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Publisher's Summary

A new novel from Ron Hansen, the award-winning author of The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, about an iconic American criminal of the old West: legendary outlaw Billy the Kid.

Born Henry McCarty, Billy the Kid was a diminutive, charming, blond-haired young man who, growing up in New York, Kansas, and later New Mexico, demonstrated a precocious dexterity at firing six-shooters with either hand - a skill that turned him into an American legend of the old West. He was smart, well spoken, attractive to both white and Mexican women, a good dancer, and a man with a nose for money, horses, and trouble. His spree of crimes and murders has been immortalized in dime Westerns, novels, and movies. But the whole story of his short, epically violent life has never been told as it has been here.

In The Kid, Ron Hansen showcases his masterful research and inimitable style as he breathes life into history, bringing listeners back into the late 1800s and into Billy's boyhood as a ranch hand just trying to wrest a fortune from an unforgiving landscape. We are with Billy in every gunfight and horse theft, and we get to know him in full before his grand death in a hail of bullets in 1881 at the age of 21. Original, powerful, and swiftly told, The Kid is an unforgettable listen about a uniquely American antihero.

©2016 Ron Hansen (P)2016 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about The Kid

Average Customer Ratings
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great listen

Great biography on Billy the Kid, author has a great writing style that takes you back in time.

12 people found this helpful

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Incredible

Every aspect of this book is excellent! The story is complete and in-depth. The narrator is absolutely the best and perfect for this era. I highly recommend this book for those who love this period and or folks who just love a great story!

5 people found this helpful

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An Outlaw Brought to Life

The brief and violent life of William H. Bonney is fleshed out in this work of historical fiction, painting Billy the Kid as an inventive young charmer who happens to be ambidextrous with a six-shooter. Orphaned at 14, shot dead by Pat Garrett at 21, he packed the years between as a horse thief, rustler, gambler, escape artist and outlaw who charmed the ladies as well as his public.

Ron Hansen’s account is chock full of droll cowboy humor.

“I’m a motherless child and I’m so broke I can’t even pay attention,” says a prospective gunslinger. The Kid replies, “Well, I grew up with nothing and I still got most of it. Welcome to our fraternity.”

Be prepared to remember lots of names. One of them is Lew Wallace, a former Union general and the governor of New Mexico Territory with whom Billy tried to negotiate clemency, but Wallace was mostly distracted by authoring “Ben Hur,” the greatest US bestseller until “Gone With the Wind.”

Personally, I grew weary of the recitation of full-length song lyrics of the era. Maybe it would be less intrusive in print form. But it’s a well-told yarn, and Mark Bramhall is just the one to spin it.

3 people found this helpful

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loved it

Great follow up to one of my favorite books ever, The Assassination of Jesse James...., I love the historical fact with the dialogue added in. Performance was excellent.

2 people found this helpful

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A misunderstood hero? Or a crazed gunslinger?

I'm glad I enjoyed this book in audio book versus reading as like so many other reviews as it would've been reading a history book & been quite dry. The narrator Mark Bramhall made the book so much more enjoyable with his talents of voices & accents. Having been a child of the '80s & enjoying the movies "Young Guns" & its sequel was all I knew about Billy the Kid. This having been my first Ron Hansen novel I did enjoy what story telling there was. If you have an interest in Billy the Kid I would recommend the audio book over the novel.

2 people found this helpful

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Good story, false character internal dialogue and feelings

Good story and narration. The author would often describe characters internal dialogue or feelings in profound detail in a moment that was impossible to know (literal seconds before death). Made me question the often accuracies of the story.

1 person found this helpful

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Excellent story telling!

I really enjoyed this book. Billy the Kid has always been an enigma, gaining so much fame and subsequent lore after only 21 years of age. The narrator for this book is one of, if not the the best I’ve heard yet. Superb in every respect.

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Great historic telling

Very well done account of The Kids life. The narrator handled his duties very well.

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Junk!

“The kid was overwhelmed with his seeing.”
How’s that for a line? The narrator plays everyone with the same “dumb hick” accent and Billy is, by far, made to sound the dumbest.

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Entertaining Fact and Fiction

Was an enjoyable listen, and there are many well researched facts contained. There is also a lot of filler of conversations between characters that is clearly fiction, including sexual descriptions of events that are clearly fictitious and conjecture. Overall the facts were interesting and put together a clear timeline. Would have been better to leave the filler out and stick to the facts.