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Publisher's Summary

From New Yorker staff writer David Grann, New York Times best-selling author of The Lost City of Z, a twisting, haunting true-life murder mystery about one of the most monstrous crimes in American history.

In the 1920s the richest people per capita in the world were members of the Osage Indian nation in Oklahoma. After oil was discovered beneath their land, they rode in chauffeured automobiles, built mansions, and sent their children to study in Europe.

Then, one by one, the Osage began to be killed off. The family of an Osage woman, Mollie Burkhart, became a prime target. Her relatives were shot and poisoned. And it was just the beginning, as more and more members of the tribe began to die under mysterious circumstances.

In this last remnant of the Wild West - where oilmen like J. P. Getty made their fortunes and where desperadoes like Al Spencer, the "Phantom Terror", roamed - many of those who dared to investigate the killings were themselves murdered. As the death toll climbed to more than 24, the FBI took up the case. It was one of the organization's first major homicide investigations, and the bureau badly bungled the case. In desperation the young director, J. Edgar Hoover, turned to a former Texas Ranger named Tom White to unravel the mystery. White put together an undercover team, including one of the only American Indian agents in the bureau. The agents infiltrated the region, struggling to adopt the latest techniques of detection. Together with the Osage they began to expose one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history.

In Killers of the Flower Moon, David Grann revisits a shocking series of crimes in which dozens of people were murdered in cold blood. Based on years of research and startling new evidence, the book is a masterpiece of narrative nonfiction, as each step in the investigation reveals a series of sinister secrets and reversals. But more than that, it is a searing indictment of the callousness and prejudice toward American Indians that allowed the murderers to operate with impunity for so long. Killers of the Flower Moon is utterly compelling but also emotionally devastating.

©2017 David Grann (P)2017 Random House Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Story

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  • Story

An outstanding story, highly recommended

Yes, the series of narrators is confusing. More on that later. The important thing is that this is a great story, an important story, an amazing story that has been hidden from you. Everyone should read or listen to it. This is a true American crime story, a story full of villains and honest to god heroes. If you loved Boys in the Boat or Unbroken, don't miss this one. It's top notch research and story telling. I couldn't put it down.

Now, about the narration. First, you have Ann Marie Lee reading it. Her enunciation is perfect, but she hasn't got a dramatic bone in her body. I'm sorry Ann Marie. It's like listening to a kindergarten teacher reading Dick and Jane. No character. No drama. What the heck? Next Will Patton comes along.He has read a number of Stephen King books and is a marvelous dramatic reader. He can do the voice of evil really well. The transition is all the more jolting for the listener. From Romper Room to Stephen King. Suddenly you're listening to a totally different book. But you'll want to continue on because the story is that good. At the end there's Danny Campbell -- another fine reader, and another adjustment for the listener. It's a double shame that this story of a conspiracy to murder the Osage tribe and cover up the crime is bungled by Random House Audio. Are they part of the conspiracy too???

I highly recommend this book in spite of Random House's unfortunate production.

16 of 17 people found this review helpful

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Poor Narrator

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would not recommend this book to a friend. Sorry to say that, because I loved Grann's "The Lost City of Z." But the narrator reading this book is not good. She reads very slowly, she over-articulates, and you literally get the sense she is smiling when she reads things that are not remotely happy. She seems to be reading to a kindergarten audience. I actually couldn't get more than an hour into this book because her reading didn't seem to be connected to the words. I will have to read this one.

58 of 67 people found this review helpful

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Great book; beware terrible narration

The book itself is great, as expected. Grann is a master.

The first narrator is a bit slow for my taste. The second narrator (why is there more than one???) arrives unannounced as the story heats up and feels like a cruel joke. He can't decide whether he's doing a bad Sam Elliott impression or a worse Humphrey Bogart impression -- both of which distract from and diametrically contrast Grann's storytelling style.

Just read the book instead.

34 of 41 people found this review helpful

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Book was worth ignoring bad reviews

So narration wasn't perfect. The 1st one sounded like she was just reading words off the paper, as did the last one, but the narration wasn't terrible. It hardly affected me. I almost didn't give the book a chance because a review from "Lance", which was the first review you read, claimed the 2nd Narrator was making a joke of the performance and was talking like a stereotypical prohibition era gangster. Lance even falsely included quotes that were not in the book.
The second Narrator sounds like an older man from the south, and when you Google him, that's exactly what he is. He wasn't overacting. All he did was emphasize the emotions of some of the readings. I thought the second Narrator (Patton) gave a great performance.
Book was great. Not as good as 'Lost City of Z' but not because of the writer. A story about surviving the Amazon vs surviving Oklahoma is just more interesting to me.

20 of 24 people found this review helpful

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1 author, 3 narrators, 3 books

This book is read by three different narrators. In this case, the narrators make or break the story. The first narrator walks us through the mysterious murders that keep happening to the Osage tribal members - but she combines singsong and monotone with a dash of schoolmarm in a way that it was all I could do to hang on for Will Patton's section.

Will Patton comes riding in on his dark horse, just the way he does in every James Lee Burke masterpiece, to bring the narrative to life with his whispering snarl and resonant emphases. Suddenly you're the lawman in the 10 gallon hat shaking up J. Edgar Hoover's bureau out where the law gets slippery, and the narrative picks up and takes off.

The third narrator is an elderly fellow who reads the first-person segment about how so many more Osage were killed than were previously thought. He's fine.

Overall, the story is a compelling tale about the lengths to which greed and institutionalized racism will go to nearly eradicate a people, and how whether energy is clean or dirty, it exploits the land and the people on it.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Is this narrator doing performance art, or is he really that bad?

This has to be a joke. A really bad one. The first part of the audiobook is interesting, engaging, and the lady reading it does a very commendable job. Then, out of nowhere, the narrator changes to a guy who sounds like he is doing a late night comedy routine satirizing a third rate Bogie doing Phillip Marlowe routine, with a little James Cagney thrown in, see, cuz the dames like that, yeah... It is ABSURD, and so wildly distracting I actually had to stop listening to the book because I have no idea what is being said. The buffoonish vocal caricature of the narrator (cuz it's about the FBI, see, the G-men, the Feds, they're onto a racket, see...) makes it impossible to follow what the hell he is actually supposed to be saying. If I were David Grann I would track him down, see, yeah and make him eat hot lead, give him the business, for doing that to the book. Literally the worst narrating I have ever heard. Which is bad enough, but given that the first narrator was JUST FINE - completely incomprehensible.

41 of 51 people found this review helpful

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Captivating retelling of a forgotten story

The story is divided into three parts. I enjoyed all three, but was especially entertained by the second story. The second character, the Federal Agent, is so dedicated, unflappable, and ahead of his time, he seems almost unbelievable. The narrator captures the character's qualities perfectly.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Not put off by narration

I read the reviews before buying so I guess I was forewarned and ready for the accents of the changing narrators. I didn’t find this distracting. It just seemed like they were trying to use the speaking style of the person and time period that was the focus of their section of the book.

The topic is really affecting. I knew l little about it from a high school history class, but iI found it so incomprehensible back then that I hardly believed it. After reading this, the part I find hard to believe is that those in power didn’t know exactly what they were setting up when they created the guardian system.

AUDIBLE 20 REVIEW SWEEPSTAKES ENTRY

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Grim Chapter of American History.

Amazing story. The depths of evil that we are capable of is beyond comprehension. story was told with great respect for those who were killed and for those who still suffer from the ongoing sense of loss and betrayal.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Something Missing


So much hype and such staying power -- it seems like the momentum of this book isn't slowing down. The Lost City of Z was a riveting read (not such a good movie), one of my favorites, so once I realized Killers of the Flower Moon was written by that same author, I was anxious to join the people that were raving about this book. An almost unbelievably evil event that I had no prior knowledge of, so the fact that these events even went on at all had a great impact on me. I just felt a story of this magnitude, such an outrageous historical event, and the victims that suffered this ordeal for generations all could have been better served. Unlike the gripping writing I experienced before from this author, here Grann's writing seemed to lack excitement or depth. The book felt called in, and ultimately the writing didn't feel up to the events or the characters themselves. The story almost felt like it hovered above its own timeline, disconnected because the author didn't bother to stage it better. Even the history of the FBI was a bit ho-hum and categorical. Grann got the facts okay, but for me personally, he missed the heart and soul of the story and it ultimately felt flat. Still, a worthy read just for the educational value, but the whole occurrence deserved something more...much more.

Will Patton's narration was the highlight, while Campbell and Lee were a bit lackluster. Patton is able to capture the essence of a story and bring the characters and the emotion to the production. I find that he is always a great addition to anything he reads.

10 of 13 people found this review helpful