The Unwilling: A Novel Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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Audible Audiobook, Unabridged
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"The tension in Hart’s story never lets up, and you’ll find yourself unable to break away - disc after disc (or page after page) - long past your bedtime." (NJ.com)
This program includes a letter read by the author
“We the unwilling, led by the unqualified to kill the unfortunate, die for the ungrateful.” (Unknown Soldier)
Set in the South at the height of the Vietnam War, The Unwilling combines crime, suspense and searing glimpses into the human mind and soul in New York Times best-selling author John Hart's singular style.
Gibby's older brothers have already been to war. One died there. The other came back misunderstood and hard, a decorated killer now freshly released from a three-year stint in prison.
Jason won't speak of the war or of his time behind bars, but he wants a relationship with the younger brother he hasn't known for years. Determined to make that connection, he coaxes Gibby into a day at the lake: long hours of sunshine and whisky and older women.
But the day turns ugly when the four encounter a prison transfer bus on a stretch of empty road. Beautiful but drunk, one of the women taunts the prisoners, leading to a riot on the bus. The woman finds it funny in the moment, but is savagely murdered soon after.
Given his violent history, suspicion turns first to Jason; but when the second woman is kidnapped, the police suspect Gibby, too. Determined to prove Jason innocent, Gibby must avoid the cops and dive deep into his brother's hidden life, a dark world of heroin, guns and outlaw motorcycle gangs.
What he discovers there is a truth more disturbing than he could have imagined: not just the identity of the killer and the reasons for Tyra's murder, but the forces that shaped his brother in Vietnam, the reason he was framed, and why the most dangerous man alive wants him back in prison.
This is crime fiction at its most raw, an exploration of family and the past, of prison and war and the indelible marks they leave.
A Macmillan Audio production from St. Martin's Press
“Another scorcher from Hart ... [he] keeps us engaged ... subtly folding quiet, character-driven moments into the story while still powering the narrative toward an all-stops-out ending—and a chilling coda.” (Booklist, starred review)
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|Listening Length||13 hours and 58 minutes|
|Audible.ca Release Date||February 02 2021|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #62,340 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#3,385 in Military Thrillers (Books)
#3,842 in War Fiction (Books)
#3,972 in Suspense (Audible Books & Originals)
Top reviews from Canada
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"We the unwilling, led by the unqualified to kill the unfortunate, die for the ungrateful." -unknown soldier
The multi-layered story takes place in the South during the turmoil of the Viet Nam War. It is a mystery, an intense thriller, a study of fractured family dynamics, a coming-of-age story, the horrors of war and its aftermath, and a disturbing look at prison life. John Hart is a masterful storyteller.
Detective French and his wife had three sons. The twins, Robert and Jason, were the oldest and Gibby was younger. Robert died in Viet Nam. He had been his mother's favourite, and Jason overheard his shattered mother saying she wished it had been Jason who was killed instead of Robert. Jason immediately enlisted and spent three years on active duty in Viet Nam where he was honoured for heroism and was a decorated soldier- until he wasn't. He was sent home with a dishonourable discharge. Hardened and bitter, he became involved with heroin and gun-running bikers. He was incarcerated for almost three years in the notorious Lanseworth Prison for hardened criminals.
Gibby has finished High School and will soon be attending University. After Robert's death, he was overprotected by his mother and missed some life experiences. He was not permitted to date girls or participate in sports. His policeman father became distant and morose. Jason, newly released from prison and living with criminals wants a connection with his younger brother, Gibby. Jason coaxes his young brother to spend a day with him unknown to his parents. It will be a day at the lake with whiskey and a pleasant sunny drive. Jason picks up two older women he knows and brings them along. Tyra becomes very drunk, wild and provocative. They encounter a prison transfer bus. Tyra becomes loud and sexually taunts the prisoners. Her actions cause a riot on the bus. Sara, her roommate is quieter and a follower and more subdued. Gibby takes a liking to Sara. Not long afterwards, Tyra is savagely murdered and mutilated. Jason is suspected of the murder and sent back to prison.
His mother is certain her son is guilty, and the father has only a few doubts. Gibby is determined to prove Jason's innocence, helped by his best friend Chance and his new sweetheart from High School. Their actions are unknown to Gibby's family and to the police force. This leads them into the dangerous world of biker gangs, drug dealers, and gun runners. There is even a greater menace from murderous psychopaths with connections inside the prison. They are under the control and payment of a diabolical, crafty billionaire who is in prison awaiting execution. This man has power over other prisoners and staff and has deadly connections on the outside. Now Sara has gone missing, and Gibby is suspected of abducting and killing her. He and Chance must avoid not only the criminals but also the police.
The action and dread escalate to a pulse-pounding conclusion. Detective French and also Gibby discover what happened to Jason in Viet Nam. What they learn is highly disturbing and based on a real-life, historic military coverup. We learn what happened to Tyra and Sara and why, and the fate of Jason in prison. A closing scene takes place outside the prison where a crowd has gathered to cheer or protest the execution of the evil billionaire inmate on the day he is to die in the gas chamber.
There is much excitement and twists in store for the readers.
Highly recommended to anyone who enjoys a grim, dark story with well-developed, flawed characters. Contains violence.
Gibson (Gibby) French is a popular boy in school. He has lots of friends and he likes to hang out at the quarry. He realizes his brother Jason has been let out of prison when Jason shows up at the quarry shows off for all of Gibby’s friends. In spite of his parents’ warnings, Gibby agrees to spend the next day with Jason. Jason brings two girls with him. Jason’s girlfriend Tyra is a particular show off and flashes a bus load of prisoners who are not pleased. Gibby makes it home safely but Tyra ends up getting brutally murdered and Jason is blamed. Against all odds Gibby tries to help prove that Jason is innocent.
John Hart does a masterful job of describing the personalities of the primary and secondary characters in the novel. I am particularly impressed with how he slowly reveals Jason’s personality and then asks the reader to completely reverse their initial impressions of his character. One of the secondary characters, Chance, is also very interesting as he struggles to decide who he is and what he should become.
The novel is fast pace and interesting throughout. I do find it particularly violent and grtoesque at certain points but this seems to be important for understanding the intrinsic insanity of some of the characters. Hart also does an excellent job of taking us back to the horror of the Vietnam war and how many people were irretrievably changed or lost in those jungles.
This is the excellent book for those who love murder mysteries and want to understand how war, crime and violence can damage people and their families. I give it a 4 on 5 because the violence, although necessary, was unnerving at times. I want to thank NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for providing me with a digital copy of this novel. Herein, I provide a honest review.
Top reviews from other countries
Anyway, after just a couple of chapters, I was well and truly pulled into this twisty, turvy tale, and it did prove to be the proverbial page-turner. However, this novel wasn't quite as good as I'd expected. As I've come to expect from Mr Hart, his writing was exquisite in places, and I thought he did a wonderful job of depicting the early 1970's, and the effects of the Vietnam War on the American people. I did get a strong sense of time and place, and was soon rooting for the French family. But, as the story progressed, it felt to me as if the author was trying just a bit too hard on this occasion to appeal to a wider audience. In doing so, I thought the plot sometimes stretched credibility. It's a bit of a cliché, but a fiction writer is supposed to make the unbelievable believable, yet even I struggled at times to accept the plausibility of some of the players in this story and the predicaments they found themselves in. As I mentioned earlier, John Hart is such a skilful writer - so much so that I was more than 'willing' to be taken on this journey, and I did stay the full course, not skipping any sections - it just wasn't quite as enjoyable a trip as the ones I'd experienced with Redemption Road or The Last Child (both brilliant by the way). 3.5 rounded up to a 4/5.
Too much about the violence that goes on in American prisons and corrupt wardens.
I hope he goes back to his previous style of writing.