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Summary

When three small-time country gangsters break out of jail, they return to the only life they know - small-town bank robbing. When Bowie, the youngest of them, falls in love with Keechie, one of the older gangster's cousins, it becomes a classic tale of love with nowhere to hide and no hope of reprieve.

Public Domain (P)2016 Steve Scherf Audiobooks

Critic reviews

"One of the great forgotten novels of the '30s." (Raymond Chandler)

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  • Overall
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  • Marc
  • 31-08-16

The start of the Noir genre

Would you consider the audio edition of Thieves Like Us to be better than the print version?

Absolutely. The narration brought the story to life. It was much easier to listen to than it would have been to read.

What did you like best about this story?

It’s the late 1930’s – the depression has hit America full bore. Banks are failing, people are losing their life savings and the bankers seem to have enough money to keep their extravagant lifestyles.
Thieves Like Us was written by Edward Anderson, published in 1937, and represents the start of the “Noir” genre, popularized by writers like Hammett and Chandler. The story focuses on three criminals who escape from an Oklahoma prison and revert to the one thing that they know well – robbing banks. The language that Anderson uses is vivid; representative of the pulp fiction of the time. He doesn’t pull punches with the dialog, racial interaction is described as it was in the 1930’s in the south, and violence is treated matter-of-factly, neither sectionalizing it, nor downplaying it. This is a classic noir novel, and to some it may feel dated, but it is very representative of the style of pulp fiction of that time, but more important, it captures the spirit of how people lived through that time.
Steve Scherf does a great job reading this. As usual, he makes it easy to distinguish the characters and nails the pace and timing perfectly. To be honest, I’m not sure I’d have enjoyed the book if I was reading it – Scherf’s narration really made this a delight to listen to.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Glaide
  • 09-08-16

An engaging, captivating listening experience!

Would you listen to Thieves Like Us again? Why?

Yes, to further explore the logic of the thieves and their interpersonal relationships.

What did you like best about this story?

I enjoyed the relationships between the crooks and how Steve Scherf was able to accurately portray each character so that I could be in the scene with them ...robbing banks, running from the law, telling jokes! Each character's voice had a unique tone and inflection; so well delivered that it was easy to detect who was speaking. Although the plot was very familiar, Steve was able to bring a fresh and natural approach to the voices which made me eager to listen whenever I could!

Which character – as performed by Steve Scherf – was your favorite?

Mobley, because I could visualize his face even his clothes and style of walking At times I liked him and then he would perform a despicable act so I'd feel a strong dislike. I liked how the excellent depiction of Mobley could swing my emotions.

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

Ever loyal, never without heart

Any additional comments?

I look forward to acquiring more of Steve Scherf's audiobooks to enjoy during the next long Alberta winter!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • A faithful reader
  • 25-04-16

Captivating

You will be pulled into the story of three gangsters from the thirties who are fearless when it comes to robbing banks and shooting cops. Their friendship shows a softer side in their loyalty to one another. Steve Scherf keeps the listener engaged and wanting more as each chapter ends.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • asdfasdfasdf
  • 07-07-17

Sound Effects

After seeing two criterion blu-rays adapted from this source novel recently, Robert Altman's Thieves Like Us and Nicholas Ray's They Live By Night, I decided maybe I should listen to the audiobook. I was delighted to discover it at a reasonable price. A five-hour audiobook is like one potato-chip to us junkies, so I was relieved not to have to blow a credit on it. But I discovered the reason why this book is so cheap, it is riddled with stupid, annoying, distracting and unnecessary sound effects. Every time something that has a sound is described in the narrative, you hear it. Sirens, engine idling, etc. Super annoying. I literally was waiting for the other shoe to drop the whole time and could not even pay attention to the writing. So even at the chump change run time of 5 hours I did the whole thing at double speed in order to flush it as quickly as possible and get on to something good. Luckily I know the story well enough from the two movie versions, each of which was a better telling of this story anyway.