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A Cool Breeze on the Underground

Narrated by: Joe Barrett
Series: The Neal Carey Mysteries, Book 1
Length: 9 hrs and 52 mins
4 out of 5 stars (29 ratings)

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Summary

Neal Carey is not your usual private eye. A graduate student at Columbia University, he grew up on the streets of New York, usually on the wrong side of the law. Then he met a P.I. who introduced him to the Bank, an exclusive institution with a sideline in keeping its wealthy clients happy and out of trouble. They pay Neal's college tuition, and Neal gets an education that can't be found in any textbook, from learning how to trail a suspect to mastering the proper way to search a room.

Now it's payback time. The Bank wants Neal to put his skills to work in finding Allie Chase, the rebellious teenage daughter of a prominent senator. The problem is that she's gone underground in the London punk scene. To get her back, Neal has to follow her into a violent netherworld where drugs run rampant and rage is the name of the game.

©1991 Don Winslow (P)2008 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic reviews

"A fresh voice, immensely likeable....Winslow shows he's got what it takes to hook a reader....Where he goes next with Neal is anyone's guess, but it's bound to be a great ride." (Mystery Scene)
"A flair for language, quick wit, and detail complete a winning first novel." (Library Journal)
"Winslow keeps his plot moving quickly despite many twists and turns." (Pittsburgh Press)

What members say

Average customer ratings

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Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Tom
  • West Wickham, United Kingdom
  • 06-08-10

a quirky and very enjoyable thriller

If you are looking for a thriller off the beaten track, then I urge you to try this book. Very well written and plotted with a lot of well drawn and likeable characters, a good mix of thrills and humour, the book hooks you from the off, and it is difficult to break away from from listening so well does the narrative bowl along.

The narration is pretty good too, though there is some unintended hilarity with the many British accents the narrator tries to put across; never has an East-end Londoner or a Yorkshireman sounded quite like this! Oddly enough though, the narrator stills gets the characters well and this doesn't detract from the overall narration or the story.

Strongly recommended. I shall certainly be exploring other works by Don Winslow - one to look out for to be sure.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Should have stayed Stateside

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

Although the plot was good, the ridiculous attempts at English accents by the narrator and the weird narrative describing various aspects of English life and colloquial language spoilt it for me, so if the novel had stayed in the USA it would have been much better!

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

The ending was a bit rushed and to be honest I was just relieved to have got rid of the silly accents.

Who might you have cast as narrator instead of Joe Barrett?

Maybe Humphrey Bower.

You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

The story was quite good.

Any additional comments?

I bought this after listening to California Fire and Life which was excellent.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Avoid if you’re a Brit

Dodgy English accents are one thing, but the killer here is dialogue. Nobody has ever spoken like this. Not in an over the top Mary Poppins way, but a thats-not-what-the-slang-means way. A whole bit about a mechanic pointing out to the American protagonist that nobody here in England says ‘car’ but rather ‘auto’. Shame a the story was interesting but I had to abandon it with an hour or so to go. Gor blimey chip chip toodle-ooh.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Bizarre understanding of British dialect and accents

As expected of Don Winslow the story is sound. However I’m not sure Mr Winslow had ever met a British person, let alone visited the country when he wrote this.
The dialect and vocabulary used are just ludicrous.
The narrator’s command of English accents is hilarious. Just so bad!
At times I nearly gave up on it, because of the above issues, but it’s a good story, so I got through it and came to enjoy the ridiculous mangling of British English.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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A big disappointment!

A nothing experience - weak narrative and characters - a far cry from his current compelling cartel themed novels. Will be returning this one.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Don Winslow always delivers

Colourful characters & the usual Corben twists & turns.
Despite some negative reviews I like the readers style.

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    5 out of 5 stars

You could not put it down if it were in print!

Reminded us why we used to read detective stories. Shall be searching for other works by Don Winslow. This one was certainly worth the time.

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  • Cody
  • 18-05-15

A Great Read

I have to say, I was expecting more mystery when I decided to get this but even though the detective story isn't really that much about detection, I loved it. Great plot with interesting characters, exciting action, some real touching moments, some very funny one liners. I bought this because it was on sale but I will definitely be using my Audible credits on the next books in the series. I'm hooked on the characters and the idea and can't wait to read more.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • mindusq
  • 31-05-11

Joe Barrett reading Don Winslow = joy squared

Mr. Winslow creates such interesting characters and lets them speak in that snarky, witty prose that makes me wish I could meet them in person. Well, some of them. Some of them are scary creeps. Definitely worth listening to.

26 of 30 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Roman
  • Roman
  • 13-04-15

A Very Pleasant Surprise

If you could sum up A Cool Breeze on the Underground in three words, what would they be?

Entertaining, surprising, and engaging

What was one of the most memorable moments of A Cool Breeze on the Underground?

What was most memorable and what I liked best about this story was original and non-traditional lead character in this book. I had never heard of Don Winslow but saw this book a couple of weeks ago listed as a "daily special." The summary description sounded intriguing enough for me to invest $3.95. It sounded like a detective story with a couple of potentially interesting twists, and indeed it was-----but so much more. The author does a nice job of beginning the story and then periodically relating the background on the main character in a very fluid manner so that the reader does not become confused or bored. Before I was half way through, I was so intrigued by the lead character that I found myself hoping that this was, or soon would be, a series. After finishing the book, I checked into other works by this author and found that, to my delight, this was the case. I am now reading the second in the series and it appears to be of at least the same high quality.

Which scene was your favorite?

Hard to say without giving away key parts of the story.

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

Yes.

Any additional comments?

Thanks to Audible for featuring this book as a "daily special," without which I probably would not have become familiar with this author. Also, the performance (reader) was outstanding. I had never listened to any books read by Joe Barrett, but he was perfectly matched for this particular story and for the characters therein. Also, much to my immense relief and satisfaction, there were no egregious mispronunciations----an attribute that is unfortunately all too rare.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Richard Delman
  • 26-06-15

Much better than that dog book.

Where does A Cool Breeze on the Underground rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

In the top third. Not to be boastful, but my library contains about 1000 audiobooks, so it is hard for me to make judgments like this. It's hard for me to even think of all the audiobooks I've listened to.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Neal, the protagonist, is clearly the man whom Mr. Winslow wants you to root for. And you do. He takes on the global mess that is Ally and her twisted family, complete with her heroin addiction, as just a teenager, and her scuzzy lifestyle (read: prostitution) and her scuzzier friends. Colin, the bad guy, is a truly nauseating bad guy. You just want him to get his comeuppance, as they used to say, and you are glad when he does, although this requires a couple of plot tricks that strain credulity a bit.

What does Joe Barrett bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I love Joe Barrett. It is far beyond just his gravelly voice, which is always pleasing. All the British accents he does! He separates the Cockney from the House of Lords and everything in between. I've never been a Brit-o-phile. Winslow's description of the heat in the "tube" makes you claustrophobic, just antsy to get out of there.

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

I can't do that. I am happy to let a long book take some time. This one in particular has an unusual surprise: I liked the second half much more than the first half, which is not usually the case. I believe that this is because of the extremely sweet love scenes that take place during Ally's rugged rehab. Unrequited, which makes it all the more tender, and such a contrast to the disgusting, gory pile of violence that is that dog book. If it were just that one, I would never read another book by Winslow. Now, I definitely will give it another go, old chap. With a brandy snifter in my leather chair in my cozy wood-lined personal library, with my trusty corn cob pipe at hand.

Any additional comments?

No. This was a pleasure. Thanks. I hope all your readers who might be skeptical of Mr. Winslow will give this one a shot (so to speak).

23 of 27 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Pattio
  • 08-04-15

Funny, suspenseful, good characters

I was introduced to Don Winslow by reading "The Power of the Dog" which is a tour de force in a genre I would call reality fiction. That book was obviously well researched and I learned a lot about the history, and hypocrisy of the "war on drugs.” "A Cool Breeze on the Underground" is the first in a series that I found hugely enjoyable although not as hard hitting as "The Power of the Dog" or even Winslow's more recent fiction that is set in southern California.
Hard hitting or not, I recommend "A Cool Breeze on the Underground" and for that matter, I recommend all of Don Winslow's fiction.I wish he was still writing the Neal Carey series in addition to his other excellent fiction. The story grabs your attention and keeps it to the end and along the way you will find humor as well as some thought provoking subject matter.
Joe Barrett does an excellent job portraying the somewhat quirky characters.

17 of 20 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for james c. lee
  • james c. lee
  • 18-10-12

Excellent listen

Would you listen to A Cool Breeze on the Underground again? Why?

Yes, would listen and read the book also

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

Yes, trying to figure out how Neal is going to make his next move.

Have you listened to any of Joe Barrett’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Enjoyed all of his performances

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

Yes, but unfortunatly it was not so

Any additional comments?

Going through fiction titles and picked and picked Don Winslow by accident. How have I not
listened to him or read his books.

12 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ted
  • 19-05-15

This thing's fun!

Don Winslow's a talented craftsman. The story's about a backward Pygmalion. This time the waif's a male,but the Professor's every bit the taskmaster. It's a caper tale that kept me happy from the start on. Of course Joe Barrett's a vocal master. I cannot imagine how he manages to age his characters as the plot develops. Yep, A Cool Breeze blew 15 stars out of my hard-to-please wallet.

16 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • PlantCrone
  • 23-12-14

Joe Barrett and Don Winslow.what a pair of winners

My second Don Winslow novel but first narrated by Joe Barrett is a truly compulsive listening experience.

Though I very much enjoyed the plot with it's plot of Neil and all the back story with the senator, Alli, and the other various characters from a Senator hoping to be Vice President to the pimp that push Alli into the streets, I really connected with Joe Barrets narration. He's great!

I loved this book and am looking forward to other Neil Carry stories in this series. and I'll be also looking for more narrated by Joe Barrett!

Well wrath a credit...but only if you want to purchase the other novels in this series..they are addicting!

20 of 24 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Oregon School Psych
  • 09-07-15

Terrific!

Great blend of suspense, humor, and endearing characters. Lots of surprises throughout. The reader struck a perfect balance.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Claudia H
  • Claudia H
  • 25-03-16

Not what I expected

If you could sum up A Cool Breeze on the Underground in three words, what would they be?

Clever, captivating, unexpected

What about Joe Barrett’s performance did you like?

Barrett did a great job narrating. He gave all of the characters their own voice, and it was always clear who was talking and when. If a certain character was thinking something, it was in their unique voice. He made it very enjoyable, and the tones that he used to throughout the book made you really feel what was happening. A superb performance.

Any additional comments?

This book wasn't at all what I expected. I purchased it a long time ago and I've had it sitting in my library for ages and I finally decided to listen to it. The dialog and plot is realistic, nothing seems too hard to believe, and it makes it even more appealing to listen to. I really enjoyed this book and look forward to listening to more Neal Carey mysteries

2 of 2 people found this review helpful