Phreaks

Length: 5 hrs and 10 mins
4.3 out of 5 stars (4,196 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The year is 1970. Emma Gable, a blind teenager coming of age in a small industrial town in Western New York, is about as far from the seismic cultural transformations rocking campuses and city streets across America as a person can get. Emma escapes the chaos of her dysfunctional family by dialing up random numbers on the phone in her bedroom, just to see who'll answer.

But when a fateful call connects her to a mysterious band of proto-hackers calling themselves "Phone Phreaks", the revolution comes home, changing Emma's life for good. Because, Bell Telephone, the world's biggest corporation, is not amused that a handful of teenagers suddenly have the power to seize control of its vast and lucrative network and bend it to their will.

Bringing down the Phreaks is the corporate Goliath's number one priority, but for Bell Security agent Bill Connolly, the crusade becomes personal as he struggles to outwit and outmaneuver an adversary that seems always one step ahead of him.

Phreaks is the story of a fracturing family struggling to redefine itself as the world changes rapidly around it. Set at the dawn of the information age, its characters struggle with the same issues that define us today: privacy and surveillance, misuse of personal data, the ownership of ideas, our century-long obsession with the telephone, and the thirst for community that's driven us, since the dawn of time, to seek out new ways to "reach out and touch someone".

Full voice cast includes: Ben McKenzie, Carrie Coon, Christian Slater, Justice Smith, Bree Klauser, Ashley Williams, Esau Pritchett, Arielle Goldman, Danny Mastrogiorgio, Alejandro Hernandez, Daniel Kim, Dave Ahdoot, Rachel Kenney, Chris Roberti, and Katie Hartman.

Written by Matthew Derby.

Directed by Shaina Feinberg.

Executive produced by Morgan Jones.

©2020 Audible Originals, LLC (P)2020 Audible Originals, LLC.

Go Behind the Scenes of Phreaks

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Our favorite moments from Phreaks

"The more people who are exposed to it, the harder it is to contain."
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"What could they possibly mean?"
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"It's not looking good..."
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  • Phreaks
  • "The more people who are exposed to it, the harder it is to contain."
  • Phreaks
  • "What could they possibly mean?"
  • Phreaks
  • "It's not looking good..."

About the Creator

Matthew Derby is a writer and designer who co-wrote Sandra, a Gimlet Media scripted podcast about a virtual assistant. He also collaborated on The Silent History, the first digital novel written and designed specifically for the iPhone ("Entirely revolutionary" - Wired), later released as a print edition by FSG. His first book, a short story collection entitled Super Flat Times, was published in 2003.

About the Performer

Ben McKenzie has become an audience favorite, bringing to life the notable role of Detective James Gordon in the FOX hit series Gotham, which aired its fifth and final season in 2019. Last winter, he made his Broadway debut in Second Stage Theater’s production of Grand Horizons, written by Bess Wohl and directed by Leigh Silverman. McKenzie first captured audiences in the pop culture phenomenon The O.C. and continued his mainstay in television starring in the critically acclaimed NBC series Southland. In 2019, he appeared in the feature film The Torture Report with Adam Driver, Annette Bening, and Jon Hamm, which was released by Amazon Studios. Additionally, he can be seen in the Steven C. Miller action thriller Line of Duty opposite Aaron Eckhart. Other credits include Junebug, 88 Minutes, Decoding Annie Parker, Goodbye World, Adventures in the Sin bin, Johnny Got His Gun, and lending his voice to the Warner Premiere animated feature Batman: Year One.

About the Performer

Carrie Coon stars opposite Jude Law in the IFC Films marital drama, The Nest, set for release in September 2020. Additional upcoming projects include Ghostbusters: Afterlife, the long-awaited sequel to the original Ghostbusters films slated for March 2021; and HBO’s The Gilded Age, a stunning new period drama from Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes.
Carrie’s previous television credits include memorable turns in Fargo, The Leftovers, and The Sinner. For her work she has been nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award, received the Critics’ Choice Television Award, and became the first ever winner of a "double" Television Critics Association Award for Individual Achievement in Drama for starring in both Fargo and The Leftovers the same year. An avid stage actress, Carrie was nominated for a Tony Award after making her Broadway debut in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Additional stage recognitions include a Theatre Word Award, a Lucille Lortel Award, an Obie Award, and a Drama Desk nomination. Carrie’s additonal film credits include Avengers: Infinity War, The Post, Gone Girl*, Widows, and Kin.

About the Performer

Christian Slater has had an impressive career that spans the worlds of film, television, and stage. Slater received a Golden Globe and Critics Choice Award for his role as the title character in USA Network’s critically-acclaimed drama, Mr. Robot, in which he stared opposite Rami Malek. Created by Sam Esmail, Mr. Robot premiered in 2015, and the fourth and final season aired in 2019. Slater served as a producer on the show, and the show received Golden Globe, Critics Choice, and AFI Awards. Slater can be seen starring in Season 2 of USA Network’s Dirty John, opposite Amanda Peet. The installment focuses on the case of Betty Broderick (Peet), who was convicted of killing her ex-husband, Daniel T. Broderick III (Slater) and his wife, Linda Broderick (Rachel Keller). The series premiered on June 2nd.
He will soon begin production on Peacock’s Dr. Death, alongside Jamie Dornan and Alec Baldwin. The series is an adaptation of the popular 2018 podcast of the same title, which tells the story of a Texas surgeon who killed or seriously injured patients after operating on them. On the big screen, Slater was recently seen starring in Bjorn Runge’s critically acclaimed adaptation of Meg Wolitzer’s novel The Wife. In 2017, Slater returned to the stage as Rick Roma in a revival of David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross. Directed by Sam Yates, the production ran for 5 months at The Playhouse Theatre on West End. Slater divides his time between Los Angeles, New York, and Miami.

About the Performer

Justice Smith is one of Hollywood’s most promising young actors. Having recently starred in Warner Bros. summer 2019 box-office hit Pokémon: Detective Pikachu, which grossed over 430 million dollars worldwide, opposite Ryan Reynolds, Smith continues to charm audiences across TV, film, and stage. He headlines the Netflix film All the Bright Places alongside Elle Fanning. Based on the best-selling book of same name written by Jennifer Niven, the film released to rave reviews. Recently, he wrapped production of the Amazon film Voyeurs, in which he stars opposite Sydney Sweeney. Upcoming, he will start production on the HBO MAX series Generation from producer Lena Dunham.
Smith was first seen in the Fox 2000 film Paper Towns, which also starred Cara Delevingne and Nat Wolff. In 2016, Justice broke out in the critically acclaimed Netflix series The Get Down, created by Baz Luhrmann. The following year, Smith made his stage debut in the off-Broadway play Yen, in which he starred opposite Oscar nominee Lucas Hedges, followed by the blockbuster film Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom opposite Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard. He then continued his love for theater the following year and starred in the Off-Broadway play The Mother, opposite another Oscar nominee, Isabelle Huppert. Smith graduated from the Orange County School of the Arts in 2013 with a major in Acting. In his senior year, he was ranked in the top 1.3% of young artists across the nation by the National Young Arts Foundation.

About the Performer

A New York-based actress, singer, voice-over artist, and songwriter who happens to be born legally blind/low vision, Bree earned her BFA in acting from Brooklyn College and was a vocal student of the late Metropolitan Opera Tenor Francisco Casanova. She has also worked extensively in the NYC downtown theatre scene. In 2019, Bree made her small screen debut in the Apple TV + world-building drama series SEE in the role of Matal, alongside stars Alfre Woodard and Jason Momoa. Homewrecker, her self-produced music video for her music project Bree And The Whatevers, has received international press online. She has recently added voice-over actress to her quickly growing resume, providing her expressive voice to animation, audio dramas, and commercial projects.

What listeners say about Phreaks

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Great Performance. Unlikable Characters

This audible book is worth listening to just for the performance. The story was interesting, and informative about the time period. But I found Emma, the main character (and her parents) so unlikable and grating that it it detracted from the story. There ARE actually teenagers in the world who are not obnoxious. Every story needs negative characters, but this one doesn't have enough descent characters to balance the bad.

56 people found this helpful

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Surprisingly riveting

This little freebee was more engaging than it had any right to be. Extremely compelling and true to the hacker/phreaker mindset of (mostly) harmless curiosity. There were some details, both technical and historical, which were dead wrong, but they got the spirit perfect. Surprisingly light on likable characters but a satisfying story none the less.

42 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Waste of time

Absurd story. Can’t figure out why the effort to use a full cast was wasted on it. Technology of phreaking was slightly interesting, but the interaction of the characters was not realistic.

39 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Great story

My only criticism is that it’s one of those books that sounds like you’re listening to a movie. It’s really disappointing. You hear constant background noise- crowd/traffic noise, crickets, footdrops etc. For me it was too distracting and felt like I was in a movie theater rather than simply listening to a book. The story was entertaining and interesting. The narrators (not true narration) were obviously actors with the talents to be on film.

36 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Gratuitous Encounters No Hope Offered

A story to send the listener into to downward spiral to depression. Few redeeming qualities other than 90% great audio quality (some voices clearly done on poor equipment while others in the same conversation were crystal clear). Oh yeah; the performances were great. Too bad the message could not be more hopeful. The same sex encounter was an unnecessary element that did not fit with the justice crusader wanna-be plot. Slater's character needed his own novel to explore his sex-driven anger issues, but all he got was a dead-end aide plot. I won't lie. It clearly had an emotional impact on me. So perhaps it can be called a success, if instilling a sense of hopelessness in mind of the listener was the goal. It should bear the label: Warning do not attempt if you want to feel good today!

31 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Interesting, but dragged me thru too much muck

I wanted to learn about the work of the Phrenks, and I did, but some of the side stories were darker than I signed up for. And a lot more profanity than I expected.

29 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Terrible Storyline

Don't waste your time. just a bunch raunchy lines with a terrible plot . Disappointed in Audible. They can get better content than this.

25 people found this helpful

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Melodrama that mentions phone phreaking

The phone phreaking part of the story is dwarfed by family and male bisexual subplots that seem to want to consume the story. This story would be better without them.

22 people found this helpful

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Not worth the time.

I was hoping for a story about phreaking, maybe some stuff about capn crunch, how the system used to work, etc. The side stories about the main characters parents killed this book. Couldn't even get through "episode 4". Do not recommend.

19 people found this helpful

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Wonderful

I really enjoyed this Audible Original. It has witty banter, and is fast paced. The way it shows you the characters from every angle is very thought provoking. I will recommend it to my friends, and most likely listen to it multiple times.

15 people found this helpful

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Profile Image for brigitta
  • brigitta
  • 08-06-20

Interesting

This was really interesting! I haven't heard of phreaking before, but it sounds cool and intriguing. I hope there will be another instalment!