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Publisher's Summary

In a world of professionals, Charlie Heller is the Amateur, and he's at the center of a chillingly engrossing tale of espionage and intrigue, written by master-of-the-genre Robert Littell.

In this "first-rate thriller" (Chicago Tribune), Charlie Heller is an ace cryptographer for the Company. He's a quiet man with a quiet job in a back office. But when terrorists shoot his fiancee in cold blood and Heller learns that the Agency has decided not to pursue those responsible, his life takes an abrupt turn. He was not a blackmailer but he will force the CIA's hand. He was not an assassin but he will penetrate the Iron Curtain with the intent to kill. Driven by an obsessive need for revenge, targeted for elimination by the CIA itself, Heller is an amateur with a one-in-a-million chance of success.

With last year's publication of his New York Times best seller The Company, Robert Littell reestablished his position as one of our top writers of intelligent, ironic, and always entertaining espionage thrillers. After many years The Amateur, a cult classic among aficionados, is finally available in audio.

©1981 Robert Littell; (P)2003 New Millenium Audio, All Rights Reserved.

Critic Reviews

"Superb...real terror...a hall-of-mirrors last-minute twists...Littell is in top form." (Kirkus)
"A taut, chilling plot and a protagonist as memorable as one of Len Deighton's, or le Carre's George Smiley." (The New York Times Book Review)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall
  • Pamela
  • Beckley, WV, USA
  • 02-22-04

Robert Littell is no amateur

If you enjoyed The Company, you'll love The Amateur. Both books are well-written and excellently narrated. Shorter than The Company, but long enough for hours of entertainment.

16 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

More CIA from Littell

Not quite as good as "The Company" but excellent nevertheless. Great ending. Wished it were longer.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Laurie
  • Florence, KY, United States
  • 02-15-06

just average

I would hardly call this book "a fast paced thriller". At times, the book was downright boring. Perhaps it is one of those books that would actually be better to read, not listen to. Scott Brick is excellent, but even he needs a little more to work with than this ho hum novel. I'm sorry I wasted the book credit.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Short Work for Littell

<B><U>The Amateur</U></B> is an engaging short story, by Littell's standards - see <B><U>The Company</U></B> - that is a predictable but enjoyable listen. Much of the action after Heller's plans are in motion is telegraphed during his extorted training from the CIA. If you are into vengance, there is plenty of it here, but not many surprises.

Impeccable narration is provided by Scott Brick as usual.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

A great listen!

I enjoyed this book thoroughly, as I did "The Company". Littell has the consistent ability to make his characters come alive and includes some interesting development of a few of the characters found in "The Company". I particularly enjoyed the very last line of this book - it made me laugh out loud. The narration by Scott Brick was, as usual, exceptional.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Reg
  • Denver, CO, USA
  • 05-11-05

Obsessed detail

I finished listening to this book, but at times it was seriously aggravating to listen to the authors absolute obsession with overused detail(My opinion). Other than that the subject and content was good. I would be hesitant to listen to another book from this author if he has the same style on the rest of his books.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Joseph
  • janesville, WI, USA
  • 12-04-04


Super listen! From the begining I was hooked. The meshing of the characters are great. Good action, good ending

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Clement
  • Chicago, IL, USA
  • 02-10-04

Makes you wonder what CIA really means

The further you get into this story, the more you cheer for the hero and boo the CIA. Must read or listen to for anyone at all concerned for where that country is now. Great plot and story, the characters are people you want to either hate or cheer for. Hard to stop once you have started.

19 of 23 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Deborah
  • shallotte, NC, United States
  • 06-03-06

Please, another voice

This is probably heresy, but I'm tired of hearing books read by Scott Brick. I guess because I buy this genre a lot, the majority of books I have are read by him. I'm not sure this book was only three stars because of the writing, or because I get Scott Brick confused with all the other characters he's been in other books. I just listened to Solomon vs. Lord and the person who read that would be great in this genre.

Anyway, I'm having an extremely hard time finishing this book and I'm kind of tired of hearing Brick use a New York Jewish accent to suffice for Czech, Polish, Russian characters.

I love Joe Montegna and Len Cariou... let's have more of them too.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Jerret
  • Crockett, VA, USA
  • 06-24-05

Quick read. Highly recommended.

This was a fantastic download. Narrated by Scott Brick. Great story, quick and gripping. Really held my attention. Five stars.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful