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Extended Audio Sample Garden of Beasts: A Novel of Berlin 1936 Audiobook, by Jeffery Deaver Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (2,299 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jeffery Deaver Narrator: Jefferson Mays Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: July 2004 ISBN: 9780743551700
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In the most ingenious and provocative thriller yet from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Jeffery Deaver, a conscience-plagued mobster turned government hit man struggles to find his moral compass amid rampant treachery and betrayal in 1936 Berlin.

Paul Schumann, a German American living in New York City in 1936, is a mobster hit man known as much for his brilliant tactics as for taking only “righteous” assignments. But then Paul gets caught, and the arresting officer offers him a stark choice: prison or covert government service. Paul is asked to pose as a journalist covering the summer Olympics taking place in Berlin. He’s to hunt down and kill Reinhard Ernst—the ruthless architect of Hitler’s clandestine rearmament. If successful, Paul will be pardoned and given the financial means to go legit; if he refuses the job, his fate will be Sing Sing and the electric chair.

Paul travels to Germany, takes a room in a boardinghouse near the Tiergarten—the huge park in central Berlin but also, literally, the “Garden of Beasts”—and begins his hunt. In classic Deaver fashion, the next forty-eight hours are a feverish cat-and-mouse chase, as Paul stalks Ernst through Berlin while a dogged Berlin police officer and the entire Third Reich apparatus search frantically for the American.

Garden of Beasts is packed with fascinating period detail and features a cast of perfectly realized locals, Olympic athletes, and senior Nazi officials—some real, some fictional. With hairpin plot twists, the reigning “master of ticking-bomb suspense” (People) plumbs the nerve-jangling paranoia of prewar Berlin and steers the story to a breathtaking and wholly unpredictable ending.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “The best psychological thriller writer around.”

    Times (London)

  • “Slick, breathless stuff from a master of suspense in full flight.”

    Guardian (UK)

  • “Teeth-chattering suspense.”

    Daily Mail (UK)

  • “Stunning.”

    Scotsman

  • “Deaver’s novel, equal parts noir thriller and historical extrapolation, is a page-turner that offers a twisting visceral experience of the tension in Berlin during that fateful summer. He draws sympathetic portraits of everyday Germans caught between duty to country and their consciences. Into this mix, Deaver drops his coldly dangerous hitman who brawls with brownshirts, chums with Olympic athletes, collaborates with criminals, fraternizes with poets, and discovers the hero inside his hardened soul.”

    Amazon.com, editorial review

  • “Deaver fans expect the unexpected from this prodigiously talented thriller writer…this time offering a deliciously twisty tale set in Nazi Berlin…bringing to frightening life the Berlin of 1936, a city on the brink of madness. Top Nazis, including Hitler, Himmler and Göring, make colorful cameos, but it’s the smart, shaded-gray characterizations of the principals that anchor the exciting plot. An affecting love affair between Paul and his German landlady goes in surprising directions, as do the main plot lines, which move outside Berlin as heroes become villains and vice versa. This is prime Deaver, which means prime entertainment.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Filling the tale with historical facts skillfully woven into the fiction, Deaver deftly places the characters into the chaos of 1936. American slang, German-language translations, food, and clothing are among the details used to create the setting. Individual characters clearly serve as examples of typical people caught up in the confusion and fear felt by the general population as they witness the rise of Hitler. Fans of action, adventure, or history will enjoy this fast-paced, tightly plotted story.”

    School Library Journal

  • “Although not known for historical fiction, Deaver takes the new genre in stride, subtly and plausibly working real people into the tale while delivering his signature sense of story, depth of characterization, and sharply rendered dialogue. Readers looking for the author’s usual startling plot twists will not be disappointed, either. Deaver’s audience will be pleased with this one, but it will be an equally big hit with fans of such Nazi-era thrillers as Philip Kerr’s Berlin Noir trilogy or Robert Harris’ Fatherland.”

    Booklist

  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • Winner of the 2004 CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Frank Hughes | 2/13/2014

    " Nice fictional companion to "In the Garden of the Beasts" by Erik Larson, both books complement each other and provide the reader with a better understanding of what life was like in Nazi Germany before World War II. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lindsay | 2/4/2014

    " AMAZING BOOK! Takes place in Berlin, Nazi/olympic intrigue. Highly reccommend it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brian Sison | 2/2/2014

    " Another excellent suspense novel from Deaver. Set in nascent Nazi Germany, this is part Historical fiction, bigger part espionage intrigue. Deaver shows his range in this stark departure from his popular Linlcon Rhyme stories. The story keeps a pretty fast pace while weaving through the everyday life of 1936 Germany, the beginnings of a love interest with a grieving woman, and the politics and bureaucracy of the many departments of the German police/military. As usual for Deaver, this story is filled with enough twists and turns to keep the pages turning. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Duraimurugan | 2/2/2014

    " Admittedly a great read on historical fiction but still lacks Deavers thrills.But it has its fair share of turns and twists and this book will make you guess all along the read.But somethings are absurd like American Olympic Gold medalist Jesse ownes being ridiculed on some scenes with the protagonist.But one thing if I have to tell you better read it to fail your guessing. You cannot predict even a single thing or a twist in this plot.I would like Paul Schumann more if he was portrayed as a more blood thirsty more crook minded and especially more villainous assassin.You cannot simply denounce someone for small mistakes especially when it comes to fiction so I gave 4stars better read this thing then you post your comment. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 John Forsythe | 1/25/2014

    " He sets up a character you want to relate to, but in the end you don't really want to anymore. A little slow with an unsatisfying ending. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laurel | 1/18/2014

    " This book taught me a great deal about the Germany of 1936 as well as told a great story with characters that are vivid and well developed. I enjoyed the narration by Jefferson Mays and have listened to this book several times. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Joseph Donovan | 1/17/2014

    " Good book about an intelligence agent in Berlin 1936 - the hero is especially interesting, good picture of Berlin at this time. Better than average thriller "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Adam Stasiak | 1/16/2014

    " I'll get the negative out of the way first. At some times the book seemed a little bit long winded. But other than that, what a great read. There was great suspense on every other page. I thought Jeffery Deaver did a great job of researching the subject of the book, and the interaction of his fictional and non-fictional characters was excellent. I really enjoyed the characters he created. They had great personality and were very believable. If you like suspense, action and edge of your seat reading, I would definately recommend this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Linda | 1/16/2014

    " Denver always pleases. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Joe Noir | 1/1/2014

    " Just okay. I didn't think this was anything special, but what do I know? It won the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger award in 2004. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gigi | 12/8/2013

    " Great premise and pacing. Lots of fast paced action. Unexpected ending. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Richard | 11/26/2013

    " It's a perfect beach read, but nothing more. It is a page-turner like most well-written crime stories, but nothing more. I think the setting is pretty accurate, and you can easily image being in Berlin 36 at the time of the games. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Aliesha Fullerman | 10/16/2013

    " This book was awesome. I didn't know anything about it except that it was a "staff pick" at my local library. But, I LOVED IT. So suspenseful, great historical fiction. It was great. Actually listened to the audio book which I thought was wonderfully done - the reader was great. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Anders | 10/16/2013

    " Ok, so I actually listened to this one, well, actually, i've listened to it in entirety, probably 5 times. If you get a chance to listen to it, it feels very close to that time, and very exciting. It's one of my favorites! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tina | 10/11/2013

    " An absorbing, quick page turner, like every other book by Deaver. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lori | 5/26/2013

    " Read this for book club and although it got off to a slow start it was much more interesting the second half "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Christina | 2/13/2013

    " A World War II thriller/mystery that kept me guessing until the end. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Kate | 12/18/2012

    " So far, the only Deaver book I didn't enjoy. It did not capture my attention. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Judy | 7/26/2012

    " Great historical fiction.. set in 1936, primarily in Germany. The entire book occurs in about one week. Action-packed, and full of twists and turns. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Joan | 5/14/2012

    " I thought this was going to be another "beach thriller." Instead, it is a very thought out historical fiction drama. There were a lot of twists and this became an excellent page-turner. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Steaven Garnica | 4/27/2012

    " I liked this book a lot. Paul is an interesting character with some interesting traits. I'm also a fan of mobsters and World War 2 and this did a good job of combining the two. It has a fair amount of action and if your in to similar books i would recommend this. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Fan Francis | 1/13/2012

    " Well, Deaver chose a 2nd World War setting, in Germany where an assassination is to take place.... an audacious effort.... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Westbankmama | 11/24/2011

    " Very enjoyable historical mystery. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Giselle | 10/17/2011

    " This book had lots of twists and turns, which I like because the ending is not what you expect it to be. It also depicted the events that happened in 1936 that aided in the war starting and how twisted Hitler's people were. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rita | 5/10/2011

    " well written as expected of deaver. liked the contrast of two german officials seeing what was happening in their country and families. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Giselle | 3/21/2011

    " This book had lots of twists and turns, which I like because the ending is not what you expect it to be. It also depicted the events that happened in 1936 that aided in the war starting and how twisted Hitler's people were. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Laurie | 3/1/2011

    " Although this is not a book from the Lincoln Rhyme's series, it is an excellent book. Danielle, I really think this is one you would enjoy. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tom | 1/23/2011

    " First Class, a change from the normal murder mystery.
    Must be one of his best books. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jeannie | 12/14/2010

    " It was an interesting look at life in World War era Germany - of course thru the eyes of an American hit man, but still! I really liked the book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ayelet | 11/30/2010

    " Good mystery set in Berlin pre-WWII. It's a light read, but just what I needed in the last few weeks. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Matt | 10/18/2010

    " Excellent book - very readable
    Good historical fiction
    Highly recommended "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Christine | 9/4/2010

    " Too real for me --about Hitler's time. A novel but it hurt reading it knowing things like that actually happened and continue happening in our world. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Luckngrace | 9/4/2010

    " My all-time favorite thriller writer, JDeaver delivers with this complicated protagonist and great ending. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cathy | 8/21/2010

    " This was an unexpected twist to plot, having the crime and the investigation happening concurrently and also being set in pre-war Germany. "

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About the Author
Author Jeffery DeaverJeffery Deaver is the award-winning author of thirty-three internationally bestselling novels, including the 2011 James Bond novel Carte Blanche, and three collections of short stories. He is best known for his Lincoln Rhyme thrillers, which include the number one bestsellers The Vanished Man, The Twelfth Card and The Cold Moon, as well as The Bone Collector which was made into a feature film starring Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie. The first Kathryn Dance novel, The Sleeping Doll, was published in 2007 to enormous acclaim. A three-time recipient of the Ellery Queen Reader's Award for Best Short Story of the year, he has been nominated for an Anthony Award and six Edgar Awards from the Mystery Writers of America. He won the WHSmith Thumping Good Read Award in 2001 and in 2004 won the Crime Writers' Association Steel Dagger for Best Thriller with Garden of Beasts, and their Short Story Dagger for 'The Weekender' from Twisted.
About the Narrator

Jefferson Mays has won two AudioFile Earphones Awards for his audio narrations. He is also an award-winning theater and film actor. In 2004 he won a Tony Award, a Drama Desk Award, an Obie Award, and a Theatre World Award for his solo Broadway performance in I Am My Own Wife, a Pulitzer Prize–winning play by Doug Wright. He holds a BA from Yale College and an MFA from University of California–San Diego.