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Kaleidoscope [Kindle Edition]

Darryl Wimberley
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $14.95
Kindle Price: $3.99
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Book Description

Jack Romaine's addiction to speakeasies and cards has landed him in a tight spot-one which he can't use his good looks to get out of. With debts to dangerous men piling up, he becomes an unwilling recruit for a Cincinnati gangster needing an expendable tool to recover his stolen cash and railroad bonds. Unfortunately, Jack is not the only man on the trail of the stolen money-he is in competition with a sadistic killer who relishes the carnage he leaves in his wake. The trail leads south to Kaleidoscope; a 'beddy' for freaks during the months when carnival is out-of-season.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Hapless, handsome Jack Romaine, a small-time gambler and drinker in 1929 Cincinnati, tracks a mysterious woman who's the key to a hidden fortune in Wimberley's evocative mystery. Hauled before gangster Oliver Bladehorn, Jack is given a simple chore that will cancel his debts: pick up a woman being released from prison who will lead him to the prize in cash and stocks. On a trail rife with cruelty, violence and murder, he finds himself in Tampa, Fla., at Kaleidoscope, a beddy where carnies rest between gigs and a place for people who don't fit in anywhere else. Jack goes to work as a brodie (a gopher) in the hopes of getting a lead, while trying to avoid the brutal Arno Becker, who's after the same fortune. Best known for his Florida-based Bear Raines series (Pepperfish Keys, etc.), Wimberley invests both Jack and the carnie freaks with distinct personalities and common dignity. This vividly captured subculture has its own grotesque charm and beauty.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Darryl Wimberley has authored two critically acclaimed literary works, A Tinker's Damn and The King of Colored Town, along with the Gulf Coast noir series featuring Barrett Raines, Speical Agent for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement: A Rock and a Hard Place, Dead Man's Bay, Strawman's Hammock, and Pepperfish Keys. All are available from The Toby Press. Wimberley has also garnered three feature film credits. The screenplay for Kleidoscope won Grand Prize Winner in a competition sponsered some years ago by Fade In magazineand is presently under option. The author and screenwriter resides with his family in Austin Texas.

Product Details

  • File Size: 573 KB
  • Print Length: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (August 4, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #478,324 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A novel in the league of classic film noir October 15, 2008
Kaleidoscope by Darryl Wimberley is great film noir genre, and as I read it, I kept saying to myself, "This would make a great film script!" And indeed, Kaleidoscope was originally written as an award-winning film script.
The story begins in 1929 Cincinnati and moves to the fictional community of Kaleidoscope, Florida, a winter base for a carnival freak show. Our antihero is one Jack Romaine, a dissipated, slightly alcoholic World War I veteran who is (to use a 1920s expression) on the lam from his gambling debts to the Chicago mob. As might be expected, his troubles keep multiplying until he finds himself forced by the Cincinnati mob into playing the private eye rôle of tracking down missing mob money. His leads bring him to central Florida where he meets up with a truly bizarre crowd of carnival freaks.
It is here that Jack Romaine, a physically normal person, becomes the bizarre standout amongst the community of Siamese twins, fat ladies, dwarfs, alligator men, blue-skinned women, and you-name-its. And yes, such curios of nature as within this close-knit community of freaks did and do exist. Kaleidoscope leaves you with the realization that these freaks after all possess the basic human qualities of love, loyalty, revenge, despair, greed, and altruism as the rest of us. This is the world of the carneys who have their own special dialect and their own unofficial code of ethics.
This book has plenty of good guys and bad guys, only -- as with any decent mystery -- Wimberley keeps us guessing who is on which side right to the end. Guessing, that is, except for one evil character named Arno Becker, a sadist every bit as lacking in conscience as Javier Bardem's chilling portrayal of a psychopath in the recent film No Country for Old Men.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is IT!! February 9, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
Every since Water for Elephants came out I've been trying to remember the name of that really good/BETTER circus story I read - searching for "fat man," "Tiny," etc. with no luck; haha probably because it was a fat lady with an elephant named Ambassador.

And now I found it here!!! I don't remember all the particulars of the book but I can tell you I read it a good 5 or 6 years ago and it stuck with me all this time; no small feat as I read probably 2 books a week's a GREAT story with amazing characters. Hope you all read and enjoy!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Richly Disturbing Mystery April 22, 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Darryl Wimberley is the rare author who can tell just about any story from the point of view of the most-or least- interesting character in the story. (I've heard him perform that very stunt, and it's mesmerizing.) Even if he weren't a friend of very long standing, I would stand in line to buy his novels.
His protagonist in this book is removed in time and place from his earlier novels, but is as flawed and as human as any in modern fiction. Here is a widowed war veteran, wounded in spirit, who is trying to raise his son as best he can in the Midwest in the Roaring 20s, who runs afoul of a local gangster and is forced to solve a mysterious runaway while avoiding a truly monstrous character who would make Cormac McCarthy's Anton Chigurgh tremble. Darryl's talent is to take this era, this place, and enable us to see it through his characters' eyes, feel it through their emotions, and discover its riches through our own emotions. Since this is a mystery, I wish only to tantalize you enough to pick it up and read the first few paragraphs, because I know that you will continue to read with a growing delight and urgency, and each word will continue to weave the web until you can no longer keep your eyes open but must finish one more paragraph, then another. Finally, the last page is turned, and you understand that you have been granted an audience with a master, and you don't want it to ever end.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Kaleidoscope November 7, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Hated the violence, loved the characters. The story was exceptional and I couldn't put the book down until I finished it to the end
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The name fits the story August 9, 2013
By Opti
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I was hooked by the time frame. The story moved well and when it turned to the home for "freaks" my interest peaked. To be introduced to such animated and diverse characters .later in the book was a surprise and added a new dimension to the story. I found it to be a real page turner till the end, full of surprises and with a good ending. Cudos to the author, you will not be disappointed.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Are you kidding me? Someone actually LIKED this "book"? I can't call it a "novel" because there is absolutely not a single novel thing in it. This guy hits every noir trope, but badly and with a sledge hammer. Meeting the rich but shady client in his steamy humid hothouse, only instead of orchids he collects butterflys? Seriously? Chandler and Hammet would beat this guy to a pulp. And the opening preface is so treacly and dredged in heady similes and polysylabic scene-setting that it verges on parody. I'm pretty sure that this was penned as a Creative Writing Adult Night Class project at the local continuation school. Do us all a favor and enroll on Conversational Italian or Film as Literature or ANYTHING but writing.

Can't tell you much about the plot, as I could not get past the first chapter. I always finish any book I am reading, no matter how tedious, but this time? Not just no, but hell no! Would go on, but I have to go and re-read all of the Ed McBain novels just to get the stink out of my head.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Awesome book. Great story line and never boring. Did not expect it to be soo good
Published 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars enjoyable
It was entertaining. Which is exactly what I was looking for when I purchased it for summer reading out on my swing. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Sweetpea
4.0 out of 5 stars A kaleidoscope of characters
A thoroughly enjoyable read. It evokes the era just before the first stock market crash very nicely. Very well written, well defined characters and the story is compelling.
Published 13 months ago by armensha1
5.0 out of 5 stars Kaleidoscope
I enjoyed every qwerky moment of this book! It reads like pulp fiction and being a fan of the classic movie "Freaks" made the story more believable.
Published on February 25, 2013 by sjgranny
4.0 out of 5 stars Water For Elephants - NOT!
Darryl Wimberly has created quite a cast of characters, Some you love and some you love to hate. I was expecting something along the lines of Water For Elephants - I was... Read more
Published on September 6, 2012 by William Stone
3.0 out of 5 stars A little slow for me
I had a hard time getting into this book. I ended up listening to it on my Kindle instead of reading it. Read more
Published on August 24, 2012 by L. Raymond
4.0 out of 5 stars Kaleidoscope
I like this book, it is full of characters with unique personalities and the writer really gives you a full description which makes you not stop reading this book.
Published on June 16, 2012 by dfranco
5.0 out of 5 stars great story
well worth the time to read it. a little sex a little blood and guts, and thankfully not too much swearing. oh and did I mention very few type-os. my only complaint minor as it is. Read more
Published on May 26, 2012 by June Snlpes
4.0 out of 5 stars Kaleidoscope
The author made the characters, many who are circus freaks come alive. The action sequences were also great. I would love to see this book made into a film. Read more
Published on March 13, 2012 by junglejude
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