody is addicted to something: heroin, money, guns, paintball, donuts.

In both the movie and the novel, we are left with a future that looks very bleak, a future that seems stacked against us. Stacked against a black youth from the inner city, to be sure. But maybe stacked against us all. Can our GPS calculate an escape from mortality?

A very worthwhile novel with a good story and a serious purpose. A novel as metaphor for the State of the Nation. You ain't in the conversation if you haven't read it. Narration competent but not memorable.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Wow, what a book!

I didn't know what to expect but I loved this book. Deep and exciting story. Awesome use of words and imagery. The audible performance really pulled me in. I was sad when it ended but totally satisfied.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Dodgers

Interesting story. Was kept involved and couldn't wait to get back to reading to see how things turned out!

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Amazing

I loved this book. The author is great. The book gives me hope. I did not want the book to end

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    4 out of 5 stars

Kind of like "Great Expectations" but with guns.

A little slow to start, but you can't help but root for East. I'd love to know what happened to him after the story finished.

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Great narration, story was ok

This story was decent but it didn't move me in an way. You know how a great story will make you think and reflect and it will stay with you after you finish? None of that happened for me with this one. The narrator was excellent.

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I didn't want this book to be over.

Loved both the narrator and the narration of the main character, East. Very fulfilling novel.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Matthew
  • Ajax, Ontario, Canada
  • 10-16-16

.

not bad, but at no point was I taken by the story. it felt a little luke warm to me.

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Unexpected

I love a book that takes me outside my comfort zone and introduces me to a world that I would never otherwise known. This book was full of unexpected twists and revelations. It is a coming-of-age story like none other.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Sharon
  • United States
  • 07-24-16

Disappointed!

I tried to finish this book. I really tried, but I just did not care how it ended. I continously found myself zoning out because it was just so dull. J.D Jackson is easy enough to listen too, but honestly I don't know how he muscled through.

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  • shaun simon
  • 11-08-16

Absolutely Fantastic

Great journey, not what I expected story-wise but gripping all the way through. Highly recommended. Easy to relate to characters and provoked much thought and made me experience a vast array of emotions.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • simon stewart-piercy
  • 04-21-18

very very grim.

very very grim. an early teens boy forced to
grow up too quickly after a murder

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Hugh Finn
  • 07-18-17

5 Stars beyond doubt

Great story, well plotted, beautifully written with economy & insight. Also terrific narrator. Compelling stuff.

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  • gerry
  • 07-03-17

Wonderful

Brilliant story and so well told. A must read! We loved it as we journeyed along.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Henry
  • 04-12-17

East's trip

Any additional comments?

Dodgers seemed to be right at the top of every best of list from 2016 and I'm a sucker for a coming of age story so this one excited me.

After the cops hit the Boxes and tragedy strikes, we follow East and his band of mischief makers on their trip from LA to Wisconsin to silence a whistleblower. East is the nephew of the gangs top man and he is sent on the mission to see if he is truly "in".

The story develops from gang life in LA and the road trip to the aftermath of the mission. It starts off great but i found the rest of the first half pretty slow. I Loved the second half though, even if it didn't quite live up to the hype.

JD Jackson's narration is good but a bit clunky. The dialogue and accents were great but you are always aware that he is reading

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  • Eldasensei
  • 01-19-17

Ambles along

A good story but I found the characters fairly unlikable and I didn't feel I could or indeed wanted to invest any more thought than I had to in considering their journey and how they changed individually based on their experiences.