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A Brief History of Seven Killings Audiobook, by Marlon James Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Marlon James Narrator: Cherise Boothe, Johnathan McClain, Robertson Dean, Ryan Anderson, Dwight Bacquie, Robert Younis, various narrators Publisher: Highbridge Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2014 ISBN: 9781622315383
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In A Brief History of Seven Killings, Marlon James combines masterful storytelling with his unrivaled skill at characterization and his meticulous eye for detail to forge a novel of dazzling ambition and scope.

On December 3, 1976, just before the Jamaican general election and two days before Bob Marley was to play the Smile Jamaica Concert to ease political tensions in Kingston, seven unnamed gunmen stormed the singer’s house, machine guns blazing. The attack wounded Marley, his wife, and his manager, and injured several others. Little was officially released about the gunmen, but rumors abounded regarding the assassins’ fates. A Brief History of Seven Killings is James’s fictional exploration of that dangerous and unstable time in Jamaica’s history and beyond.

Deftly spanning decades and continents and peopled with a wide range of characters—assassins, drug dealers, journalists, and even ghosts—James brings to life the people who walked the streets of 1970s Kingston, who dominated the crack houses of 1980s New York, and who reemerged into a radically altered Jamaica of the 1990s. Brilliantly inventive, A Brief History of Seven Killings is an “exhilarating” (The New York Times) epic that’s been called “a tour de force” (The Wall Street Journal).

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Quotes & Awards

  • A Brief History of Seven Killings is my favorite audiobook…A really good audiobook and largely because they got a really good cast to represent his writing…because I both read the book and listened to the audiobook.”

    Tommy Orange, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Nothing short of awe-inspiring.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “An excellent new work of historical fiction…part crime thriller, part oral history, part stream-of-consciousness monologue.”

    Rolling Stone

  • “[A] tour de force…[an] audacious, demanding, inventive literary work.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “A prismatic story of gang violence and Cold War politics in a turbulent post-independence Jamaica.”

    New Yorker

  • “It’s epic in every sense of that word: sweeping, mythic, over-the-top, colossal, and dizzyingly complex. It’s also raw, dense, violent, scalding, darkly comic, exhilarating and exhausting.”

    New York Times

  • “Seven killings? That’s just for starters. This compelling, not-so-brief history brings off a social portrait worthy of Diego Rivera…James proves especially adept at criminal power dynamics…What most distinguishes A Brief History of Seven Killings isn’t the outrages but the odyssey.”

    Washington Post

  • “[A] magisterial, viscerally lyric epic…[of] turf wars, ambitions, passions, whims, and blood lust that drove the culture of violence before and after 1976.”


  • “One of the best books I’ve read all year…The characters are real, they are engaging, and James uses them to look at all sides of the story.”

  • “I read James’ brilliant epic novel about crime, music and politics in 1970s Jamaica by going back and forth between the printed book and this multinarrator recording. All the performances are electrifying, although Cherise Boothe as a perpetually disgusted would-be emigrant is glorious and fiery and funny. Hearing the Caribbean lilt of the Jamaican characters’ voices deepens the novel’s flavor. Having the pages to refer to makes it easier to revisit passages whose finer points you might miss as you’re swept along in magnificent tide of James’ vision.”

    Salon (audio review)

  • “A virtuosic performance detailing three turbulent decades in Jamaican history…The voices of government agents, gang members, ex-girlfriends, and ghosts all contribute, and the result is shocking, cerebral, and exhilarating.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “James…writes unflinchingly about the violence, drug-fueled and coldblooded, that runs through the island’s ghettos.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “The seven narrators of this Man Booker Prize-winning novel set the stage for a complicated, lengthy narrative…believably narrated with American and Jamaican accents. Most of the narrators’ patois is thick, raw, and rich with texture. One narrator portrays an American who imitates a Caribbean accent, which adds a humorously painful aspect to the story. Yet the undercurrent of unrest in the characters’ personal lives is palpable in the performances. Overall, the ensemble of voices enhances an uncomfortable venture into a dangerous world.”


  • A Library Journal Best Book of 2014
  • A Washington Post Top 10 Book of 2014
  • An Amazon Top 100 Book of 2014
  • A New York Times Editor’s Choice
  • A BookPage Best Book of 2014
  • A New York Times Notable Book of 2014
  • A Salon Best Audiobook of the Year for 2014
  • Longlisted for the 2015 PEN Literary Award
  • Winner of the Anisfield-Wolf Book Prize
  • Winner of the 2015 Man Booker Prize
  • Winner of the 2015 American Book Award

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About the Author

Marlon James was born in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1970. His first novel, John Crow’s Devil, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the Commonwealth Prize. His second novel, The Book of Night Women, a New York Times Editor’s Choice, was released to widespread critical acclaim. His short fiction has appeared in the anthologies Iron Balloons, Bronx Noir, and Silent Voices, and his nonfiction in the Caribbean Review of Books. He is a professor of literature and creative writing at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota.

About the Narrators

Cherise Boothe, an Earphones Award–winning narrator, has worked extensively in theater, film, television, and narration. She has appeared in numerous regional plays, as well as in television shows such as The Good Wife, Law & Order: SVU, and Gossip Girl. She holds an MFA in acting from New York University. She was a finalist in 2015 for the prestigious Audie Award for best multivoiced narration.

Johnathan McClain is an American actor, voice-over talent, and Earphones Award–winning narrator. He pursued stage acting in New York for a number of years and has appeared in many television series, including Law & Order: SVU, Medium, Scoundrels, and CSI: Miami. He also has several narration credits, including Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series and Jeremy Logan novels by Lincoln Child.

Anne Flosnik, a seasoned audiobook narrator, has over four hundred titles to her credit and several awards and distinctions, including AudioFile Earphones Awards, a USA Today Recommended Listening selection, an AudioFile “Best Narration of the Year” selection in 2009, and the American Library Association’s Special Services to Children Award. She has also been a finalist for the prestigious Audie Award for best narration. She is an award-winning British actress with lead credits on stage, on television, and in commercials and voice-overs.

Adam Verner is a stage, film, television, and voice actor and an Earphones Award–winning audiobook narrator. He holds a BS in theater arts from Bradley University and an MFA from Chicago College of the Performing Arts at Roosevelt University.

Denis O’Hare is one of today’s busiest actors in the film, television, and stage worlds. The Tony Award–winning actor is best known to television viewers for his recent work on True Blood as Russell Edgington, Vampire King of Mississippi.