When The Dancing Stopped

  • by Brian Hicks
  • Narrated by Dick Hill
  • 12 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In the best-selling tradition of The Devil in the White City, award-winning author Brian Hicks tells the explosive story of the Morro Castle, the elegant luxury ocean liner that burned off the coast of New Jersey on September 7, 1934. The captain of the luxurious Ward Line flagship died under mysterious circumstances seven hours before his ship caught. Much of the crew abandoned ship, leaving passengers to burn or jump into the sea as a hurricane approached and literally fanned the flames. The ship was incinerated, and 134 people perished. Using hundreds of previously classified FBI reports, first-person survivor interviews, and countless documents, Brian Hicks has written – and solved – a murder mystery that mesmerized the nation more than 70 years ago. Told with authentic period detail and true-crime excitement, Hicks determines that the ominous weather was not the cause for the ship's burning. From Hick's deeply researched epic, we can only conclude that the disaster was the work of a madman among the crew. Hicks creates a finely drawn portrait of Depression-era America. Perfect for history buffs and adventure enthusiasts, When the Dancing Stopped is nonfiction narrative at its best.

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What the Critics Say

"A suspenseful, highly satisfying listen." (Kirkus)
"The book is a riveting account of this tragedy and the man who apparently caused it." (Booklist)
"Hicks has done a lot of research, but it never weighs down the narrative, which draws the listener in from the get-go." (Publishers Weekly)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Real life murder mystery!

Would you listen to When The Dancing Stopped again? Why?

If I run out of books, which I doubt, I would listen again. There is a lot of information in this book and I'm sure I missed some important things.


What did you like best about this story?

I liked the stories of the people whose lives were changed because of this tragedy. The young purser, the high school girl on her first trip and the men in the radio room.

The fire and death of the Captain were extremely interesting and the author goes to great lengths to explain them without much speculation. That is why I like true crime books.


What about Dick Hill’s performance did you like?

He is a good narrator for true stories that make them sound like potboilers and film noir. I enjoyed his work.


Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I was very angry that the person most likely responsible for the crime was never prosecuted for it but happy that he is dead and gone now. However, had he been caught, several people he hurt later would have been much better off.


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- Kristi Richardson

Fascinating story!

What made the experience of listening to When The Dancing Stopped the most enjoyable?

The story of the Morro Castle disaster (of which I heretofore knew nothing) was an amazing true American tale. Why was this not a part of American History class? We all know about the Titanic, but how many of us know about the Morro Castle tragedy? This is an excellent story, told very well by the author.


What three words best describe Dick Hill’s performance?

The narrator did a very good job with diction and annunciation, but I found that, listening to the book over a car audio system, his vocal intonations of the characters' quotes and spoken passages were not on the same listening level as the reading of the passages. As a result, I often had to adjust the sound levels; after a while, this became a bit of a chore, and detracted from the overall listening experience.


Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, in fact I would often try to listen to it in "snippets", doing chores, cooking, etc. (while I usually listen to audio books while driving to work).


Any additional comments?

This was an excellent tale, and very well written. The narrator did a good job, but, perhaps, the technical production needs to be "tweaked" so the listening levels are more fluid. Overall, a very worthwhile purchase!

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- JerseyGirl

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-26-2006
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio