• The Big Sleep

  • Philip Marlowe, Book 1
  • By: Raymond Chandler
  • Narrated by: Scott Brick
  • Length: 6 hrs and 33 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (282 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The iconic first novel from crime fiction master Raymond Chandler, featuring Philip Marlowe, the "quintessential urban private eye" (Los Angeles Times). 

A dying millionaire hires private eye Philip Marlowe to handle the blackmailer of one of his two troublesome daughters, and Marlowe finds himself involved with more than extortion. Kidnapping, pornography, seduction, and murder are just a few of the complications he gets caught up in.

©1939 Raymond Chandler (P)2020 Random House Audio

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What listeners say about The Big Sleep

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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I miss Ray Porter

Why Audible scrapped every one of his narrations, I'll never know. Nobody reads Chandler like Ray.

7 people found this helpful

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Great Story— Reader not so great

I am a HUGE Raymond Chandler fan, and The Big Sleep is one of my all time favorite books (and movies!). The first version of this book that Audible had, I listened to the sample and instantly knew the reader would kill the story. I was really hopeful when I saw a new unabridged version was being released. This reader is marginally better. Rather than reading the story *well*, Scott Brick attempts to take a “hard-boiled” style, and all it does is detract from Chandler’s writing. (Chandler really knows how to describe rooms and clothes!). Also, the musical interlude between each chapter seemed out of place and unnecessary; a poor attempt at giving it a radio drama vibe.

Nevertheless, I stuck it out so I could listen to one of my favorite books while working.

7 people found this helpful

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no one writes a simile like Raymond Chandler

got to keep track to keep all the characters straight. high brow fiction now,pulp fiction then. how we've regressed.

2 people found this helpful

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Crime noir

Story was good Chandler. Narrator was a little too dramatic for my taste. Writing was typical Chandler which I love. I think his novels may be better read than listened to. When I read a novel I create the voices in my head. When a novel is narrated I believe the narrator ought to be relatively neutral so as to leave something to the listener's imagination. I know not everyone will agree with me on this point.

2 people found this helpful

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Really appreciate the old radio show feel.

I get that some don’t like the music between chapters and that’s okay. Personally I dig the way it builds atmosphere and adds a vintage noire feel to the story. It takes me back to the movies and radio shows immediately and invokes the feelings so ingrained by those old movies and serials.

I can also see why some don’t think Brick is right for the part. I have the benefit of 1.) not having heard any other narrator and 2.) being a long time Brick fan. Sure he gets a little overwrought in a couple places but it’s his interpretation and he’s otherwise pretty spot on.

IMO? Absolutely credit worthy.

1 person found this helpful

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Simply the best

It's impossible to overstate the importance of The Big Sleep on the mystery genre, and on me personally. While not the first private-eye story, it is arguably the most poetic, the most vivid, and the most inscrutable. I've read it, or listened to it, five or six times, and I still don't fully understand every plot point. (Even Raymond Chandler himself was unable to provide an explanation for who killed the chauffeur when the producers of the film version asked him.)

Surprisingly, it doesn't really matter. The Big Sleep is a literary time machine, transporting the reader back to 1930s Los Angeles, when crime had a different moral code, and so did the men who solved them.

Extortion, blackmail, murder -- these are the components that comprise Philip Marlowe's first case. As Marlowe walks down the mean streets of his noir world, we come to know one of literature's most intriguing (and, as a result, most heavily imitated) gumshoes: a man as apt to solve his problems with a cutting one-liner, or by punching somebody in the face, as through sheer mental deduction. But although Marlowe talks tough, he has an unimpeachable moral center that makes him better than his surroundings.

The Big Sleep is perhaps my favorite mystery novel. I can quote entire sections of it verbatim, and Chandler's dialogue drips off the tongue like honey. I couldn't love this book more, despite the narrative challenges. And every time I read it, I feel confident that *next time* I'll be able to fully crack the code.

I own and love Elliot Gould's unabridged audiobook performance, which is excellent. But I was intrigued to learn that Scott Brick had recorded it as well. Ever since I heard Mr. Brick's audiobook of Helter Skelter, he's been one of my favorite narrators. I'm pleased to report he's more than equal to the task. A sensational performance of a sensational novel.

1 person found this helpful

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Chandler is Incredible, Brick is Marlowe, Music is Annoying

Raymond Chandler came right out if the gate, in his first novel, as an author worthy of the Golden Age of Mystery category. “The Big Sleep” is first rate classic noir. Scott Brick delivers to the reader a streetwise, world weary Marlowe so perfectly in line with Bogart it gave me chills. The interstitial music pulls the reader out of the work every time it juts in but it’s worth putting up with to get the rest.

1 person found this helpful

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Didn't age well

The reader was great, but the misogyny and homophobia were really hard to take. Won't be listening to another Chandler story.

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Great writing, overwrought performance

I love these Raymond Chandler novels but the drama is in the writing and the reader doesn’t have to do so much punching with his voice as this one does.

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Incredible

I thoroughly enjoyed this through all its twists and turns. Some absolute shockers along the way!

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