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The Boys from Brazil

By: Ira Levin
Narrated by: Simon Prebble
Length: 8 hrs and 35 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (194 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The classic thriller of Dr. Josef Mengele's nightmarish plot to restore the Third Reich.

Alive and hiding in South America, the fiendish Nazi Dr. Josef Mengele gathers a group of former colleagues for a horrifying project. Barry Koehler, a young investigative journalist, gets wind of the scheme and informs famed Nazi hunter Yakov Liebermann, but before he can relay the evidence, Koehler is killed.

Thus Ira Levin opens one of the strangest and most masterful novels of his career. Why has Mengele marked a number of harmless aging men for murder? What is the hidden link that binds them? What interest can they possibly hold for their killers: Six former SS men dispatched from South America by the most wanted Nazi still alive, the notorious "Angel of Death"? One man alone must answer these questions and stop the killings - Liebermann, himself aging and thought by some to be losing his grip on reality.

At the heart of The Boys from Brazil lies a frightening contemporary nightmare, chilling and all too possible.

©1976 Ira Levin (P)2014 HarperCollins Publishers

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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Nazi Hunter Hounds Angel of Death

This thriller is set in 1974 as the fictional Ezra Lieberman, a Nazi hunter based loosely on Simon Wiesenthal, is contacted by a U.S. reporter on the job in Brazil who just heard of a plan by Josef Mengele, infamously called the "Angel of Death," to activate ODESSA (former SS members on the loose in South America) in order to kill 94 men. The only link among the men who have thus far been killed is they were murdered just after reaching age 65; otherwise, they seem to share no common traits.

The chilling novel tracks Lieberman as he desperately tries to determine the link among the targeted men before more are killed (why does Mengele want these seemingly harmless men dead?) and attempts to track down Mengele.

While some parts of the novel are dated (mainly because most any SS officer in the Third Reich, if alive, would be near 100 or older), the genetic engineering premise is much more likely than it was in 1976 upon the novel's publication.

A hearty recommendation for a change from the glutted market and often overlapping scenery of recently-published mystery/suspense novels.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Classic Nazi-hunting thriller that holds up

Rosemary’s Baby is likely Ira Levin’s most famous novel, and for good reason. It’s got one hell of a twist. The problem is that the buildup to the twist concerning the titular character’s baby is a slow one and primarily consists of somewhat mundane details about domestic life in the 60’s.

This novel, on the other hand, is never slow. Even though (if you haven’t seen the movie or heard people talking about it) you won’t get the full truth concerning “the boys from Brazil” (and their fathers) until you are well past the midpoint, you will get more than enough intrigue, action, and suspense to make the journey to the reveal a pure thrill ride.

I never felt my patience being tested here, unlike with Rosemary’s Baby. Also, there is the added bonus of learning a good deal about Nazi war crimes/criminals and the efforts undertaken by various parties to find them and bring them to justice. That is an inherently fascinating story.

My only complaint, and it’s a small one, lies with the narrator of this book, Simon Prebble. His is a prolific voice in the world of audiobooks, and I do enjoy hearing him bring an older thriller like this to life. In fact, he narrated the book I listened to prior to this, “The Day of the Jackal” by Frederick Forsyth, another classic of the genre.

He performs admirably around 90-95% of the time. But there is a weird aspect to his narrations that I’ve never encountered elsewhere: every once in a while, his tone of voice will shift noticeably and jarringly during the middle of a paragraph or at the start of a new line of dialogue by the same character. For instance, you will hear a male character with a higher pitched voice start speaking at a much lower pitch. It is quite evident that these are separate recordings that were stitched together.

I am not so naive to think that these narrations are recorded in a single take. Editing is very common. But usually it is done subtly and skillfully, so as not to alert the reader to the fact that it IS being done.

It is not done subtly here and it was the same with Day of the Jackal. It is kind of bizarre.

However, the book is a classic and Prebble more or less does it justice. I can certainly forgive him for the occasional clumsy edit and botched tonal continuity.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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If you want to be paranoid then read this book.

If you could sum up The Boys from Brazil in three words, what would they be?

Believable; Capture; Wonder

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Boys from Brazil?

Point of origin for the 94 Boys.

Have you listened to any of Simon Prebble’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

None

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

Ending

Any additional comments?

Very good book and much enjoyed. Rapidly paced but with good detail to walk the reader through the various scenes of the book. I highly recommend.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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good read

I thought the book was good and I'm now excited to watch the movie of the same name.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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great book I enjoyed it

very interesting book to listen to even though it is fiction it is easy to believe its pretense this is an excellent narrator I have listened to many of his narrations of stories I plan to listen to more of the Levine books enjoy

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Did it Happen?

Have human beings been cloned? This story either reveals a hidden truth - or spins an entertaining yarn. Great narration and a colorful, well-paced story. I enjoyed it.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Would recommend

The performance of the narrator was really good and the story was thrilling and surprising.

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Thrilling

I chose this book because I adored the movie, and i was not disappointed. I will be listening again.

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Could it be true?

Were the Nazis, lead by Dr. Mengele, really decades ahead of the rest of the world in biology? What part of genes and experiences make us who we are?

The narrator is good but I had a hard time hearing Simon Prebble through my car speakers. I have not had that trouble with other audiobooks from Audible. Maybe Prebble's voice is simply too deep.

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Outstanding

I saw this movie a few years ago and was fascinated by the idea of it all. I wanted to read the book for more detail as movies often times leave out valuable information. Not only does this story hold up after all these years, the very thought of the progress of science and technology makes this story even more interesting in 2019.