• The Blackbird Papers

  • A Novel
  • By: Ian Smith
  • Narrated by: Brent Jennings
  • Length: 11 hrs and 47 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (53 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

When Professor Wilson Bledsoe is brutally murdered, two loathsome white supremacists seem like the obvious culprits. But Bledsoe's younger brother Sterling, an FBI agent in New York, has other ideas. A look around Wilson's lab and interviews with his students, his fellow professors, and the college's president pique Sterling's curiosity about Wilson's nearly-completed project on the mysterious death of hundreds of local blackbirds. But when a tape supposedly incriminating Sterling is sent to the FBI, Sterling becomes a man on the run. Determined to clear his name and bring his brother's murderer to justice, Sterling finds that his brother's project has far-reaching and sinister implications that tie together his brother's college, big-money interests in the Midwest, and some very influential people at the highest levels of government.
©2004 Ian Smith (P)2004 Books on Tape

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What listeners say about The Blackbird Papers

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Predictable plot, awful narration

After all the hype associated with this title (and the fact that it was written by a fellow DMS-grad), I must say I was very disappointed. The plot was predictable, the ending telegraphed well within the first half of the novel, and--worst of all--the narration was dreadful.

I also listened to the sampler for the abridged version and found the author's reading to be preferable. Now that I've finished the book in its unabridged form, I can't help thinking that maybe the abridged version would be better on both counts (content and narration).

The 3 star rating I gave this book was definitely on the generous side.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent

This is excellent. I really loved this book and couldn't put it down. The Blackbird Papers kept me on the edge and always wanting more. For a first timer this was an excellent mystery/suspense.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A womderful Murder Mystery

I?m a fan of mystery, intrigue and suspense so I was delighted to hear The Blackbird Papers would satisfy my reading requirements in this genre. New author, Ian Smith has added to the literary scene by effectively writing a great book. I certainly was not disappointed when I sat down to read this book and further think people who like to read a good ?whodunit? will be thrilled with this novel.

I don?t know what to talk about first. The characters are: Prize winning science Professor Wilson Bledsoe, his lovely wife Kay, the president of Dartmouth College Dr. Wallace Mortimer, and FBI agent and brother to Professor Bledsoe, Sterling Bledsoe. The limited number of supporting characters further enhances the ease in remembering who is who and who did what, as the reader embarks on a journey to find out who killed Professor Bledsoe. First, who would have reason to kill him and secondly, what was their motive? As the mystery unfolds it is discovered Professor Bledsoe was conducting secret research on the overwhelming numbers of dead blackbirds found in the serene countryside of Hanover, New Hampshire and for his gruesome discovery, somebody wanted him dead. Those close to the professor and his research are equal targets and Sterling has to jump in and get up to speed quickly before the tables are turned on him.

I read the book in two days; I simply couldnt put it down. There were several times when I uttered an audible gasp, my breath caught and I experienced shudders. Sterling is determined to find out who would do such a thing to his peaceable brother.

Discovering & reading The Blackbird Papers was an elation. I felt the book was well written, wonderfully researched and elegantly apportioned with the accoutrements of suspense and intrigue. I had reservations about reading it only because I thought the author might use words, which would require the companionship of a dictionary but I was wrong.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

I couldn't even finish this...

While the plot seemed moderately interesting, the narration was so excruciating--slow, awkward, tedious, with emphasis in odd places and no differentiation between characters or moods--I was unable to finish listening to this. This is one of only 2 or 3 audiobooks in many, many years of listening that I was unable/unwilling to complete. One star is too many, but I couldn't figure out how to give it a zero.

3 people found this helpful

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

Loved this book!

I read this book years ago, around 2008. It quickly became a favorite and I loved it. I was quite familiar with the town and campus, so perhaps that affected my preference. At the time, either I forgot to rate it or the option to do so was not there . Either way, it is now 2020, and it had vanished from my account. So, after having just completed «The Unspoken » by the same author, I am listening to it again.

1 person found this helpful

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

Enjoyed the book...

The story was good with a few surprises I wasn't expecting, which is always nice.
One thing I really liked is the story is about a black main character and the book was narrated by a black man.

1 person found this helpful

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

Keep you on your toes!!!

Surprise ending, took a little too long to reveal all the secrets but it came together in the end. I felt like I was watching a movie.

1 person found this helpful

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

Wow!

Once the story started it was hard to turn away. The suspense was pleasantly nerve-racking. Furthermore, the famial name references and to have part of the story take place in a part of the world that is home is an added bonus.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

book written for the big screen

I enjoyed the book. I do agree there is too much regarding the Science of the Blackbirds. If there is a movie, I hope there's a bigger twist of the murderer. . .

1 person found this helpful

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

Great story! The mystery kept me guessing!

The story was great, but the narrator was just okay. He could have read with more passion.

1 person found this helpful