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Download Strange Piece of Paradise: A Return to the American West To Investigate My Attempted Murder - and Solve the Riddle of Myself Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Strange Piece of Paradise: A Return to the American West To Investigate My Attempted Murder - and Solve the Riddle of Myself Audiobook, by Terri Jentz Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (778 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Terri Jentz Narrator: Margaret Colin Publisher: Macmillan Audio Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2006 ISBN: 9781427200105
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In the summer of 1977, Terri Jentz and her Yale roommate, Shayna Weiss, make a cross-country bike trip. They pitch a tent in the desert of central Oregon. As they are sleeping, a man in a pickup truck deliberately runs over the tent. He then attacks them with an ax. The horrific crime is reported in newspapers across the country. No one is ever arrested. Both women survive, but Shayna suffers from amnesia, while Terri is left alone with memories of the attack. Their friendship is shattered. Fifteen years later, Terri returns to the small town where she was nearly murdered, on the first of many visits she will make "to solve the crime that would solve me." And she makes an extraordinary discovery: the violence of that night is as present for the community as it is for her. Slowly, her extensive interviews with the townspeople yield a terrifying revelation: many say they know who did it, and he is living freely in their midst. Terri then sets out to discover the truth about the crime and its aftermath, and to come to terms with the wounds that broke her life into a before and an after. Ultimately she finds herself face-to-face with the alleged axman. Powerful, eloquent, and paced like the most riveting of thrillers, Strange Piece of Paradise is the electrifying account of Terri's investigation into the mystery of her near murder. A startling profile of a psychopath, a sweeping reflection on violence and the myth of American individualism, and a moving record of a brave inner journey from violence to hope, this searing, unforgettable work is certain to be one of the most talked about books of the year. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Imagine that it had been Truman Capote himself who’d been savaged in Holcomb, Kansas, and that he had survived to describe his ordeal. That is the level of command and sinew at work in [Terri Jentz’s] writing.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Powerful…[Jentz] moves with great skill back and forth between the year of the attack and the years of her investigation.”

    Los Angels Times Book Review

  • Strange Piece of Paradise is a breathtaking memoir that deserves enshrinement on the essential books about the American West, worthy of a place beside Norman Mailer’s classic account, The Executioner’s Song.”

    Seattle Post-Intelligencer

  • “[Jentz’s] well-crafted story of trying to make sense of lunacy is unforgettable.”

    People

  • “Jentz excels in capturing the aftermath of the attack…[She] is a savvy, big-hearted narrator who refuses to rush to judgment…A singular, breathtaking document of devastation, survival, and hard-won hope.”

    Newsday

  • “In her spellbinding, heartbreaking tale of one random act of carnage, Jentz shows how evil sometimes doesn’t have a face but leaves scars both physical and emotional.”

    USA Today

  • “This book, a haunting meditation on the attack and Jentz’s hunt for her would-be murderer, is like nothing I have ever read…[Strange Piece of Paradise] packs the power of a story that has simmered for twenty years. Jentz’s intelligence and felicity with language amp up that power; her detective work delivers real thrills…Gratifying.”

    Cleveland Plain Dealer

  • “[Strange Piece of Paradise] will do more than just captivate us—it will also politicize us, change us, and move us to action.”

    Chicago Tribune

  • “The pacing and subject matter will keep readers mesmerized throughout…An extraordinary story from a gifted writer.”

    Library Journal

  • Strange Piece of Paradise is a haunting, lyrical journey through one woman’s nightmare. Terri Jentz’s debut is harrowing, gripping, and poignant. The impact lingers long after.”

    Harlan Coben, New York Times bestselling author

  • A 2007 Edgar Allan Poe Award Nominee for Best Fact Crime
  • A 2006 National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist
  • A 2006 New York Times Book Review Notable Book

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Elizabeth | 2/18/2014

    " Didn't like it. I generally don't like true crime or serial killer stories anyway... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jessie | 2/8/2014

    " Not really what I usually pick up to read, but it was in the bargain bin... "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Tracy Lackey | 2/5/2014

    " Couldn't really finish this one either - the story in itself was a good one, and I was interested in the self-driven detective mystery, but the thing that I could not stand was that the author was so self-centered and histrionic. It was just page after page after page of Ms. Jentz being overly dramatic about her feelings and thoughts and emotions; instead of gaining sympathy from the reader I just got annoyed at how she was upset about what some person thought about her, or what that person said about her in the newspapers, or how she could not understand why her former best friend/college roommate/bike partner/crush didn't want to have anything to do with her - I only sort of read the book and I didn't want to have anything to do with Terri Jentz either! I wanted to slap her and tell her to wise up and stop thinking that she is such a martyr. This book would have been much better had it been just an objective biography by a real mystery writer, like Ann Rule, as opposed to the autobiographical plea for sympathy that it was written as by the victim. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Erica | 2/2/2014

    " This is the story of a woman who, in the late 1970s, was brutally attacked by a cowboy with a hatchet (and run over with a truck) while on a bike trip with a friend in oregon. She survived, the killer was never found, fifteen years later she goes after the truth, etc etc. The book needed at the very least 100 pages cut; she interviews the same people over and over and finds out the same things. Without giving away the ending, it's satisfying to the author but not to the reader. It wasn't terrible, but I could have spent the time invested in 572 pages a lot better. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rebecca | 1/31/2014

    " This is a tough story by a very strong woman. I highly recommend it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kallie | 1/17/2014

    " This book rises above the 'true crime' genre with its excellent, honest writing (the writer never tries to make herself look good, brave, honest, though she is all three). It also trescends genre because it skewers (as calmly as TJ deflected her would-be killer): 1) American accepting, mine-one's-own-biz attitudes toward violence (especially against women); 2) our society's denial of the darkness beneath defensive American smiles; 3) our tendency to cover-up what does not fit our need to appear virtuous and relentlessly positive. If TJ reiterates some points, she does so as an investigator building, with infinite patience, a very difficult complex case against a sly psychopath whom many would buy as charismatic -- a quintessentially American type anti-hero celebrated in many films and novels -- until he turns on his victim. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Karen | 1/10/2014

    " I don't usually read non-fiction, but I picked this up after reading reviews. Quite a story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Livia | 1/8/2014

    " it was very good up until about page 200 ish then it just got way too confusing and rambling as she goes through ALL her leads. It might have been a better book if there was better editing down in the last half of the book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Judy | 1/6/2014

    " She provided a very interesting point of view as a crime survivor. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Csillitoe | 11/30/2013

    " So two women are attacked by a man with an axe and, 20 years later, one of them comes back to try to break the case. (Nonfiction.) This is a book I have trouble putting down every time I read it. It's really raw and gutsy and beautiful. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Blair | 11/8/2013

    " Powerful, brooding,and disturbing. Yes, it is a massive tome, and perhaps too detailed at a few points, but that did not detract from the overall impact of this sometimes hard-to-read book. The memory of this story lingers for a long time. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Elizabeth | 11/7/2013

    " Needed more editing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jessica | 10/14/2013

    " Amazing tale of trauma, women and violence, shattered friendships and love. Worthy of a place beside Norman Mailers "An Executioner's Song". "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Vicki Boyd | 10/14/2013

    " Non-fiction. Bizarre true story of unprovoked attack, but what happened afterwards is even more bizarre...or rather what didn't happen! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Martin | 8/29/2013

    " The author's story is so bizarre that her memoir would be gripping even if she was a poor writer. However, hat Jentz is a superb writer makes this one of the best books I've read in a while. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Daniel Rose | 8/19/2013

    " she deserves credit for tracking down every piece of her story, but an editor should have convinced her not to share each and every detail with us. needed stronger editorial hand. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Denise | 4/27/2013

    " some parts (about her PTSD minutiae) i skimmed, but overall: macabre and addictive. a true crime memoir at it's finest. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Elizabeth | 4/2/2013

    " Didn't like it. I generally don't like true crime or serial killer stories anyway... "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Autumn | 11/26/2012

    " I just could not make it through the whole book. I think she has an interesting story to tell and I enjoyed her writing style. However, she really needed a more critical editor to make the book more of a compelling read and to cut about 1/2 the length of the book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cherie | 7/6/2012

    " B- Very engaging in the beginning, but she should not have documented every tedious detail. She lost my full attention near the end. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Christine Cannizzaro | 12/12/2011

    " A true account of filmmaker Terri Jentz, who was brutally attacked, along with her college roommate, during a cross-country bike trip in the late 1970's... Deeply disturbing but well-written... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Elizabeth | 11/12/2011

    " Compelling as any good mystery should be, but based on the real life experiences of the author. An exploration of letting go of the questions we often obsessively seek answers to. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mark | 8/28/2011

    " A fascinating portrait of central Oregon wrapped up in a true attempted murder mystery "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Florence | 8/6/2011

    " I was fascinated by the horror of the crime and the courage of the victim in seeking justice. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Denise | 4/20/2011

    " some parts (about her PTSD minutiae) i skimmed, but overall: macabre and addictive. a true crime memoir at it's finest. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Leonard | 1/30/2010

    " Fascinating and also horrifying true account of two cross country bicyclists who were attacked while sleeping one night in Oregon, and the after effects on one of the victims of the attack. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 June | 12/31/2009

    " Amazing story of personal exploration and human connection. The author's quest to find the person who attempted to murder her in order to find meaning--very compelling story. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Carolyn | 12/28/2009

    " I tread lightly here because she's been through a lot, but this book could have used an edit. Still, it's very compelling. "

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About the Author

Terri Jentz is a screenwriter and lives in Los Angeles.