Doctor Dealer is the story of Larry Lavin, a bright, charismatic young man who rose from his working-class upbringing to win a scholarship to a prestigious boarding school, earn Ivy League college and dental degrees, and buy his family a house in one of Philadelphia's most exclusive suburbs. But behind the facade of his success was a dark secret - at every step of the way he was building the foundation for a cocaine empire that would grow to generate over $60 million in annual sales. Award-winning journalist Mark Bowden tells the saga of Lavin's rise and fall with the gripping, novelistic narrative style that won him international acclaim as the author of the New York Times best-seller Black Hawk Down.
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Awesome writing - horrible narrating
I have no way of knowing whether the print edition would be better than the audio, since I have not read the hardcopy to compare it with.
It is just an extremely compelling story and to me, even the author's seeming desire to include every detail in no way detracts from the intense hold this book had on me, beginning to end.
What did I not like about the narrator? - where to begin!
A pet peeve I have is when the narrator attempts to act out each character in the story, applying various accents, voices, etc. It just CANNOT BE DONE in any effective manner. It is just a means for the narrator to draw attention to himself, and away from the writing. This narrator is guilty in the first degree of this crime! And what a horrible job of it he did.
But even on a different aspect, his straight reading was pitiful. He did not seem to have ever seen the pages before. He read very slowly and with a deliberate enunciation that might be more appropriate for kindergarden kids learning to associate the written word with the spoken word.
There did not seem to be any professional aspect to this narrator's reading, in my opinion. I think he saved his attention for the dialogues, where at least he did apply some attention and effort to it, such as it was. But for the non-dialogue parts, it was quite difficult to "sit through" it so as not to miss out on the flow of the story, because of the flat, labored presentation of the writing. For me, that took discipline, even though I did find the entire book, details and all, intensely interesting. The narration just added, for me, a pall of anger over what should have been a thoroughly positive experience - the anger being over why the narrator had to insert himself into my enjoyment of just the book itself. The book was not written to be acted out - it is NOT A SCREENPLAY. It was written to be READ.
It is amazing to me that quite a few narrators of audiobooks get away with hogging the action, as it were, when it seems the objective ought plainly to be READING the book. Why don't the people doing the hiring understand this point?
The story was incredible. And the authorship was so awesome that it was not at all hard to fathom how it happened that this one guy went from semi-normal kid to illicit drug kingpin over a short period of time. The focus was mainly on the main character, and the portrayal was somewhat sympathetic, but also unsparing of the fact of the overwhelming stupidity and endless greed that was at work.
I think a lot of us "of a certain age" can really identify with this guy, having been in similar situations early on and having come to a crossroads where we took a saner path but perhaps just as easily could have taken the one the guy did. It was the times - the 80's, there was lots of pot around on campuses, there was a lot of rebellion against the establishment. A lot of things came together in the person of the main character that brought the results he eventually had to face.
Mark Bowden in my opinion has joined the ranks of Olsen and Rule. This is just an outstanding piece of work. I will definitely be on his trail from here on in. True crime lovers, rejoice! Even with the passing of the great ones, we still have the means to feed our craving.
3rd TIME BETTER THAN 1ST
- Richard Owens