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Extended Audio Sample A Death in Belmont Audiobook, by Sebastian Junger Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (2,202 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Sebastian Junger Narrator: Kevin Conway Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2006 ISBN: 9780061135019
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In 1963, with the city of Boston already terrified by a series of savage crimes known as the Boston Stranglings, a murder occurred in the quiet suburb of Belmont, just a few blocks from the house of Sebastian Junger's family -- a murder that seemed to fit exactly the pattern of the Strangler. Roy Smith, a black man who had cleaned the victim's house that day, was arrested, tried, and convicted, but the terror of the Strangler continued.

Two years later, Albert DeSalvo, a handyman who had been working at the Jungers' home on the day of the Belmont murder, and had often spent time there alone with Sebastian and his mother, confessed in lurid detail to being the Boston Strangler.

This is the point of entry to Junger's first book-length project since The Perfect Storm: a narrowly averted tragedy for Junger's family opens out into an electrifying exploration of race and justice in America. By turns exciting and subtle, the narrative chronicles three lives that collide -- and are ultimately destroyed -- in the vortex of one of the first and most controversial serial murder cases in America. The power of the story and the brilliance of Junger's reporting place this book on the short shelf of classics beside In Cold Blood and Helter Skelter.

Read by Kevin Conway

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Junger adeptly pulls together the various elements of this complex narrative.”

    Washington Post

  • A Death in Belmont, though nonfiction, reads like a novel. Its narrative line is crips…Read in this manner, it is a worthy sequel to The Perfect Storm.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “The perfect story…It’s difficult to communicate, to those who have only read about it, the atmosphere of fear that gripped Boston during the rampage of the Boston Strangler.”

    Boston Globe

  • “In DeSalvo’s dark world, Junger’s clear, beautifully reasonable writing is the literary equivalent of night-vision goggles…He’s navigating a maze of shadows, and you can see all the more clearly what an enormously skillful prose artist he is…Junger entrances the reader by picking out small details that give the events he’s describing an enthralling vividness and resonance and clarity.”

    Time

  • “[Junger] pieces together a remarkable and disturbing tale about crime and justice in America. You get the sense that this story has been incubating for a long time, and Junger’s painstakingly researched and carefully reported book, with its clear, straightforward prose, has the dramatic power of a great novel…Junger has produced a terrific and provocative book that addresses such subjects as race, crime, our notions of justice, and the mysteries of criminal pathology without ever losing its narrative drive. It would be difficult, in fact, to find a recent American novel that says as much about so many of the important issues of our time, and says it so compellingly.”

    Minneapolis Star-Tribune

  • “[I] couldn’t put it down for four hours…and then did so only because [my] flight had landed.”

    Newsweek

  • “[Junger’s] a hell of a storyteller.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “Junger has done a remarkable job recreating the story of the damaged little boy who became a serial killer, and those whose lives he changed…Reading Junger, one cannot help being reminded of Truman Capote’s brilliant reconstruction of another brutal slaying, In Cold Blood, and noting that he stands the test of comparison.”

    Daily Mail (London)

  • “As Junger showed in his bestselling The Perfect Storm, he’s a hell of a storyteller…This perplexing story gains an extra degree of creepiness from Junger’s personal connection to it.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Bestselling author Junger gives us a fresh look at the Boston Strangler crime story by examining his own family lore…Well-documented…Leaves us wanting more.”

    Library Journal

  • “A meticulously researched evocation of a time of terror, wrapped around a chilling, personal footnote.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “An intriguing crime story that also contains painful truths about race and justice in America.”

    Booklist

  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A 2007 Edgar Allan Poe Award Nominee for Best Fact Crime

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tracy | 2/20/2014

    " Very good book with ties to Belmont. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Emily | 2/7/2014

    " Great book! In the style of In Cold Blood and Devil in the White City and about The Boston Strangler of the 1960s. Fascinating, well-researched, and well-written. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kristen Iworsky | 2/6/2014

    " Not really my cup of tea. The last thing I want to read before bed is descriptions of murders. However, it was well written. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sarah | 1/23/2014

    " I've never liked True Crime very much and didn't really enjoy reading this book. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Tom Anderson | 1/15/2014

    " This book isn't very good. The close encounter with a serial killer was interesting but I found all the court and trial coverage boring. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jody | 1/7/2014

    " It's interesting this book is based on a story the author had heard, and assumed to be true, from a young age. He discovers for himself that truths may not always be true. Or at least considering the bigger picture and other alternatives warrant merit. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Suzy | 12/15/2013

    " The story of the incorrect accusation of one man for the Boston Strangler murders while the real Strangler walked free. What a contrast in police / courtroom policies between then and now. Particularly relevant for us Boston-area dwellers. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Betsy | 12/14/2013

    " Not what I expected this to be.. but was good. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sean Gillen | 12/1/2013

    " Another great Junger book. Very interesting because of the subject matter and his possible personal connection. A bit ambiguous, as some of the facts were undetermined. Well written. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dolly | 11/21/2013

    " I listened to this one to and from work. Great book! I'm getting one on the Boston Strangler next. This book sure makes you wonder what really happened with this death and the other "Strangler" ones. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jenny | 2/20/2013

    " A true story about a grisly crime in the hometown of Sebastian Junger. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Johanna | 12/6/2012

    " Started out pretty intriguing, but I got a little bored with the book whereas I was completely riveted by a Perfect Storm. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Myke Reiser | 5/15/2012

    " This book raises more questions than it answers and doesn't wrap up very well. It's got some great bits though and sharp writing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nathan Hobby | 5/10/2012

    " I found it a page turner. Junger's personal involvement with the Boston Strangler story adds an interesting dimension to an unusually well written true crime narrative. He tends to take tangents which are often interesting but sometimes overly didatic. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kendra | 4/25/2012

    " you never know who's in your hood. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alicia | 4/22/2012

    " Fascinating! Junger (of Perfect Storm fame) has thoroughly researched the Boston Strangler. It's very personal and bone-chilling--the Strangler actually worked as a contractor in his childhood home for a time. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Julia | 4/17/2012

    " Junger can tell a tale. This is a true crime story in which, surprisingly, Junger himself played a small part when he was a boy. Parts are gorey, but I couldn't put it down. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dee | 3/2/2012

    " I thought it was well written and tried to present many possibilities. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Bethany | 5/29/2011

    " This book was really...odd. It felt messy and slapped together. I think Junger had this seemingly great idea and didn't really know how to execute it. Disappointing. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jeanne | 5/9/2011

    " Who did kill Bessie Goldberg??? Was Al DeSalvo really the Boston Strangler??? An intriguing, hard to put down, read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mat | 3/25/2011

    " Interesting mix of the author's life, a murder that took place near his childhood home, injustice in the justice system and the Boston Strangler. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rachel | 2/18/2011

    " Junger is one of our finest thinkers. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Bethany | 2/16/2011

    " This book was really...odd. It felt messy and slapped together. I think Junger had this seemingly great idea and didn't really know how to execute it. Disappointing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Molly | 1/26/2011

    " fascinating read! so much better than I was even expecting. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Chatty | 1/17/2011

    " It started out fast but then got caught up in too much minutia. I read 2/3 then skimmed toward the end. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sonya | 1/15/2011

    " More about the trial of a likely innocent man. Very full of the authors opinions. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Christine | 1/13/2011

    " Interesting, but does not deserve any kind of comparison to In Cold Blood (which was so good I had nightmares for months). I only read this because I live in Belmont, where the murder took place. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Scott | 1/7/2011

    " An addictive and engrossing true story of the Boston Strangler. Couldn't put it down after the first page! Sebastian Junger is a master storyteller! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 John | 1/5/2011

    " pretty good book that i liked more than most since i live in belmont. without knowing anything of the conclusion in real life, it does leave an open feeling after reading. still entertaining, though. "

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About the Author
Author Sebastian Junger

Sebastian Junger is the New York Times bestselling author of War, The Perfect Storm, and A Death in Belmont. Together with Tim Hetherington, he directed the documentary Restrepo, which won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance. He is a contributing editor to Vanity Fair and has been awarded a National Magazine Award and an SAIS Novartis Prize for journalism. He lives in New York City.

About the Narrator

Kevin Conway has starred on stage in The Elephant Man and Other People's Money and in such films as Gettysburg, The Confession, and Ramblin' Rose.