Once a Crooked Man

Narrated by: David McCallum
Length: 11 hrs and 55 mins
4 out of 5 stars (510 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A deliciously quirky crime novel from David McCallum, the beloved actor known for his portrayal of Illya Kuryakin on The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard on NCIS.

Crime pays. And pays well. Sal, Max, and Enzo Bruschetti have proven this over a lifetime of nefarious activity that they have kept hidden from law enforcement. Nowhere in any file on any computer is there a record of anything illegal from which they have profited.

But Max has a problem. His body is getting old, and his doctor has told him to take it easy. Max has decided that the time has come for the family to retire. But when young actor Harry Murphy overhears the Bruschetti brothers planning changes to their organization, including the murder of a man in London who knows too much, the Bruschettis' plans begin to unravel.

After Harry makes the well-intentioned if egregious mistake of trying to warn the Bruchettis' intended victim, he finds himself alone in a foreign country, on the wrong side of the law, with a suitcase full of cash and a dangerous man on his trail. And while his good looks, charm, and cheerful persistence may prove assets in the turbulent events that follow, none of Harry's past roles has prepared him for what happens next.

By turns tense and funny, Once a Crooked Man is infused with the infectious charm that has made David McCallum one of television's longest-running, most-beloved stars.

©2016 David McCallum (P)2016 Macmillan Audio

Critic Reviews

"To hear a terrific book brilliantly performed by the author is one of life's huge pleasures. Is McCallum up to it? He's only been working on stage and screen for what--six decades? Oh, surprise, he's fabulous.... Only an actor could have written this deliciously entertaining story, and no one could have performed it better. Standing O." ( AudioFile)

What listeners say about Once a Crooked Man

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

Mostly a good romp

This is mostly a good romp with a Everyman hero hopelessly out of his element when his path crosses that of a family of criminals. There is (spoiler alert) a rather distasteful scene when a forcible rape becomes a seduction but otherwise I enjoyed it. The author is also the narrator. Generally, this doesn't work for me but here it was very well done.

12 people found this helpful

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What Fun!

David McCallum has written a delightful story. It keeps one entertained throughout and comes to an satisfying end. I do hope there will be more!

6 people found this helpful

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Page Turner!

loved the characters and the plot! i hope david writes another book! well worth the listen too!

4 people found this helpful

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Crooked

The story lived up to its name, keep me wanting to hear what would happen next

4 people found this helpful

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unique!!

twists at every turn; a unique plot, resembling no other story I have read. another book in the works, please!

4 people found this helpful

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FABULOUS!

If you could sum up Once a Crooked Man in three words, what would they be?

Imaginative, suspenseful, exciting.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Harry Murphy

What does David McCallum bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Have you ever heard his voice?! OMG! The tone and cadence make anything he reads worth hearing. His is also a voice that inspires a feeling of "safety."

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The point at which Harry overheard the conversation of criminals while taking a leak in an alley on the side of a Chinese restaurant.

Any additional comments?

The only downside to being an avid reader is eventually gaining an ability to identify a plot line too quickly, and that definitely takes some of the pleasure out of the reading. I was delighted to find that that was NOT the case with "Once A Crooked Man" by David McCallum. The story line was solid, imaginative, unique, and dynamic, and throughout the book, I had no idea what was coming next – which made it all the more exciting! The multifaceted personalities of each character unfolded naturally, making them believable and easy to identify with, and demonstrated McCallum's deep understanding of both human nature and the fickleness of fate. Though complex, the story flowed smoothly, and at the end, all tied together in a manner that brought reader satisfaction and fulfillment. And of course, hearing David’s lovely voice read it was extra yummy. I really hope he will write a sequel to OACM because, as with all good stories, the characters become like friends with whom we wish to visit again and again.

18 people found this helpful

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Oh, Ducky...sigh.

I’ve been a fan of David McCallum since the 1960’s. I was excited to find this book that he wrote and narrated. How wonderful to be able to listen to this wonderful actor read a book that he created! Alas, listening to Mr. McCallum’s voice was the best part. His writing style was very engaging and refined. But there were too many instances in the book where I had to suspend belief, and that ruined the story for me. Also, the author made an unfortunate misogynistic plot choice. He wrote that a main character, a strong and independent female police officer, was captured and eventually raped by one of the criminals. To her surprise, she enjoyed her physical response to the rape, so much so that she fell in with this man and became his lover and his partner. I think that plot twist gives a horrible message to readers. It implies that rape is OK if the victim has an involuntary sexual response. It suggests that forced sex and orgasm can be the basis for a relationship. To me, this attitude echoes the frequently heard male mantras such as, “It isn’t rape if she liked it,” and “She may have said no, but I could tell she wanted it.” I suspect rape victims might get very angry if they read this book. It makes me wonder about the inclinations and thought processes of the author, and not in a good way.

8 people found this helpful

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Great Fun Read!

Great Fun. Loved every character and was hoping no one would win or lose! Narration was perfect as well. A book that was easy to press play on.

7 people found this helpful

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Disappointing

I had high hopes for this book. Unfortunately I could not even get through ¼ of it.I really like David McCallum, but his reading seemed flat. But the story was worse and the unnecessary use of profanity (and sex, based on another review I wish I had read prior to purchasing) left me cold. IF the story were gripping & well told I might have been able to overlook those - but after 10 chapters I was still waiting.

2 people found this helpful

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Fantastic

The only thing better than reading David's book was listening to David read it to me !!

5 people found this helpful