The Purples

  • by W. K. Berger
  • Narrated by Chris Andrew Ciulla
  • 14 hrs and 0 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Shunned by his community...locked up for trying to help an innocent girl...ambushed by rivals and left for dead in the Detroit River, Joe Bernstein has a few scores to settle, and a bold plan to seize control of the Motor City in its booming 1920s heyday. With his faithful "agent", Abie; his brilliant but fragile brother, Max; and an out-of-control enforcer named Grabowski (not to mention a couple of carnivorous creatures known as "the babies"), Bernstein gives rise to the infamous Purple Gang - so named by local merchants because the gang's members were said to be "tainted, like spoiled meat".
Bernstein's boys set their sights on taking over the Detroit River, the pipeline connecting dry America to wet Canada. But Joe also must contend with having "a sweetheart in the nut house" and rising tensions within his gang. Worst of all, the D.A.'s office has brought in an amputee war hero named Riley - who seems to be one step ahead of Joe's big plans....
A fast-paced thriller that builds to the climactic Collingwood Massacre (a seminal event that changed Detroit forever), The Purples blends richly detailed historical fiction with nonstop action, all narrated in the wry voice of the smart, self-deluding, and unforgettable Joe Bernstein.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Gritty story...entertaining listen...who knew?

Would you consider the audio edition of The Purples to be better than the print version?

Yes. The narrator did a great job with this period, being the 20's in Detroit. I really felt like I was there. And I'm new to Audible, but I'm a big audiobook fan, and I really like when the right narrator gets matched with the right material. That definitely happened with The Purples.


What did you like best about this story?

The way it shed light on a real part of history. A Jewish gang in Detroit? The fact that it existed is crazy enough, not to mention all the scary, gory stuff they actually did. I'm a student of history, so when I can be dramatized like this, it's really cool.


What does Chris Andrew Ciulla bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

He's a really good storyteller. I listened to another one of his audiobooks recently, Two Serpents Rise. I liked it a lot, and then I saw this one, and I realized it was a really different backdrop. But his characters were all very real, but really entertaining, and all had their own cool individual qualities. Some very scary ones, actually. He's really good with the darker stuff.


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

Sure, but I really enjoy listening while I drive, and it is 14 hrs long I think. And this read is pretty rough, so I'm sure it isn't for everybody. But I'm a big fan of the old gumshoe stuff, and of Dick Hill, and this reminded me a little of his grittier stuff.


Any additional comments?

It tells an interesting story about a hidden part of history. Some rights, a lot of wrongs. The author, WK Berger, really brings these characters and the story alive for you for sure.

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- david

Good Historical Fiction with Great Narration

What made the experience of listening to The Purples the most enjoyable?

The storyline was intricate enough to hold my interest, but not so much so as to be confusing (I'm looking at you, Jonathan Franzen), which made it an excellent choice for listening to in the car. Really, though, the narrator was great. His reading was rhythmic, melodious and pitch-perfect, and really seemed to capture the essence of what the author was trying to convey.


What other book might you compare The Purples to and why?

I suppose "The Purples" belongs in the same general category as the Elmore Leonard books or maybe Michael Chabon's "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay."


Have you listened to any of Chris Andrew Ciulla’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I have not, but I will definitely look for more stuff that he's done. As I've noted, his narration was simply excellent.


If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Detroit is a rough town, and always has been.


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- Seamus Michael Ryan

Book Details

  • Release Date: 03-15-2013
  • Publisher: Warren Berger