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Calling Mr. King: A Novel Audiobook, by Ronald De Feo Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Ronald De Feo Narrator: Ray Porter Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: August 2011 ISBN: 9781481570718
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (116 ratings) (rate this audio book)
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Narrated from the perspective of an American-born contract killer based in London, Calling Mr. King takes us into the mind and life of a man who is growing both increasingly cautious and distracted as he travels from job to job, city to city. Though long considered a first-rate, consistently reliable marksman with a cool, unshakable personality, he appears to be undergoing a severe change of character and focus, taking an interest as never before in the world beyond his targets. He regards such a shift, which is marked by an unexpected passion for buildings and architecture, as an energizing deviation from his deadly routine. But he also begins to realize that it is a dangerously unwise trajectory for a man in his profession.

Set in London, Paris, New York, and Barcelona, this novel is at once a colorful, suspenseful tale of escape laced with dark humor, a story of altered perception and self-education, and a psychological self-portrait of a character who is attempting, against the odds, to become someone else.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Calling Mr. King is an entertaining tale built on what happens when a high-end hit man begins to feel the awakening of an intellectual life. Ronald De Feo invites the reader to play for a while in a seldom-explored part of the borderland between sanity and insanity.”

    Thomas Perry, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Ronald De Feo’s Calling Mr. King is the smartest novel I’ve read in years with a hit man in the leading role. His hit man, a very original, quirky hit man, takes us on an amazing side trip of the world’s capitals, the world’s art and architecture, which makes this knowledgeable hit man irresistible.”

    El País

  • “An engrossing story, persuasively depicting an angry, obsessive man as he comes to a greater awareness of the world around him…De Feo’s master strokes are in creating a remorseless psychopath you’d enjoy spending time with, and in resisting the easy temptation to bring Peter to a moment of emotional deliverance.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Narrator Ray Porter delivers a stellar reading, at times bleak and hopeless while also passionate and resonating. Porter’s King is a lonely man, tiring of his bloody past yet seemingly emotionless until he finds a beautiful piece of art that awakens his passion. Porter’s delivery is well paced. He creates a sympathetic character out of an otherwise evil man—a true feat in any form of performance. Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award.”


  • “De Feo is definitely a newcomer to watch.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award

Listener Reviews

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  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jake | 2/15/2014

    " Took me awhile to get through this one. The author is a magazine writer and cannot help but turning what could be a decent short story for a magazine into a dry novel. It's only 291 pages but, wow, do you feel it. De Feo tries (unsuccessfully) to combine the supposedly fun idea of a hitman having second thoughts with him taking a keen interest in architecture. If you've ever been interested in a hitman-having-second-thoughts-who-suddenly-develops-a-keen-interest-in-architecture read then this is the book for you. Despite my decided lack of interest in architecture, I felt that this could have been a solid read but the author provides little introspection and jumps around from point to point too often, leaving the reader unsatisfied. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Matthew | 2/13/2014

    " A dark humourous midlife crisis story. A well written look at a man's descent from professional hitman to who he thinks he could be, if only they would leave him in peace. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Crystal | 1/29/2014

    " I'm actually surprised that I finished the entire book. I think the storyline could've been a good one but with all the boring details of his travels, the Georgian house he wanted, cities, rambling thoughts, and day-to-day dull activities, it just made the book uninteresting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alisa | 1/9/2014

    " This book is very much an odd duck. A very slow, very thoughtful examination of an assassin's inward life as he unexpectedly discovers art. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Matt | 1/9/2014

    " Absolutly boring, probably the worst book I have ever come into contact with. I understand that an assassin can crack up after having to endure the psychological trauma of killing people. However, I do not think an author could have developed a more boring way for an assassin to catalyze his own demise. I have never once given up on a book once I start reading it, this almost became the exception. Read your local phone book for more entertainment, if I could give this book a lower rating I would. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jennifer | 11/18/2013

    " "I highly recommend Calling Mr. King to suspense fans..." my full review may be read on my book review blog Rundpinne. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mecala | 9/8/2013

    " Calling Mr. King is about a professional hit man who started drifting from his profession and started enjoying art, music, and architecture. He is called to do "jobs" and lately is getting caught up in life and starts losing his focus. It has an ironic beginning and end that ties them both together. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Robert | 9/7/2013

    " Either this book is dumber than it thinks it is or I am. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tony | 8/5/2013

    " A pleasant, leisurely, potboiler about a sympathetic hit man. His growing appreciation of architecture and art is handled very credibly. That junior high lit question about how did the main character change is completely explicit and in the character's own words "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Amanda | 2/21/2013

    " Loved the description of architecture. Had to get past the part about Mr. King being a hit man! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Heather | 1/8/2013

    " I was skeptical of an assasin as protaganist, but I really started to feel for the guy & his issues with identity & purpose. Telling this story from the point of view of a burnt-out assasin exaggerates this common struggle in a fun, slightly absurd, but oddly relateable way. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Katharine | 10/1/2012

    " First 30 pages great. Last page great. The middle becomes unfocused and rambling. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Audrey | 4/26/2012

    " Won this and it was so full of cussing and wandering thoughts by the main character that I felt like he was insane and I was quickly following! I appreciate you picking me to win the book but this book was not my cup of tea at all. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sherrie | 11/26/2011

    " Unusual style of writing and insight into how a quirky character might think. An assassin taking stock of his career and existence. Shows the circle of life and destiny. Lots of detailed and descriptive travel locations. Great use of understated British humor. Well Done!! "

About the Author

Ronald De Feo’s short fiction has been published widely in national magazines, including the Hudson Review, Massachusetts Review, and North American Review. He has also written numerous reviews for the New York Times Book Review, as well as the Nation, New Republic, National Review, and Hudson Review. He worked for nine years as senior editor at ArtNews Magazine, one of the world’s leading art periodicals, and for the past nine years he’s been on the advisory board of Review, devoted to Latin American and Canadian literature and the arts. He lives in Manhattan.

About the Narrator

Ray Porter has garnered two Audie nominations as well as several Earphones Awards and enthusiastic reviews for his sparkling narration of audiobooks. A fifteen-year veteran of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, he has also appeared in numerous films and television shows.