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Infamous MP3 CD – Bargain Price, April 26, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In 1933, smalltime bank robber George "machine gun" Kelly, at the instigation of his wife, kidnapped Oklahoma oil man Charles Urschel and held him for ransom. Atkins's novel is a fictional look at that crime, which pushed Kelly into national attention and into gangster history. From the very beginning, when Kelly's car runs out of gas as he and his accomplice, during their getaway with Urschel, pressed into the floorboards of their car, the listener knows Kelly isn't exactly a criminal mastermind. Atkins chronicles the ensuing misadventures with expert period detail. Keeping up with him at every turn is veteran narrator Dick Hill, who recounts the story of the bungling kidnapper with a homespun delivery that perfectly captures the feel of Depression-era America. Fact and fiction combine with Hill's enjoyable performance to make for an entertaining and educational listen. A Putnam hardcover (Reviews, Feb. 22).
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

From Booklist

With the 1933 kidnapping of Oklahoma oil baron Charles Urschel, small-time bank robber George Kelly became “Machine Gun” Kelly. Atkins’ latest historical novel based on a real crime (following Devil’s Garden, 2009, about the Fatty Arbuckle scandal) makes it clear that Kelly’s wife, Kathryn, was the driving force behind his ascendance. George is shown to be an affable mug, a feckless dandy more interested in two-toned shoes and 16-cylinder Cadillacs than crime and machine guns, a crook who was dismissed as a lightweight by other gangsters. Kathryn, however, is a force of nature, a preening, determined-not-to-be-poor-again shopaholic, a celebrity-obsessed Lady Macbeth. But it’s Atkins’ prodigious research that makes this novel a compelling road trip through Depression-era America. He vividly portrays the Dust Bowl, foreclosures, the grinding poverty, gnawing hunger, desperation, and the rage at bankers (most of which resonate in today’s America); and he captures the imminent end of the gangsters’ heyday. Like many fine historical crime novels, Infamous offers a window on society, then and now. --Thomas Gaughan --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • MP3 CD
  • Publisher: Tantor Media; Unabridged MP3 - CD edition (April 26, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400165660
  • ASIN: B0085S8SCG
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,644,319 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ace Atkins is the New York Times Bestselling author of seventeen novels, including the forthcoming The Redeemers and Robert B. Parker's Kickback, both out from G.P. Putnam's Sons in 2015.

One of the best crime writers working today, Ace has been nominated for every major award in crime fiction, including the Edgar twice for novels about former U.S. Army Ranger Quinn Colson. A former newspaper reporter and SEC football player, Ace also writes essays and investigative pieces for several national magazines including Outside and Garden & Gun.

He lives in Oxford, Mississippi with his family, where he's friend to many dogs and several bartenders.

Find out more about Ace and his novels on his official website: aceatkins.com, on Facebook Ace Atkins, and on Twitter @aceatkins.















Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Robert Busko VINE VOICE on April 28, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Infamous is my first Ace Atkins novel and I must report that Atkins is a breath of fresh air. Infamous is a tightly woven story based on a real incident and involving real perps and victims. He is another of a growing list of authors that fictionalize historical events to produce marvelous fiction.

Its 1933 and oil magnate Charles Urschel is kidnapped and held for ransom by George Kelly and his wife Kathryn. Background material for Atkins is not hard to find. He relied on an array of period documents, details supplied by family members, and abundant newspaper articles. All Atkins had to do was to put the story together which he does admirably.

In total the adventure lasted an astounding 56 days and resulted in the capture of the now infamous Machine Gun Kelly. What is interesting is that Kelly isn't exactly the hardnosed, heavy trigger finger villain that we've come to believe. In fact, Atkins makes it pretty clear that Kelly's wife Kathryn was the real hard case in the family. It seems likely that without Kathryn's influence Kelly would have been anything but famous or infamous. Kelly was more interested in the clothes he wore or the cars he drove than in making a name for him self. Kathryn was as likely to deal her husband a curve ball to save her own skin as not.

Infamous is Atkins first novel following his last effort Devils Garden. I always comment on characters but characterization is less of an issue with Infamous because Atkins is writing about people who actually lived and breathed. However, I need to say that he does a great job in making both Kelly and Kathryn three dimensional. They seem to spring off the page and take on the robust warmth that is reflective of good authorship.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Bookreporter on June 4, 2010
Format: Hardcover
My 12-year-old daughter came home from school recently with the news that historical fiction is now defined as any book that is set prior to the Vietnam War. This bothers me, primarily because I remember the Vietnam War. For me, history (at least at this point in time) is what happened before, or at least shortly after, I was born. By either standard, however, Ace Atkins has been writing wonderful, addicting and unforgettable historical crime fiction for the past few years. His latest novel, INFAMOUS, is about Machine Gun Kelly, a Depression-era outlaw who became a household name both in spite of and because of his own ineptness.

My knowledge of Kelly prior to reading Atkins's fictionalized account of him in INFAMOUS was from a low-budget 1958 film directed by Roger Corman and starring Charles Bronson. One of James Taylor's best and most underappreciated songs was titled after and about Kelly, who was one of the first of the FBI's notorious Public Enemies. Yet, as Atkins demonstrates, Kelly's ineptness in both his professional and personal life was almost comedic.

Professionally, Kelly (born George Barnes) and his partner in crime had a knack for successfully robbing small banks for little payoff. It was Kelly's one chance at the "big time" --- the kidnapping of Oklahoma oilman Charlie Urschel --- that captured the public's imagination and led to Kelly's downfall. As far as his personal life was concerned, Kelly's wife, Kathryn, was a fireball of a woman who cuckolded him every chance she had, hedging her bets and often playing her husband off against law enforcement so that she could move in whichever way the wind was blowing.

The man in charge of the kidnapping investigation --- and the pursuit of Kelly --- was FBI Special Agent Gus T.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A. Martin on June 24, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have read virtually everything the author has written. The last two books have represented in my opinion a falling off of the quality of the books. I lost interest in this book and stopped reading after the first 100 or so pages. I just couldn't bring myself to care about the characters and could not focus my attention enough to follow the historical context and the plot.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Vince Keenan on June 25, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Ex-bootlegger and small-time bank robber George Kelly never wanted to be known as `Machine Gun' Kelly. In 1933, largely at the urging of his wife Kathryn, he kidnapped Oklahoma oilman Charles Urschel for what was then the largest ransom in U.S. history. Infamous recounts the crime and its aftermath as the Kellys go on the lam, pursued by federal agents led by former Texas Ranger Gus T. Jones and some of George's old running buddies eager for a cut of the score.

Atkins effortlessly evokes the exhausted spirit of the Depression with telling details. Too often when I read historical fiction I'm reminded of a scene in The Simpsons sending up Alec Baldwin's speech in Glengarry Glen Ross, when a self-help guru boasts, "You see this watch? It's jammed with so many jewels the hands can't move." Authors are so determined to pack in as much of their research as possible that the story never takes off.

Not Atkins. He sets the scene beautifully, then steps back and gives his rich cast of characters run of the joint. Jones, trying to blend his old school approach to law enforcement with J. Edgar Hoover's new methods. Kelly, a basically good-natured big ape beleaguered by his reputation. And above all Kathryn, the movie-besotted Lady Macbeth desperate to escape her hardscrabble upbringing. ("You could be anyone in a movie house and dream as big as you wanted without feeling like a sap.") Other famous faces pop up en route, including one that's a lovely nod to Atkins' debut Crossroad Blues.

Late in the action a character asks, "What's the matter with some company in this coldhearted world?" You'll find no better no company than Infamous, the best novel I've read so far this year.
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