Cover image for Book Club kit : Life or death
Title:
Book Club kit : Life or death
Edition:
First Mulholland Books trade paperback edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Mulholland Books, Little, Brown and Company, 2016.
ISBN:
9780316252034
Physical Description:
10 bks. (418, 16 pages) ; 21 cm + 1 discussion guide
Language:
English
Abstract:
"Why would a man serving a long prison sentence escape the day before he's due to be released? Audie was sentenced to ten years for a Texas robbery in which four people died, including two members of his own gang. Seven million dollars have never been recovered from the robbery, and everybody believes Audie knows where the money is. For a decade Audie has been beaten, stabbed, and threatened by inmates and guards, all desperate to know the secret. The day before he is due to be released, Audie suddenly vanishes. The hunt for Audie, and the money, is on. But Audie's not running to save his own life--instead, he's trying to save someone else. In what promises to be his most popular thriller yet, Michael Robotham has created the ultimate underdog hero, an honorable criminal shrouded in mystery and ready to lead readers on a remarkable chase. "-- Provided by publisher.

"Audie was sentenced to 10 years for a robbery in which four people died, including two members of his gang. Five million dollars has never been recovered from the robbery, and everybody believes Audie knows where the money is. For 10 years Audie has been beaten, stabbed, and threatened by inmates and guards, all desperate to know the secret. The day before he is due to be released, Audie suddenly vanishes. The hunt for Audie, and the money, is on. But Audie's not running to save his own life--instead, he's trying to save someone else. In what promises to be his most popular thriller yet, Robotham has created the ultimate underdog hero, an honorable criminal shrouded in mystery and ready to lead readers on a remarkable chase"-- Provided by publisher.
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Book Club Kit BOOK CLUB 1 .CIRCNOTE. *****10 BOOKS, 1 DISCUSSION GUIDE*****
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Prescott Public Library10Received on 10/3/18

Summary

Summary

Why would a man serving a long prison sentence escape the day before he's due to be released?
Audie Palmer has spent ten years in a Texas prison after pleading guilty to a robbery in which four people died and seven million dollars went missing. During that time he has suffered repeated beatings, stabbings and threats by inmates and guards, all desperate to answer the same question: where's the money?
On the day before Audie is due to be released, he suddenly vanishes. Now everybody is searching for him - the police, FBI, gangsters and other powerful figures - but Audie isn't running to save his own life. Instead, he's trying to save someone else's.

Michael Robotham has created the ultimate underdog hero, an honorable criminal shrouded in mystery and ready to lead readers on a remarkable chase.


Reviews 6

Bookseller Publisher Review

"This exciting new novel from Michael Robotham is pitched as a psychological thriller but for me it is a novel of crime, justice and redemption-and a very good one. Set in Texas, the plot revolves around Audie Palmer, who has spent a decade in prison for his part in an armed robbery in which four people died, including two members of the gang involved. Five million dollars has never been recovered and many people believe that Audie knows its whereabouts, which has made his time in prison a brutal, daily fight for survival. Amazingly, the day before his sentence is up, he escapes and goes on the run, except that he is running to save a life and, perhaps, clear his name. Audie is hunted by the local police; officers from the time of his arrest; a tenacious FBI agent with a personal agenda; criminals who want the cash; a prison mate who is released to help with the hunt-the list goes on. The story builds to a heart-stopping climax-Robotham piles on the tension without ever going over the top-and legions of readers should enjoy this superior example of the crime writer's art. Max Oliver is a retired bookseller and avid crime reader"


Publisher's Weekly Review

Early in this so-so standalone from Australian author Robotham, Audie Palmer escapes from a Texas prison with only a day remaining on his 10-year sentence. A decade earlier, authorities named Audie Palmer as an accomplice in a high-profile armored-car robbery that left four people dead, including a security guard, and $7 million unaccounted for. Readers follow Audie as he tries to stay under the radar, his present peppered with flashbacks from his troubled past and bittersweet memories of the only woman he ever loved. While it's obvious that Audie isn't wholly guilty, the depth of the conspiracy isn't clear, and Robotham (Suspect) teases out some genuinely interesting twists. Unfortunately, American readers will have a problem with Audie's implausibly short sentence for felony murder in Texas (despite the intricate plot machinations to justify it) and the ease with which he gets away from a Texas prison unscathed. British usage also jars (e.g., an old man tells Audie he's had a "row" with his girlfriend). Agent: Richard Pine, Inkwell Management. (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Kirkus Review

Australian novelist Robotham travels to Texas for this prison-break tale with a twist.Audie Palmer, who admitted his involvement in the infamous Dreyfus County, Texas, armored security truck robbery, escaped from prison with only one day remaining on his sentence. Audie pleaded guilty to helping steal $7 millionmoney that's never been recovered. But why did he disappear the day before his parole was to begin? That's the question on the minds of everyone, from diminutive FBI Special Agent Desiree Furness to his best prison buddy, Moss. Soon after Audie runs, everyone involved in his case, from the former prosecutor to a deputy who is now the sheriff, is pulling out the stops to find him, and it's obvious they'd prefer him dead rather than alive. Robotham generously shares information about the villains with readers, so there's little suspense there. However, the back story, skillfully interwoven with the search for Audie, provides plenty of edge-of-the-seat excitement, forcing readers to frantically turn the pages to find out how all these different strands intersect. Robotham's skill as a writer remains undeniable: He offers memorable characters caught up in an irresistible story. But the Aussie writer's choice of Texas as his setting is bound to ruffle some feathers since he portrays the state as uniformly and relentlessly corrupt, its citizens as the dregs of society. "Texas only executes people on death row, not when they're brain-dead because it might mean culling most of their politicians," reads one passage. And while the writing is top-notch, albeit inflammatory in places, the finished product is also puzzling in that the novelist and his editorial team populated the book with many British expressions foreign to the setting, from calling a woman's bangs a "fringe" to terming a flophouse a "doss house" to having a very Southern character refer to lines in a bank as "queues." Terrific storytelling that won't win Robotham many friends in the Lone Star State. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Audie Palmer spent virtually every day of his 10-year sentence in a federal prison fighting for his life. Although shot in the head in a wild shootout between Texas county sheriff's deputies and the criminals who hijacked an armored truck, he survived. He remembers nothing from that time, but everyone believes he knows the location of millions of dollars that were never recovered. Audie has been beaten, stabbed, and burned, but for many inmates, his equanimity in the face of daily attacks makes him a combination of Yoda, Buddha, and the Gladiator. So, why, on the day before he is to be released, does he escape? That's the question that will keep crime lovers reading late into the night. Audie is a remarkable character. He's very bright, self-effacing, and calm in the face of nearly all the travails his imaginative creator (Watching You, 2014) requires him to endure. He's a true Samaritan, but only prison friend Moss Webster and Desiree Furness, a diminutive FBI agent, see him as anything more than a dangerous criminal. Crime fans will find plenty of action, but unexpectedly Life or Death also works as a mythic, fated love story. Robotham has a talent for creating fascinating and complex characters, and Audie Palmer may be his best yet.--Gaughan, Thomas Copyright 2010 Booklist


New York Review of Books Review

THE CAREER CRIMINALS in genre novels don't have money problems. If they need some, they just go out and steal it. But such financial transactions can backfire, which is what happened back in 2004 when the Texas gang in Michael Robotham's LIFE OR DEATH (Mulholland/Little, Brown, $26) robbed $7 million from an armored truck. That ill-fated enterprise ended with four people dead. One robber was shot and captured alive, but the surviving gang member was never seen again and the money was never recovered. Audie Palmer survived the bullets that led to his capture, but he's had to fight for his life every day of the 10 years he's spent in prison. According to the inmate who befriended him, Moss Webster (a convicted killer but a prince of a guy), "that boy was stabbed, strangled, beaten, glassed and burned" by guards and inmates alike, thinking they could force him to reveal what became of the money and his brother, Carl, who presumably fled with it. These attacks intensify as Audie's release date nears, but on the morning of his discharge he's nowhere to be found. "What sort of idiot escapes the day before his release?" wonders Special Agent Desiree Furness of the F.B.I., who's smarter than most of the other characters looking for Audie. But not as shrewd as the shady individuals who arrange a furlough for Moss and the promise of freedom if he finds his friend before the rest of the mob. Although Audie is entirely too composed for someone looking into the teeth of this wolf pack, he's a man with hidden depths and horrific secrets. Moss is your real boon companion on this manhunt. A big bruiser, he may not be as subtle a thinker as Agent Furness or as complicated a character as Audie, but he's emotionally involved in Audie's fate and morally conflicted about his own role in determining it. Besides, his warm voice, thick with country honey, is the one you want to hear. Robotham, who's from Australia, isn't entirely at ease with the Texas vernacular, but he's responsive enough to the idiosyncrasies of the culture that he can thrill to a piece of American Gothic like this sign on a church in Houston: "If you really love God, show Him your money." ARIANA FRANKLIN died before she could finish the siege winter (Morrow/HarperCollins, $25.99). But her daughter, Samantha Norman, picked up the narrative and has delivered a rousing but unsparingly harsh account of medieval life as experienced by ordinary people. England is engulfed in civil war in A.D. 1141 when the fighting reaches the small fenland village from which 11-year-old Emma is kidnapped, savagely abused and left for dead by a vile monk traveling with marauding mercenaries on their way to sack Ely Cathedral. A kinder, more principled mercenary named Gwilherm de Vannes saves the girl's life and helps her disguise herself as his apprentice - no more a weak girl but a brave boy named Penda. In a parallel narrative featuring another resourceful female, 16-year-old Maud of Kenniford takes over the management of her ancestral castle and becomes a political force in negotiations with the warring monarchs, King Stephen and Empress Matilda. "I am the chatelaine," she asserts, in swearing allegiance to the empress, who takes refuge at Kenniford, triggering the siege that becomes the heart of the book. The intricate narrative design of the novel works a murderous subplot involving that fiendish monk into a broader view of how feudal law broke down under the anarchy of civil war. Those thrilling battles do look different when seen by women like Maud, Emma and the empress. IN THE MOUNTAINS of North Carolina, the setting of David Joy's remarkable first novel, WHERE ALL LIGHT TENDS TO GO (Putnam, $26.95), "outlawing was just as much a matter of blood as hair color and height." Jacob McNeely, the 18-year-old son of the regional drug lord, has no illusions about who he is or where he came from. ("Mama snorted crystal, Daddy sold it to her.") But his love for the smartest girl in town makes him think he might yet determine who he becomes. No such luck, as long as Daddy needs him to help move product, launder money or dump bodies in the reservoir. That last incident entirely upsets Jacob's equilibrium, dragging him deeper into his father's affairs and further away from the future he wants for himself. This isn't your ordinary coming-of-age novel, but with his bone-cutting insights into these men and the region that bred them, Joy makes it an extraordinarily intimate experience. MAISIE DOBBS is getting paranoid - or else everyone she meets is spying on her in A DANGEROUS PLACE (Harper/HarperCollins, $26.99), the latest installment of Jacqueline Winspear's consistently interesting series about a trained psychologist turned private investigator. Maisie is still in shock from the personal losses she has suffered in the four years since we've last seen her. She's sailing home to England from India when she stops off in Gibraltar, which is not a healthy place to be in 1937, with civil war raging across the border in Spain, German bombers headed for Guernica and foreign operatives skulking around every corner. Try as she might to concentrate on a murder case, she's drawn into a climate of political intrigue that repels her - but keeps the rest of us avidly reading.


Library Journal Review

Starred Review. Why does Audie Palmer-sentenced to ten years in prison for a $7 million armored car robbery in which four people died-escape the day before his term ends? And why is Audie being on the loose so threatening to certain high-level officials? After continual unsuccessful attempts to have him killed behind bars, the men pulling the strings release Moss Webster, his closest prison buddy, with orders to find Audie. Meanwhile, answers are revealed gradually in flashbacks about the protagonist's earlier life, from his relationship with his no-good older brother, Carl, to his deep and abiding love for Belita, the sex slave mistress of his minor underworld boss, and, finally to what actually occurred on the day of the robbery. VERDICT Robotham's psychological suspense novels featuring Joseph O'Loughlin (Say You're Sorry; Watching You) have garnered high marks for a reason. This stand-alone is an absolutely compelling story, with suspense ratcheting up to a deadly confrontation, combined with a deeply moving love story, concluding with "Life is short. Love is vast. Live like there's no tomorrow." Don't miss this one. [See Prepub Alert, 9/22/14.] -Michele Leber, Arlington, VA (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.