• The 22 Murders of Madison May

  • By: Max Barry
  • Narrated by: Helen Laser
  • Length: 10 hrs and 23 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (384 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

From the critically acclaimed author of Jennifer Government and Lexicon comes mind-bending speculative psychological suspense about a serial killer pursuing his victim across time and space, and the woman who is determined to stop him, even if it upends her own reality.

"I love you. In every world."

Young real estate agent Madison May is shocked when a client at an open house says these words to her. The man, a stranger, seems to know far too much about her and professes his love - shortly before he murders her. 

Felicity Staples hates reporting on murders. As a journalist for a midsize New York City paper, she knows she must take on the assignment to research Madison May's shocking murder, but the crime seems random, and the suspect is in the wind. That is, until Felicity spots the killer on the subway, right before he vanishes.

Soon, Felicity senses her entire universe has shifted. No one remembers Madison May, or Felicity's encounter with the mysterious man. And her cat is missing. Felicity realizes that in her pursuit of Madison's killer, she followed him into a different dimension - one where everything about her existence is slightly altered. At first, she is determined to return to the reality she knows, but when Madison May - in this world, a struggling actress - is murdered again, Felicity decides she must find the killer - and learns that she is not the only one hunting him. 

Traveling through different realities, Felicity uncovers the opportunity - and danger - of living more than one life.

©2021 Max Barry (P)2021 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

“Mind-bending.... A page-turner that also holds up in terms of its metaphysical conceit.” (The Chicago Tribune

“Barry strives to paint equally compelling portraits of the two women and comes pretty darn close. Each character assumes a fully rounded and weighty resonance.... Dynamic, suspenseful action with a light frosting of metaphysics." (The Washington Post

"Mr. Barry avoids the obvious sci-fi option of thinking up lots of exciting worlds, and takes the grittier route of imagining intrusions into the underbelly of this one.... Unnerving. He navigates the multiverse and the concepts of string theory and chaos theory with frightening conviction. Let’s hope he just made it all up.” (The Wall Street Journal)

What listeners say about The 22 Murders of Madison May

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  • Overall
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Multidimensional murder

The 22 Murders of Madison May by Max Barry is a multiverse hopping murder mystery. Madison May is a woman pursued across dimensions by a stalker who is looking for a specific version of Madison that will return his unrequited love. The problem is that he is murdering all the versions that don't fit his ideal vision. A newspaper reporter investigating one such murder case gets caught up with a group also dimension hopping who are trying to stop the killer. Each dimension has subtle differences and there is no going back. Eventually everyone lives happily ever after (except the killer).

Barry makes a valiant attempt to craft a murder mystery across an infinite set of universes. Unfortunately, there's too much left unexplained. Exactly how do different people manage to stay together? Where did the objects that manage the transition come from? Why would a group decide to dimension hop to help people? In an infinite multiverse, there must be versions where the good guys are the bad guys.

The narration is adequate with moderate character distinction.

7 people found this helpful

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Didn't really even want to finish

The story had potential to be more than what it was. Not enough sci-fi to be a sci-fi, not enough romance to be a romance, and not enough suspense to be a thriller. It fell flat while trying to find it's voice. The characters are poorly developed and I didn't care for any of them particularly. The antagonist has no redeeming features or any nuance whatsoever.

6 people found this helpful

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Did not enjoy

Finished only to see if it got better. Didn’t. Why didn’t the review explain that it was sci-fi?

6 people found this helpful

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too young for me.

Not sure the age of the author but the story itself made me feel as if I was hanging with a crowd of Gen X kids. The language, story, everything… not for me.

4 people found this helpful

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Well written and highly original

The author takes an improbable idea and pulls off a first rate and strangely believable thriller. Highly recommended!

3 people found this helpful

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Scary Start had me Wondering

But I'm glad I kept going.
I have every Max Barry book. I love most of his books, but the last one, Providence, was just okay for me. I was hoping for a return to form in this one.
It opens with a difficult and harrowing scene that set the tone for a story that was going to be hard for me to listen to. (I have the audiobook version) I wasn’t sure this was going to work for me, but by the end of the next chapter he had me hooked.
Max wrote some fairly graphic murder scenes in this book, and that is not my normal genre of fiction, but the story turns out was not really centered on the titular character of Madison May, but on Felicity Staples, the reporter that falls into the plot by accident.
It follows her on an adventure to try to save Madison May, repeatedly. I won’t spoil it for you, but suffice to say the story pulled me in and kept me on the edge of my seat all the way through to the ending, which came to a satisfying conclusion.
Helen Laser did a great job narrating and was the perfect Felicity and Maddie. Highly recommended!

2 people found this helpful

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Definitely lagged in the middle

But okay overall. Don’t believe the glowing reviews, they were listening to a different book or were paid to give glowing reviews.

2 people found this helpful

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Fun mystery

What a fun twist on a mystery!!! It’s takes a little bit to figure out it’s a little sci-fi too!! Great narrator!! Worth the credit

1 person found this helpful

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Max Barry does it again

Another intriguing premise, impeccably executed with humor and just the right amount of heart.

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so so.

I like the idea of the book, but after all it was just okay. kind of fell flat