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Killing Pablo

The Hunt for the World's Greatest Outlaw
Narrated by: Mark Bowden
Length: 5 hrs and 52 mins
Categories: Bios & Memoirs, Criminals
4 out of 5 stars (1,090 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

On July 22, 1992, Colombian druglord Pablo Escobar walked out of the luxurious prison he built for himself and disappeared into the Colombian jungle. His audacious escape destroyed the nation's tenuous cease-fire with its infamous narcos, and pushed it into open war with the Medellin drug cartel.

Over the coming days and weeks, the United States launched a joint military and intelligence operation with the Colombian government, assembling a team of expert personnel and an arsenal of state-of-the-art weaponry and surveillance technology the likes of which the world had never seen. Their mission: to track down Pablo.

But this time, they knew it would not be enough to just capture Escobar. This time, they would have to finish the job. This time, they were going to kill him.

©2001 Mark Bowden, All Rights Reserved (P)2001 Simon & Schuster Inc.

Critic Reviews

"A gripping investigation...fascinating." (Booklist)
"Bowden hits another home run..." (Publishers Weekly)
"A master of narrative journalism." (The New York Times Book Review)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Relevant Accessible History

As somebody who uses Audible to make my commute bearable, I have the tendency to gravitate mostly towards mindless fiction to make the time pass... and base my reviews primarily on how successful books do with that criteria.

That being said... this is a book that isn't mindless, but still kept me captivated. It's a facinating look into both American policies in Central America as well as techniques that are used in tracking people. I have thought about this book frequently during the recent hunts for Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. I was very surprised how hit-and-miss the technologies seem to be.

The author does a good job in presenting the details of the situations without making personal judgement on the characters involved, but does so in a manner that isn't school-bookish.

Well done.

31 of 32 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

4 Stars - Really Gripping Story

This is a story worthy of Robert Ludlum or Elmore Leonard. Intrigue, deception, suspense, global politics and fantasy -- plus it's actually true! Provides a wild inside view to the cocaine trade, Columbian politics and the bizarre world that money can create. Pablo emerges as an almost mythic figure, on the one hand revered by his associates and public, and on the other a frighteningly brutal indescriminate killer. Without giving away the story, I'll tell you that there are real parallels with the Elliot Ness story of the untouchables. A great read (listen).

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Almost too scary to be true

Mark Bowden's writing on the modern history of Columbia and the horror that engulfed the entire country for a decade is an astonishing piece of work.
This is a gripping work of non-fiction and is a truly powerful insight to one of the world's most notorious terrorists, Pablo Escobar.

A huge thumbs up.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic

Excellent book that not only tells an exciting story, but also delves into Columbia's past and provides some insight into how a manical person such as Pablo Escabar can rise to such power and in some eyes prestige

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

great story

I wish the unabridged version was available! Great story telling and background by the author.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Not that great

I don't share the other reviewers' enthusiasm for this book. The author is also the reader...and he does not bring a great deal of enthusiasm to the table. The story reads like a chronicle. In all, it's a rather stiff, uninspired timeline of Pablo Escobar's life.

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Bowden hits another home run

Bowden is one of the few authors who can read his own work and keep you intrigued. The trade-off is that he does sound like a journalist rather than a story teller.
You won't find a more well-researched account of the drug wars up close and personal. A fascinating read and one of the books I found myself listening to in my driveway.
My only beef - it's abridged...

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • JT
  • 06-04-03

3 STARS

Overall, a very good book. However, it would have been much better if read by a professional voice actor.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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

Thriller

It is impossible to verify the facts surrounding the hunt and killing of Escobar, so I am not sure how accurate it is. But this is as good as a nonfiction can ever be written

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

Intriguing, but I expected more

So the title of my review isn't the best, but I'm having a hard time on how to adequately explain why I think this version of Killing Pablo is just shy of missing the mark (IMO).

It should be said, Mark does a good job on narration. He's clear, succinct, and could probably narrate other like books as a full time job. 4.5 stars there.

So why 3 stars for the story? A few reasons...1) This is an 'Abridged' version, and as clearly as I knew that, I would have really liked for the producer/publisher to spring for an Unabridged version. I always feel slightly cheated, especially when it comes to biography and history like books, if I know that certain parts were 'cut' out for whatever reason. 2) I think the origin and early years of Pablo could have been fleshed out a bit more and more dug up on his early background. While there is a chunck contained within the early stages of the narrative, it seems that the listener is short to adopt that Pablo is a full time cocaine/narco dealer within the first 1/2 hour. Finally, 3) there's a bit of supposition, speculation, or convenient 'filling in the gaps' in sections where there just aren't any hard facts or evidence. I'm sure this is true of just about any crime or historical biography, but sometime the listener is just supposed to accept 'best-guesses' as to what may or 'probably' happen. The line of logic is clear in these cases and most can probably surmise that many events played *close* to how it was described, but we'll never know 100% for sure.

The epilogue was a nice addition, but again, I think it could have been expanded a tad more. Where are Pablo's kids and wife now? What other ramifications were there between Columbia and U.S. relations other than the obvious? There's more rooted to be explored in some of the politcal fallouts on each side, but I understand it may stray slightly from the topic at hand himself, Pablo Escobar.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Mrs. Margaret Henry
  • 06-04-16

Great book.

I enjoyed this book due to its massive build up and its notorius inevetibilility of the ending.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Will A.
  • 11-29-16

Excellent

Well written and narrated, gives a good insight into the lead up to the events and interesting to know the background from 1948 onwards on the history and culture, which answers the questions of the loyalty the public have to Pablo.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-10-16

Good read

I have watched and read many books and articles on this topic and this by far is the stand out work I have enjoyed.
It wasn't flowery romantic it was portrayed as it was. Ruthless and violent.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • shaun patterson
  • 10-03-16

awesome

my favourite book even better in audio a must read/listen only wish there was more

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • LD's
  • 05-23-18

Great recollection of the events

Being just a teenager when the terror and manhunt happened, still remember these events in the news as it was yesterday.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Natalie Lockett
  • 01-03-17

decent

it was ok i think there should be more in depth details on the lofe and tomes of escobar
finito

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jo Blogs
  • 02-29-16

Very interesting story

Would you consider the audio edition of Killing Pablo to be better than the print version?

Not read it

What was one of the most memorable moments of Killing Pablo?

When they took down the mountain.....

What about Mark Bowden’s performance did you like?

Good and solid

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

NO

Any additional comments?

Worth a listen, interesting how a bully and a thug with a bit of charm can take over a country....

0 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Hank
  • 04-09-19

Very interesting

Having had no real understanding of the problem of drug cartels and their involvement in violent crimes to protect their business and punish energies; this true story was a real education on the complexity of relationships and activities of all the players involved; including American intelligence, American special forces, Columbian military, Pablo's militia, rebel militias; and the government administrations in Washington and Bogota. Very interesting read.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-26-19

Absolutely Brilliant

There was never a dull moment. It was brilliantly written, informative, engageing and well read.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Graham Perth Western Australia
  • 02-04-19

If you like true stories, you’ll love this.

Wonderfully researched and narrated by the author this story left me saddened by its inevitable truth that the fight against corruption and evil will continue. Western civilisation is in big trouble.