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Publisher's Summary

Andrew J. Rush has achieved the kind of critical and commercial success most authors only dream about: his 28 mystery novels have sold millions of copies in nearly 30 countries, and he has a top agent and publisher in New York. He also has a loving wife, three grown children, and is a well-regarded philanthropist in his small New Jersey town. But Rush is hiding a dark secret. Under the pseudonym "Jack of Spades", he writes another string of novels - dark potboilers that are violent, lurid, even masochistic. These are novels that the refined, upstanding Andrew Rush wouldn't be seen reading, let alone writing. Until one day, his daughter comes across a Jack of Spades novel that he has carelessly left out and begins to ask questions. Meanwhile, Rush receives a court summons in the mail explaining that a local woman has accused him of plagiarizing her own self-published fiction. Rush's reputation, career, and family life all come under threat - and unbidden, in the back of his mind, the Jack of Spades starts thinking ever more evil thoughts.

©2015 Original Material by Joyce Carol Oates, c/o John Hawkins & Associates (P)2015 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

Critic Reviews

"Oates is simply the most consistently inventive, brilliant, curious and creative writer going, as far as I'm concerned." (Gillian Flynn)
"A writer of extraordinary strengths." ( The Guardian)
"If the phrase 'woman of letters' existed, Joyce Carol Oates would be, foremost in this country, entitled to it." (John Updike)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Interesting and entertaining!

Reads like the plot to an old "Twilight Zone" episode.
I liked the characters and felt their neurosis kick in. I know people like this on all sides.
Moved at a great pace with a nice rhythm.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Very well written suspense.

What did you love best about Jack of Spades?

The fractured character.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Jack of Spades?

The ending.

Which character – as performed by Joe Barrett – was your favorite?

Jack of Spades

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes. Because it was so interesting. And so full of suspense.

Any additional comments?

I had no idea how it would end.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Close to perfect

It takes courage for an artist to experiment with an unfamiliar medium -- and it is particularly remarkable for a writer of such note to experiment in another genre with such entertaining results! Whatever the author 's intent might have been, the story works on multiple levels in portraying small towns and their elites, private schools, Jaguars, writers, writers' attitudes toward other writers, writers' publishers, publishers' attorneys, black cats, family dynamics in general, spousal debts, deconstructionist criticism, narcissism, and so much more.

In large part because of the narrator, Jack of Spades not only makes a presentable showing when taken at face value, but is rip-roaring hilarious as a caricature of a genre I love in spite of itself and mine.

My only disappointment is in who ultimately prevails, but in fairness, I may just be resistant to happy endings.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Fun, good plot

Excellent characters- very chilling protagonist, & good storyline. That said, I feel like the plot could have been expanded: the author had set things up so well that I felt there was more to the story! As always, tho, Joyce Carol Oates wrote a great read/listen!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Claire
  • United States
  • 05-14-15

Ms Oates never disappoints!

As always, compelling, chilling and impossible to rest until finished. Well written and expertly performed. We are left wondering if there is a dark side in us that is waiting to emerge....and then what.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Meryl
  • CUMBERLAND CENTER, MAINE, US
  • 05-07-15

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Sad, creepy but well written story. I can't say it was enjoyable though it kept my interest. The narrator's voice was effectively disturbing. If madness is your thing.