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Publisher's Summary

In the summer of 1977, Terri Jentz and her Yale roommate, Shayna Weiss, make a cross-country bike trip. They pitch a tent in the desert of central Oregon. As they are sleeping, a man in a pickup truck deliberately runs over the tent. He then attacks them with an ax. The horrific crime is reported in newspapers across the country. No one is ever arrested. Both women survive, but Shayna suffers from amnesia, while Terri is left alone with memories of the attack. Their friendship is shattered.

Fifteen years later, Terri returns to the small town where she was nearly murdered, on the first of many visits she will make "to solve the crime that would solve me". And she makes an extraordinary discovery: the violence of that night is as present for the community as it is for her. Slowly, her extensive interviews with the townspeople yield a terrifying revelation: many say they know who did it, and he is living freely in their midst. Terri then sets out to discover the truth about the crime and its aftermath, and to come to terms with the wounds that broke her life into a before and an after. Ultimately she finds herself face-to-face with the alleged axman.

Powerful, eloquent, and paced like the most riveting of thrillers, Strange Piece of Paradise is the electrifying account of Terri's investigation into the mystery of her near murder. A startling profile of a psychopath, a sweeping reflection on violence and the myth of American individualism, and a moving record of a brave inner journey from violence to hope, this searing, unforgettable work is certain to be one of the most talked about books of the year.

©2006 Terri Jentz (P)2006 Audio Renaissance, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishers, LLC

Critic Reviews

"Her story is chilling and will enthrall true crime readers." (Publishers Weekly)
"This powerful memoir...moves with great skill back between the year of the attack and the years of her investigation." (Los Angeles Times)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Antoinette
  • Upper Montclair, NJ, United States
  • 03-09-12

Strange Piece of Paradise--a compelling listen!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I have recommended this book to friends. It tells a true tale, both horrifying and remarkable. The author, Terri Jentz, faces the demon who attacked her and her friend, in college, and whose specter haunted her for many years. She pursues him with tenacity and confronts him and the justice system that chose to look the other way.

Who was your favorite character and why?

The author was my favorite character; it was she whose determination made the outcome possible.

What about Margaret Colin’s performance did you like?

The reader was fine; good and clear. She has a pleasing voice and I never had to rewind to hear what she had said.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No, the story was far too long to hear in one sitting.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

Survival story

The story is incredible and I liked hearing how Terri dealt with the tragedy, but it was hard to get through to the end due to the narrator. I fealt it was too much of a performance and not reading the book.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Fel
  • St. Paul, MN United States
  • 08-13-18

Great book, not so great narrator

Great introspective book by an amazingly strong woman. The narrator/ voice actor who reads it was very distracting. For some reason, she kept giving the people of these somewhat rural Oregon towns a weird sort of Southern accent.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful

At first it was hard to get into. Not because of the story. There was just something about it that was off putting. Maybe it was the horrible attack that was being told. As the story goes on I continue to become more and more enthralled with this story. This one is truly amazing.

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  • tammy
  • bremen, Gabon
  • 07-23-18

Facing your deamons

I love true crime and this book did not disappoint. Terri does a great job of remembering small details that make the book even more interesting. I especially loved that the townspeople she meets when she returns to Oregon to investigate the crime, take her in so lovingly.
I agree with the other reviews that the narrater has a lisp or other speech impediment but it adds to the charm of the book and makes it seem more real.

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

Gruesome and captivating real life account

At 1st I was not in love with the narrators voice, but I grew to like it and accept her as the true story teller. This was a great book if you've been into podcasts like "Serial," or "Up and Vanished." Real life search for a man that ran over her with a truck and chopped her with a hatchet. Recommend.

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EXCELLENT STORY!

You will not be sorry you purchased this book. My husband and I were both riveted from beginning to end...

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Nancy
  • Nampa, ID, United States
  • 05-28-10

Very good story, well read

Well written and read. Even though I already knew the outcome I had to keep listening. Without giving the story away, I just can't believe the system is so bad, incredible. I love Oregon and plan on a camping trip in this same area this summer. I will definately be keeping my ear to the wall.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Carola
  • OberurselGermany
  • 10-21-07

Good story, badly read

The text is interesting, but the narrator has a real problem pronouncing the "s" sound! I found it very distracting. Speech correction required!

3 of 7 people found this review helpful