The Emperor of Ocean Park

Narrated by: Richard Allen
Series: Elm Harbor, Book 1
Length: 26 hrs and 5 mins
4 out of 5 stars (176 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In his triumphant fictional debut, Stephen Carter combines a large-scale, riveting novel of suspense with the saga of a unique family.

The Emperor of Ocean Park is set in two privileged worlds: the upper crust African American society of the Eastern seabord - families who summer at Martha’s Vineyard - and the inner circle of an Ivy League law school. Talcott Garland is a successful law professor, devoted father, and husband of a beautiful and ambitious woman, whose future desires may threaten the family he holds so dear. When Talcott’s father, Judge Oliver Garland, a disgraced former Supreme Court nominee, is found dead under suspicious circumstances, Talcott wonders if he may have been murdered. 

Guided by the elements of a mysterious puzzle that his father left, Talcott must risk his marriage, his career and even his life in his quest for justice. Superbly written and filled with memorable characters, The Emperor of Ocean Park is both a stunning literary achievement and a grand literary entertainment. 

©2002 Stephen L. Carter (P)2002 Books on Tape, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"A thrilling read, driven by a cocktail of plot and character." (The Observer)
"An elegantly nuanced novel, with finely drawn characters, a challenging plot, and perfect pacing." (Booklist)
"[A] complex literary thriller. Carter deftly weaves together several strands, from the relationships of father and sons and husbands and wives to the politics of the Nixon and Reagan eras." (Bookpage)

What members say
Average Customer Ratings
Overall
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Performance
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Not a bad book but where was the editor?

A decent storyline and plausible characters but way to long and repetitive. This book could easily have been condensed in half without reducing the value. I found myself not really listening especially the 2 middle parts and in hindsight it might have been better to get the abridged version.

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Long, drawn-out and not particularly satisfying

This is a curious book - it's not really a thriller as the plot is too thin and there's little action. But then it's not really a literary novel either, which is what it seems to have pretensions to be. As others have commented, the narrator evinces littles sympathy. In fact, none of the characters does. A more self-centred, obnoxious bunch you'd be hard-pressed to find. Where the book works best is in the description of a troubled marriage and the narrator's relationship with his three-year-old son, but this has precious little to do with driving the plot along. There's some good writing scattered throughout the book, but there is way too much padding and pointless meanderings. The abridged version is almost certainly a better bet - this is one title that could be cut to a third of its length without harm.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Outstanding

The Emperor of Ocean Park is an excellent book, both suspenseful and rich in characters. The narrator does an outstanding job, as well. I would highly recommend this audiobook.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

not for everyone

it is interesting to see the wide spread of opinions about this book. people seem to love it or hate it, and I am firmly in the first camp. Yes, the book is long, but what a fascinating world the author presents. I was thoroughly engrossed and grew fond of the protagonist despite (or perhaps because of) his foibles. Can't wait to read the author's second book.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Oh my goodness put me out of this misery

Do not waste a book credit or even 37 cents on this audio book. The plot has some interest at times, but, goodness it goes on forever along tangents that are incomprehensible. The author wrote some wretched dialog and I'm still trying to figure out why the law professor husband didn't just sue and divorce his adulterous wife. Character development was non existent. I never did listen to the end and I don't even care.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Wore me out.

At first I liked this book because the narrator was so unlikeable - smug, self-centered, clueless - and yet because of his obvious weakenesses I identified with him. And it is so rare to see an unlikeable narrator in genre fiction. But as the book went on and on, the narrator's ponitification (his presentation of pet peeves as dire warnings of social decay) wore me out. Ultimately, what could have been an enjoyable and informative read, became an apologia for self-serving and passive melancholy.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Stephen L. Carter Debut

Struggle to complete. Not my typical genre. I'm romance but decided to try something different.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

I'd happily listen to all 26 hours again!

The plot and the performance were captivating. I don't know what the author's inspiration was, but it's the best whodunnit I've read in a long time! Everybody in the entire story is a suspect.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Wasn’t sure about this

I wasn’t sure about this book. Whoopi Goldberg raved about it on The View. But then I listened to it and I loved it! The reading was flawless and the story exciting.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Still a masterpiece

I love this read (listen) just as much the second time around, as when I read the hardcover when this was first published in 2002! Excellent performance by the narrator. He brought all of Mr. Carter's flawed (but enticing) characters to life, better than I imagined could be done. Bravo!

1 person found this helpful