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Publisher's Summary

New York Times best seller • "The suspense novel for all others to beat...[a] must read." (The Denver Post)

Winner of the Edgar Award for Best First Novel

It is the spring of 1945, and in a dusty, remote community, the world’s most brilliant minds have come together in secret. Their mission: to split an atom and end a war. But among those who have come to Robert Oppenheimer’s "enchanted campus" of foreign-born scientists, baffled guards, and restless wives is a simple man in search of a killer. Michael Connolly has been sent to the middle of nowhere to investigate the murder of a security officer on the Manhattan Project. But amid the glimmering cocktail parties and the staggering genius, Connolly will find more than he bargained for. Sleeping in a dead man’s bed and making love to another man’s wife, Connolly has entered the moral no-man’s-land of Los Alamos. For in this place of brilliance and discovery, hope and horror, Connolly is plunged into a shadowy war with a killer - as the world is about to be changed forever.

Praise for Los Alamos

"A magnificent work of fiction...a love story inside a murder mystery inside perhaps the most significant story of the twentieth century: the making of the atomic bomb." (The Boston Globe)

"Compelling...[Joseph Kanon] pulls the reader into a historical drama of excitement and high moral seriousness." (The New York Times)

"Thrilling...Kanon writes with the sure hand of a veteran and does a marvelous job." (The Washington Post Book World)

©1997 Joseph Kanon (P)1997 Bantam Doubleday Dell Audio Publishing, Bantam Doubleday Dell Audio Publishing, A Division of Random House, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"The atmospherics are exactly right: Los Alamos brings back an era when a secret was really a secret and a lie wasn't necessarily a sin." (Entertainment Weekly)

What listeners say about Los Alamos

Average Customer Ratings
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Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

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

Terrible sound quality

What would have made Los Alamos better?

The enhanced audio was poorly executed

Any additional comments?

This recording sounds like it was mastered from cassette tape

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Poor sound quality

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

The sound quality is quite poor. This is the first time I've had such an issue with Audible downloads, but I didn't listen to the entire book because of that.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Los Alamos with distracting annoying music

Good story about interesting historical period. However, the music is both distracting and annoying as it sounds off tune most of the time and adds little to the "atmosphere".

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    out of 5 stars

Los Alamos

Annoying sound effects.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Good, but...

I agree that the plot is well done and interesting, but lets lose the annoying background "music" that obscures the words at chapter breaks. Otherwise well read.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Slow Start but fascinating

Joseph Kanin is an elegant and intelligent writer, not given to blood, gore, or oversexed characters. This one takes off casually but builds to something important halfway there. Excellent ! and Ed Herrmann the narrator, is a lost star.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Classic Crime Writing and Fine Historical Fiction

I always read historical fiction with a degree of dread that at any moment the work will descend into a superficial gloss of actual events. We're always just happening upon some heretofore unknown figure as he or she is about to make a discovery or take an action that will change the course of humankind. In LOS ALAMOS, Joseph Kanon avoids the pitfalls of the genre by diving headlong into a setting where encounters with titanic figures and momentous events aren't so much coincidental as inevitable. Set during the final stages of the Manhattan Project, LOS ALAMOS is both classic crime writing and superb historical fiction. Kanon has clearly done extensive research into the personalities and activities that led to the development of the atomic bomb, but he uses that background knowledge judiciously. Rather than being compelled to trot out every fact worth noting about Los Alamos, Kanon respects the reader's intelligence and only uses details that are relevant to the narrative. He introduces people and reports events in a way that suggests that he expects us to have some prior familiarity with them. I'm anything but an expert on the era in question, but his portrait of Robert Oppenheimer as a high-strung, slightly aloof personality feels credible. IMPORTANT: As many have noted, the sound quality of this recording is execrable, and the music transitions at chapter breaks is horribly distorted. Even so, I would hate for listeners to be turned away from this audiobook because of these limitations. There is a silver lining to the fact that this is an old recording: Edward Herrmann's performance is the kind of commanding voice that we seldom hear anymore. He projects a tone of confident masculinity that today has given way to bombast and bluster. He does very well with accents, the only drawback being that female characters tend to sound a tad like men in drag.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • JH
  • 07-19-09

Great period piece, first rate narrator

Complex and believable WWII era story with the development of the atomic bomb as a backdrop. The two main characters are engaging and adequately life-like that you care what happens to them. Lots of twists, and I could find no internal contradictions. I am surprised at the low ratings given by others - I suspect they were looking for something else. From my point of view, narrator Edward Herman simply reading a random newspaper story would get a score to at least 3 stars.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    out of 5 stars

Los Alamos

Decent book. Suspenseful and historically interesting.

4 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great story and narration but

Audio recording had loud, tinny music at inappropriate times that made it all but impossible to hear the narrator. I had to relisten to these frequent spots so often I was ready to abandon the audio book. Better to just read the book.