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Publisher's Summary

A violent past. An uncertain future. The blood on his hands may never rinse clean....

Outsiders call Manuel a villain. After spending his youth entangled in inner-city gang warfare, he’s lied, robbed, and murdered his way to the top. His path was set long ago, when two killers massacred his family in front of him....

While Manuel was able to take down one of the murderers, his bloodlust has grown for the killer who got away. When he gets the chance to complete his vengeance, the city cowers beneath his thirst for retribution. As he retraces his old scars, Manuel has one chance for vindication. To succeed, he’ll need to take a hard look at the life he’s built upon the ashes of his childhood....

The Testimony of a Villain is a dark crime novel set on the unforgiving streets of the inner city. If you like graphic realism, complex characters, and an unapologetic look at reality, then you’ll love Aaron G. Harrell’s poignant tale.

Listen to the audiobook today to see a frightening villain in a whole new light….

©2008 Aaron G. Harrell (P)2017 Aaron G. Harrell

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Searching for a rightful place in society

A troubling tale of a bright young man in a middle class family with so much to look forward to in life…. He becomes witness to the massacre of his mother and father and sister, after that he was never the same. He moves from a good neighborhood to the Ghettos of Boston with his Aunt and younger sister. Manuel becomes a lost youth full of anger and viciousness. Manuel is stuck in the middle of the light and the dark, with his life events dragging him more and more to the dark side as his life goes on. Becoming more and more violent, he even scares his friends who see the look in his eyes that he actually likes hurting and killing people. The story continues with drugs, hoodlums, women, swindling, killing, money making and running the streets as the street sweepers gang. Eventually, Manuel/ Man Man/ Yoel and his actions catch up to him, and he goes to prison under an alias name of Valentine. While there, a haunting experience, and who was behind it is revealed while in the slammer; igniting a new fire in him. Once out after years of being in prison, he is met with respect in the streets, love from his Aunt and sister, as well as a ghost from the past with a “present” for his future. You cannot help but feel intense love and hate for this character and the struggles he has endured which made him the man he is. Fantastic book of a young man “searching for his rightful place in society” that I would recommend to anyone looking for a good read/listening experience.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Testimony of The Testimony - Testiception

This book was a wild ride from start to finish. Manuel lives the life of drugs and crime after he witnesses the brutal murder of his family. The whole story is around how he is hell bent on revenge, and when the opportunities to catch up with his family’s killers are in front of him you know he is going to take them. Revenge also ties in with gang violence and the struggles of growing up in low income housing that is flooded with drugs, crime, and gang activity.

Be warned; this book is graphic in every sense of the word. Sexual situations, violence, language, you name it. And it takes that approach from the start; the harrowing details in the murder of Manuel’s family is not for those with a weak stomach. But if you’re not one who is squeamish you will appreciate the detail as it paints a very clear picture of how this story will progress.

I found it eye-opening; we’re all aware by now of the dangers and perils of this world associated with projects dominated by gang wars and racial divides that push those most vulnerable further into poverty and violence. But never have I been able to get such a clear picture and from so many different angles.

If you think you can handle the graphic nature of this book then I highly suggest you give it a read or a listen. In my case it was the latter; and the smooth voice Marvin Slay is sure to take you more into Manuel’s hardened life of crime and violence. Though on that note, I felt changing between male and female voices wasn’t that distinguishable, as it was hard to tell characters such as Aunt May and the various women the boys would have relations with apart from the males in the book. It made for some really awkward sex scenes. Other than that Slay does a tremendous job.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • oregon
  • 05-13-17

Intense, Dark & Memorable

I was surprised by this story. Was it a tragic ending or not? You'll have to judge for yourself. The story of Manuel is at once heartbreaking and shocking, especially for those of us sheltered from a life of violence and/or unspeakable tragedy. Manuel survives a horrendous beginning and finds meaning in his survival through vengeance and then later, more basic human needs. He tells both a sympathetic and a villainous, evil tale.
The narrator has a nice voice and does an excellent job. I was mesmerized when intense moments or turning points were punctuated with background noise or effects.
I would not recommend this audiobook for anyone who can't handle or doesn't want to hear about graphic violence or sex. This is overall a dark story but it has purpose and it's a worthwhile book...if your up to it.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Excellent Story

If you could sum up The Testimony of a Villain in three words, what would they be?

Chilling, Dark, Real

Who was your favorite character and why?

My favorite character was Manuel because we got to see him at his best, his worse and everything in between. I think his character really changed throughout the book and it was interesting to witness.

What about Marvin Slay’s performance did you like?

He spoke clearly and I also appreciated how he used different tones of voice, depending on the which character was speaking instead of just reading in one voice.

If you could take any character from The Testimony of a Villain out to dinner, who would it be and why?

I would probably take Tracy to dinner to try and be a good friend and support system for her.

Any additional comments?

Be aware that this book does contain descriptive murder and rape scenes and swearing throughout. This audio book was narrated by Marvin Slay.
The Testimony of a Villain is about Manuel, who at a young age witnessed his family’s murder. As the audience, we listen in on how such a horrifying experience turned Manuel’s life upside down, and how he goes from having it all, to having nothing. The story mostly follows Manuel, and how he spirals into a life full of hate, gangs, drugs and murder. Aaron G. Harrell , the author does an excellent job in being descriptive and detailed. The story also follows other characters, which gives it many dimensions and perspectives. I understand that some readers may feel uncomfortable with the violence and rape scenes, but I appreciate that Harrell was real about how hard life was for the characters and that he didn’t sugarcoat it. Also, I personally enjoyed the narration. I think Marvin Slay did a good job overall and he helped bring the story alive.
Overall, I would recommend this audio book as it sucks you right in and makes you think. But again, the author covers serious issues in detail, so be warned.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Not your average crime novel

This book starts out strong and with plenty of mystery. You are taken through the memories of Manuel as a child and right during the event that changes his life. Manuel is a smart and aware character who is able to get on top despite the disadvantages he is given. Through his story, you will meet all his friends who will become the prominent members of his gang.

This book may not be for everyone though, it's filled with explicit acts of rape and murder.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Not for the light of heart but it is crazy!

What made the experience of listening to The Testimony of a Villain the most enjoyable?

I enjoyed the authenticity the author brought to the book and how we could see the events of the book unfold.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Testimony of a Villain?

The death of his parents and older sisters was one of the most memorable to me because it led to so much of the rest of the book and to how his life changed so much.

Which scene was your favorite?

I can't really say that I had a favorite scene in this book as it was such a graphic book. However, I thought his transition from his life of wealth to life of rags and trying to make ends meet even when they weren't was one of the most interesting because you see so many rags to riches books but this was a riches to rags in a way.

If you could rename The Testimony of a Villain, what would you call it?

If You Only Knew

Any additional comments?

I got the audio book of “The Testimony of a Villain” by Aaron G. Harrell. This book is a hard one to swallow. It has very dramatic, graphic, and sad parts to it. Without giving too much away I want to warn you that it is quite a bit to take in as the author does not avoid talking about some very realistic things that can happen to people, particularly things some experience from the inner city. As readers you have probably read the rags to riches or the riches to rags. This main character has money and then after a drastic scene his life is changed. He then lives life dramatically changed from before. Now he struggles with anger, violence, money issues, sexual acts, and darkness. This book takes you to a new world and into a new light. There was a lot that happened to this character and it makes you ache for the life that some are living out today. The author will be unmatched in his depictions of this life. I would recommend this book with a warning, it Is graphic and violent and is not for the light of heart. It is a serious book and should be read as so. It is not a light easy beach read. I would have liked to have known that before reading/listening to this book and so I figured I would share that with you.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Awesome

This book was excellent from the beginning to the end. I had a hard time putting the book down. The characters were awesome. The ending was good but I wish Manuel outcome would have been a little different. This book is worth every penny. I do recommend this book and I would purchase another book by the author and narrator. Keep the books coming.😊😀😁

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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This book had me on the edge of my seat u usecally

I really loved and enjoyed this book the person who read this book did a real good job

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Whoa!!

What a Great Book! Kept me on edge. A must read!!!!Emanuele went through a lot

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Thriller no filler!

Would you consider the audio edition of The Testimony of a Villain to be better than the print version?

The Testimony of a Villain by Aaron Harrell is a dark, slick ride into the gritty alleys of the inner city. The book is not your typical crime thriller but one with a social lens that can only be given substance by one who has lived it. The reader follows Manuel Doggett, a boy who lost everything to be formed by the streets and remade in its’ dark image. He is out for retribution not redemption when an opportunity arises to have his vengeance on one of the murderers of his family.

Harrell provides a fresh and new take to the “true crime” thriller. His style is so firmly set in the bitingly grime reality of the inner city that the reader could even give this novel a new sub-genre of socio-economic thriller. The new threads do not stop there either, because the plot of the book itself is almost like a hero’s journey in reverse. Manuel is the classic anti-hero and one that does not once look to the audience for sympathy. Instead, there is only apathy towards almost everything, except towards the memories of his past.

The weaving of the inner city struggle and the complex inner life of Manuel makes this novel a stand out for readers of not only crime thrillers, but also those who wish to delve into the dark, broken mind of a man walking the line between light and shadow. The writing is fraught with graphic images of both violence and sex and is not for the weak-hearted.

I found myself enjoying the book from the start, because of the quick and realistic dialogue and the meta conversation about corruption, justice and social strata. There are a lot of binaries at play here, between the poor and wealthy, justice and injustice, and morality and immorality. Harrell does a fantastic job with surveying these issues, touching on them just enough without becoming too explicit. I can only guess at what Harrell’s personal experience has been with the inner city, but I very much appreciated the taste of authenticity that he lends to the narrative.

I find Manuel to be a compelling character. Most readers may find something akin to the backstory of Batman here, but there is a real human struggle that Harrell puts on display often.

Overall, I do believe that The Testimony of a Villain stands up to the best the crime thriller genre has to offer. It makes for a pleasurable read for any fans of such novels!

What did you like best about this story?

realistic dialogue

What about Marvin Slay’s performance did you like?

His voice

If you could rename The Testimony of a Villain, what would you call it?

Villian

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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