adbl_ms_membershipImage_includedwith_altText_B076FLV3HT
adbl_ms_membershipImage_includedwith_altText_B076FLV3HT

1 audiobook of your choice.
Stream or download thousands of included titles.
$14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy for $38.49

Buy for $38.49

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

Nightmare Alley is American author William Lindsay Gresham’s first and best-known work. The novel - most admired by noir fiction fans - was published in 1946, adapted into a film in 1947 starring Tyrone Power and subsequently printed as a graphic novel by Spain Rodriquez. During the 1940s Gresham worked as an editor for a genuine crime pulp magazine in New York, during which period he wrote this book; characters range from hustlers to Machiavellian femme fatales in a dark world of show business. Stan Carlisle is an ambitious ‘carny’ who eventually becomes a spiritualist for the rich and gullible. It appears that the world is at his feet, but not everything is as it seems….

©1946 Brandt & Hochman Literary Agents (P)2011 Naxos AudioBooks

What listeners say about Nightmare Alley

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    67
  • 4 Stars
    37
  • 3 Stars
    13
  • 2 Stars
    5
  • 1 Stars
    3
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    81
  • 4 Stars
    25
  • 3 Stars
    4
  • 2 Stars
    4
  • 1 Stars
    0
Story
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    63
  • 4 Stars
    26
  • 3 Stars
    14
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    7

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

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Classic Noir

Where does Nightmare Alley rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

One of greatest psychological thrillers, both of its time and ours.

What about Adam Sims’s performance did you like?

Excellent characterization of each voice. Realistic not cartoonish. A perfect match of voice and text.

Any additional comments?

This is a book for adults that implies much without being graphic. It is a dark, dark, look into human nature-- a cynical, and keenly observed depiction of greed, ambition, deception, and ultimately self-destruction. Plus, Gresham provides a personally researched glimpse inside the now almost-gone world of the carnival midway, not to mention the old tricks psychics still use to this day, to exploit the gullible and desperate.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Step right up, ladies & gentlemen...

Where does Nightmare Alley rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

It's in my top 5.

What about Adam Sims’s performance did you like?

There's a moment where Stanton loses it for a bit and starts laughing. I've listened to that part in this over and over. It was a caliber of performance that I've never even seen in stage plays. I was in awe of the entire thing.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

A bore

Performance was awesome but story was all over the place. The premises was good but it lacked alot.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

I could not stop listening

Big big fan of the Tyrone Power Joan Blondell movie just stumbled across the book. I absolutely loved it and the narration was some of the best I've heard.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Cannot recommend

I really disliked this book. Probably the worst book that I've not ditched outright & forced myself to finish, hoping for a late payoff. No cigar. I found the story meandering & disjointed, & I could never immerse myself into the story line or the characters due to the writing style IMHO.
But now there's even a second movie! -- a key reason I selected this book. I must've missed something big. I'll have to watch the movie but it surely cannot change my view of the book.
There are lots of high-praise Audible (& internet) reviews -- THE key reason I selected this book. And I have read a ton of Audible books so I'm pretty clear on what I do & do not like. But I guess I have to chalk this one up to 'different strokes for different folks.' cheers, mike

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great read

Great escapist entertainment, so long as you can handle the dark side. It deserves classic status,

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

A real downer

Would you try another book from William Lindsay Gresham and/or Adam Sims?

Both the reader and the story were a nightmare. Why did I expect different? I'm ridiculously optimistic.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Depression and fear.

2 people found this helpful

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Asmodeous
  • Asmodeous
  • 01-08-22

An Outstanding Story/Narration - Brilliant Audio

This is a darkly themed, psychological masterpiece. A very well written American Noir which really puts the reader in the very heart of the story. I don’t want to say too much about the story as others have described it well without ruining the plot and you just need to go in with as little knowledge as possible about the story and trust that this is one hell of a brilliant story teller. There were many stand out moments in the story but one really Wtf scene that might be the single most darkly comic moment in the history of all fiction. A special word must go to the narrator. What a wonderful performance that just grew in it ]s brilliance as the story went along - I am sure the narrator enjoyed the story and the vocalising the incredible cast of characters. I think this narration definitely added to the story and I will now be seeking out the narrators other works,

A final note is that the book has now been filmed two times - in 1946 or around then with Tyrone Power and more recently (2021) starring Bradley Cooper. I was wondering whether to watch one of the films first and then read the book, My strong advice would be to read the book first - the subtle complexity into the characters inner lives and the world described can only be glimpsed at in a film adaptation. The book is a must read and in my humble opinion is up there with the best of Steinbeck, Hemingway and Faulkner but it is an incredibly accessible read and fascinating from start to finish. This is the only book I have enjoyed that I long to re-read again at the next earliest opportunity, to savour it all again.

It is tragic that the author was not able to produce other masterpieces - I think though he may have put his very soul into the book and the pdf. that accompanies the book or introduction section if you buy the kindle or paperback book version reveal that life can also tragically imitate art.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for DHP
  • DHP
  • 01-08-22

Excellent

A great story, excellent narration. Really atmospheric and transports you into a lost carnival world. Superb.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Shane O'Bryan
  • Shane O'Bryan
  • 11-28-21

Great primer for the movie

Already one of the best 20th century American noirs, the reading by Sims is flawless. He is amazing at manifesting each character.