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Safer: A Novel of Suspense Audio CD – Audiobook, CD, Unabridged

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Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio; Unabridged edition (February 24, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1423377443
  • ISBN-13: 978-1423377443
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 7.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,695,334 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this unsettling thriller from Barry Award–winner Doolittle (The Cleanup), Boston transplants Paul Callaway and his wife, Sara, scare off a violent intruder their first night in their new home in Clark Falls, Iowa, where Paul has taken up a post as an English professor at the local university. As a result of this incident, the Callaways meet members of their tight-knit community, including ex-cop Roger Mallory, the neighborhood's unofficial protector. Though Paul is initially welcomed into Roger's circle of friends, Paul becomes suspicious when he discovers Roger is conducting secret surveillance of the neighborhood. Tensions mount between the two men, coming to a head after Paul is arrested for child pornography, a charge he's sure Roger helped concoct. Desperate to clear his name, Paul begins his own investigation into Roger's past. Despite Doolittle's admirably complex plot and empathetic hero, readers may question just how many skeletons a single small town can have in its closets. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

Married professors Paul and Sara Callaway move from Boston to a small city in western Iowa so that Sara can accept a dean’s position. On their first night in their beautiful home on a leafy cul de sac, Paul returns from an errand to find Sara being assaulted by a stranger, thus beginning the Callaways’ nightmare on Sycamore Court. By semester’s end, Paul is jailed for “sexual exploitation” of a 13-year-old girl, and he knows that his neighbor, Roger Mallory, a retired police officer and community pillar, is determined to destroy his and Sara’s lives. Safer has everything it needs to achieve commercial success, complete with movie option. The plot is slick and inventive. The author is skilled at ratcheting up readers’ foreboding, sympathy, and fear, creating the deep need to see how things turn out. The primary characters—Paul, Sara, Roger, Paul’s attorney, and an ambitious TV journalist—are vividly rendered, and lesser characters are well sketched with a sentence or two. And looming over everything is the specter of the Heartland’s dark side. --Thomas Gaughan --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

More About the Author

Sean Doolittle is the critically-acclaimed author of several crime and suspense novels. His first book, Dirt, was named one of the 100 Best Books of 2001 by the editors of His second book, Burn, won the Gold Medal in the Mystery category of ForeWord Magazine's 2003 Book of the Year Award. The Cleanup received the 2007 Barry Award, the Crimespree Magazine reader's choice award, a Spinetingler Award, and a Nebraska Book Award. Doolittle's books have been licensed for translation in several languages and praised by such contemporaries as Dennis Lehane, Michael Connelly, Laura Lippman, George Pelecanos, Harlan Coben, and Lee Child. His short fiction has appeared in The Year's Best Horror Stories, The Best American Mystery Stories, and elsewhere. He lives in western Iowa with his family.

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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See all 74 customer reviews
The only complaint I have about the book was the ending.
I am looking forward to reading more from Mr. Doolittle in the future and I highly recommend you give this book a read.
William Hardin
Sean Doolittle's psychological thriller Safer is a masterpiece of suspense.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By TMStyles VINE VOICE on December 24, 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I usually avoid plots where the protagonist is framed or caught in a web not of his/her making. Perhaps because the truth is known from the beginning and the reader must persevere through the unraveling of the story and the sinister plot that is afoot. Perhaps it is because this concept may be the most frightening possibilty each of us might one day face.

That being said, "Safer" is one great read. After recently discovering Sean Doolittle with "The Cleanup", I was ready to plunge into this new novel. It immediately captured my interest to the point that I sometimes didn't want to put it down until I finshed it. It is stylish, well-written, tightly plotted, and flows easily although it will soon have you gripped in suspense.

Paul and Sara Callaway move to a quiet cul-de-sac in a midwestern small town and begin new jobs. At first life is good and idyllic as they meet and develop relationships with their new neighbors and prominently, Roger Mallory..a retired police officer and sort of self-appointed caretaker of the local community, including the Neighborhood Watch.

Almost before he knows it, Paul is in a horrible neighborhood battle with Roger that will have far reaching consequences. As Paul ultimately finds himself accused of a heinous crime and begins to feel the walls closing in around him, he finds his options to escape the sticky web that has ensnared him to be few and dependent perhaps on a questionable attorney and his own will to fight back. It is this fight to prove his innocence against overwhelming odds that keeps the reader gripped in suspense.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By PT Cruiser TOP 50 REVIEWER on February 2, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
When Paul Callaway and his wife, Sara move from Boston to the small suburban cul-de-sac neighborhood in Iowa, they have no idea what's in store for them. This seemingly friendly neighborhood with it's Safer Places Organization that turns out to be the neighborhood watch from hell, isn't at all what they bargained for. Roger Mallory, a former police officer may have seemed like a nice friendly neighbor, but Paul and Sara begin to have suspicions as soon as the story starts to unfold.

This books grabs you right from the first pages with Paul being arrested at a cocktail party in his own home, to flash backs telling what led up to this night. It's an exciting read with lots of plot twists and turns and not a dull moment. It's one of those books that kept me up til 3:00 in the morning because I just couldn't put it down until I found out what happened.

Even if you don't usually like crime/suspense novels, this one is different because Sean Doolittle does such a great job writing and the characters are so believable. I plan to read his other books, Dirt and The Cleanup based on reading this one. Two thumbs up!
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Daniel V. Reilly VINE VOICE on February 7, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
SAFER, the new suspense novel from Sean Doolittle, begins simply enough, with Paul Callaway and his wife, Sara, moving from Boston to a quiet Midwestern community. On the first night in their new home, they are the victims of a break-in, which marks the beginning of a paranoid suburban nightmare that strains all suspension of disbelief this reader could muster.

Doolittle uses a shifting timeline to tell the story, alternating between Paul and Sara's early days in the new neighborhood, and the present-day, and the shifts can sometimes be disorienting. In the flashbacks, Paul tells how the break-in caused him to join the local neighborhood watch, part of the massive "Safer Places" organization, run by their neighbor, Roger Mallory. Roger's a retired cop/lunatic control freak, whose son was abducted and killed a decade ago, and he takes the "Watch" part of neighborhood watch VERY seriously. Before long, Paul has run afoul of Roger, and been arrested for crimes allegedly committed against his thirteen-year-old neighbor.

The first half of the book is a tightly-wound little thriller, but by the last fifty pages, my credibility had been strained beyond the breaking point, until SAFER had become an almost INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS-esque exercise in paranoia, where everyone you encounter is a part of the plot against you. The final fate of Paul Callaway ultimately flew in the face of all that had gone before, and no matter how good a book is, if it falls apart at the end, it's got to be considered a failure.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on December 28, 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Not sure if this is the same guy who wrote horror novels in the late '80's or early '90's but...
SAFER is a nearly perfect crime novel.
Has all the necessary traits:
Great plot with twists galore...
characters that are real, believable and act consistent throughout the novel...
a climax that is a bit out of left-field but otherwise satisfying...
and just great dialogue.
A realy brilliant and complete novel...highly recommended.
Now I am off to order all of his other books.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Clarice on February 3, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This was my first Sean Doolittle book, but it won't be my last.

I have to say, I was quite impressed with this book. The author hooked me from the first page, and the sense of menace tightened like the manacles on Paul Callaway's wrists as the pages very rapidly turned. Scanning some of the other reviews here, I see some complaints about the book's structure - its nonlinearity, especially. I actually loved that. I tend to be intrigued by non-standard narratives in the first place; but I found Doolittle particularly adept at using his narrative structure to build suspense, keep the reader guessing, and maintain a breakneck pace.

Another thing I found most interesting: It's not particularly easy to like the narrator, Paul Callaway. He's a little bitchy, a little bitter, a little self-centered. Yet it's his personality (especially his unwillingness to be manipulated) that propels much of the narrative, so this is a case of character and plot intersecting in a natural and believable way.

My only quibble is that Paul is so smart, and has done such good detective work of his own, that I was hoping to see him tighten the reins around his sicko neighbor in a quieter, more relentless fashion, backing him into a corner and then bringing the law down on him. For me, that's where the book lost what had made it special up until the last 50 pages or so...It moves from a psychological thriller into a more typical shoot-em-up-and-kill-em thriller, almost as if a Hollywood producer had come in and said "More action at the end, please."

Still, I recommend the book quite highly. I read so many books that purport to be "thrillers" that aren't thrilling at all (that are, in fact, a bit insulting to the intelligence, or move too slowly, or have characters engaging in unbelievable actions). None of that's the case here. SAFER is a thriller that thrills. I couldn't put it down and polished it off in two nights.
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