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Compulsive: A Novel [Kindle Edition]

Jack Engelhard
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Book Description

In his usual hard-edged prose, for which he is internationally famous, bestselling novelist Jack Engelhard (Indecent Proposal) draws us into the mind of a compulsive gambler in a work stunningly brilliant and original, and seductively readable. Compulsive is a journey through today, with issues as current as the morning paper, brought to the fore by characters as timeless as the Bible. All this processed through a mind addicted to gambling as surely as others are addicted to heroin. A brisk read by one of America’s most accomplished authors... not to be missed. Jack Engelhard, the last of the Hemingways, is a writer without peer and the conscience of us all.

About the Author:

Contemporaries have hailed novelist Jack Engelhard as “the last Hemingway” and of being “a writer without peer and the conscience of us all.” The New York Times commended the economy of his prose... “precise, almost clinical language.” His bestselling novel Indecent Proposal made him internationally famous as the foremost chronicler of moral dilemmas and of topics dealing with temptation. Works that followed won him an even greater following, such as Escape From Mount Moriah, his book of memoirs that won awards for writing and for film. Engelhard writes a weekly column for the Washington Times. His website:

Editorial Reviews


From Kenneth Slawenski (Random House), bestselling author of J.D.Salinger: A life -
"That Jack Engelhard is a talented novelist is self-evident. His story plots are engrossing, his writing is fluid, and his characters are easily recognizable. They are as flawed and complex as flesh and blood people. And like actual people, they are often confronted by moral choices. This is where Jack Engelhard becomes an important novelist. By presenting his characters with moral roadblocks, the author asks us, as readers, to examine our own ethics. That's rare in today's literature. In an age where moral ambiguity has become a staple of fashionable writing, Jack Engelhard pulls us back to remind us that our lives are a consequence of the ethical decisions we make."

Product Details

  • File Size: 469 KB
  • Print Length: 265 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1771430818
  • Publisher: DayRay Literary Press; 1st edition (June 8, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #286,988 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Having read a few of Jack Engelhard's novels I have learned that I need to have time to finish reading the entire book. Once I start reading I am incapable of stopping. His latest work is no exception.

"Compulsive" is a story about a gambler. Though all of us know that "gambling is not a good thing" and that gamblers are addicted people, who will drop everything to test Lady Luck, I could not help but liking Gil Gilels - a lot. Even with his addiction to gambling, Gil is a man of principles, in and outside the casino. Gil articulates what we know about the run of luck, only he says it so much better than we could even think it.
"If the casino was a mirror of life, it was this: You were not supposed to win. If you did, something was wrong."

Gil Gilels also addresses the "4th dimension" of gambling: "I knew people who spoke in numbers." (Indeed, I have met them too; only until I read "Compulsive" I did not know how to express in only seven words what made them remarkable characters, in a good and a bad way.)

Then again, "Compulsive" is about so much more than gambling. As in all of Engelhard's books, his character is highly intelligent and ponders the questions, which inevitably we have to ask ourselves when things aren't going the way we want them to go.
"Can people really forgive or is this strictly God's business? It's the same on punishment..."

Engelhard has the rare talent to pack gambling and religion, philosophy and sports, life's wisdom and superstitions into one book, which feels like looking at different moments we have lived, watched somebody else live, or wondered what it would feel like if could we live these moments.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars LIVE COMPULSIVE! June 14, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A new novel from the author of Indecent Proposal:
Jack Engelhard

Reader beware.... This book takes you inside the mind of a compulsive gambler. It is not an external narrative or a journalistic account. It is written as such a person thinks. It jumps from one adventure, one issue, one moral conflict to another.... with no regard for the niceties of full resolution, tied up loose ends, completeness.

The result: its slightly less than two hundred pages has you careening through the chaotic life and times of a successful maker of documentaries... a filmmaker deeply in debt, constantly needing to quench his thirst for from people it is life-threatening to owe.

Through it all we see the masterful orchestration of action that is pure Engelhard. The racetrack scene where the objection was lodged with the stewards absolutely radiates nerve grating tension. The drive through roadways rendered inaccessible to potential rescue by a blizzard strikes a note of desolate fear in the gut....especially as the sun is setting on empty miles of strange and unrecognizable terrain, made deadly by subzero temperatures. The subtle seduction by estranged wife Barbara and the frenzied attentions of a gorgeous Hollywood actress stir the libido.

Then, as in all books by this author, there are the issues that try men's souls, sharpened to a razor's edge by input from such unusual characters as multimillionaire bigot Adolf Gruberman, Dr. Kessinger and Rabbi Saul, people who will intrigue as they defy ready analysis. In the end there are choices to be made, choices that offer only dreadful consequences.

Finally from this reader's perspective there are some interesting cameo appearances.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another "Can't Stop Reading" Engelhard Novel June 12, 2013
Jack Engelhard is a master at creating moral dilemmas that makes the reader think long after you finish reading the story. In his newest book "Compulsive," you are introduced to the main character Gil Gilels, a man who is seriously addicted to gambling. As the story develops, you learn about the depths of despair people with compulsive habits fall to in order to meet their addictive needs. This is more than a story of good vs. evil because the story shows that addiction is the evil in almost every choice someone makes. No matter how urgent his personal problems become, the addiction overtakes Gilels' psyche even when it is a matter of life and death--including his own. Engelhard shows how compulsive behavior creates compartmentalization and desperation in keeping one step ahead of each loss. The story gives the reader an exclusive insight into the thinking of a gambler's mentality of winning the ultimate jackpot. There are stories interwoven inside stories here that keep the reading crisp and compelling to read until the end. Like the main character, it is easy to become "compulsive" to read more by Jack Engelhard.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compulsive is a Compulsive Read June 10, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Jack Engelhard's novels are all exciting and his new one, Compulsive, is especially hard to put down. The dialogue is so real, you think you are a part of the conversation. As a woman and not a gambler, I wondered if I would like it and I loooved it.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Is Quiet Catharsis Possible in a Brutal World? June 17, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The ending couldn't have been more perfect. What does a Gambler always have somewhere? I had to back pace a few chapters to remember precisely what this gambler had devised and to realize he still had that something. The top of the world bad guys aren't the only ones cagey enough to use vices and wicked schemes against people to keep them in line. But would the hold work?

I was willing to take the gamble with Jack. It was his best shot. His best toss of the dice. Perfect. Never underestimate a master gambler.

That was the feel of the final chapters of COMPULSIVE as they paced shorter and shorter the way shots in a movie decreased and speed-ed to burst the hold of a fever, and in this case to progress from perverted complex sophistication to soothing simple sanity.

All Jack's novels are rhythmic, clean, crisp, and lean. Having read the first few pages of this latest work, I noticed that the rhythm was different from the signatures in his other novels. The others were paced with the ease of having all the time in the world even though they percolate right along, never feeling slow, just comfortably stepping without pause, sometimes with a light briskness, mostly with the confidence of a writer loving the process, tripping pleasantly ahead, taking time to look at both sides of opposing continuums. Jack's writing does this even in the midst of serious tragedy without diluting intensity or caution.

But here the rhythm opens a feverish fast step with a man running both toward and from something. This heated pace could be uncomfortable but it isn't. It works. It's right for this book.

Once when I read one of Scott Turrow's legal thrillers it was so fast paced I felt like I was having a heart attack and didn't enjoy reading in that mode.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars The writing is snappy but eventually the reader gets bored with the...
The writing is snappy but eventually the reader gets bored with the flawed protagonist doomed to repeat the same mistakes. Read more
Published 7 days ago by Maypo
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent story, excellent story writer
excellent story,excellent story writer.
Published 7 days ago by Irving Gellman
5.0 out of 5 stars Great , brisk , literate read
Easy , brisk , literate read . No wasted prose . It seems I know all the players - especially the protagonist , Gil Gilels , who willingly admits to his flawed behavior yet ,... Read more
Published 6 months ago by John O'Donnell
4.0 out of 5 stars I am not a critic
I got about 5 chapters into this book and had to put it away. It was all too real for me. I am an addict in recovery and the pace of this book, the language, the words spoken... Read more
Published 6 months ago by CTuc
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Stuff
Interesting approach as the author takes the reader into the world of anti-semitism through the eyes of a it's hero Gil Gilels, a compulsive gambler. Read more
Published 13 months ago by M. Miranda
5.0 out of 5 stars Jack Engelhard's Compulsive
In his compelling book, Compulsive, Jack Engelhard introduces the reader to the ever unpredictable and ever dangerous world of the addicted gambler. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Linda Stampoulos
4.0 out of 5 stars Gambling: the pain and the charm
A gambler's life seldom has grace, but it can have charm. The gambler in Jack Engelhard's new novel, Compulsive, may be addicted to gambling, but he also has just enough sense to... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Marlin Fitzwater
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More About the Author

Novelist Jack Engelhard wrote the international bestseller "Indecent Proposal" that was translated into more than 22 languages and turned into a Paramount motion picture starring Robert Redford and Demi Moore. His latest novel, "The Girls of Cincinnati," a suspenseful love story, is now available in paperback on Amazon (along with five star reviews). Engelhard's themes have been called "powerfully seductive" by The New York Times and his writing style has been acclaimed as "vivid, cool and muscular" by The Philadelphia Inquirer. Writer/critic Michael Foster has cited Engelhard's writing as embracing "the sparseness of Hemingway but the moral intensity of I.B. Singer." An award-winning memoirist and journalist, Engelhard's internationally syndicated commentaries (blogs) can be found on Amazon, his personal website and elsewhere.

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