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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good crime story and criminal biography rolled into one.
This gripping insight into the American criminal life is so convincing that it the reader has to be reminded that it is a novel. Written as Bunker was being sentenced to his third term in prison, it clearly demonstrates the difficulties facing ex prisoners on release, who lacking any other opportunities are almost inevitably drawn back into crime. In so doing, it explores...
Published on 7 Dec. 2000

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Pedestrian writing / glamorises crime
I'm not really sure what I expected but this is basically a diary ("this happened then I did this then this happened") with littelt characterisation. It's an explanation of why all the horrid things the author has done weren't his fault. As it happens I somewhat agree with him. But not enough to like his book.

Really can't see why the critics rate it.
Published on 6 Dec. 2012 by Amazon Customer


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good crime story and criminal biography rolled into one., 7 Dec. 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: No Beast So Fierce (Paperback)
This gripping insight into the American criminal life is so convincing that it the reader has to be reminded that it is a novel. Written as Bunker was being sentenced to his third term in prison, it clearly demonstrates the difficulties facing ex prisoners on release, who lacking any other opportunities are almost inevitably drawn back into crime. In so doing, it explores the both the American attitude to ex cons in maintaining this position but also refreshingly admits the role of the criminal psyche in the constant need for one more big hit.
Bunker's intelligent writing style, juxtaposed against his almost indifferent attitude to violent crime, provides a stark contrast and the book highlights the fragility of the inter relationships within the criminal communities where trust is an occupational hazard.
That Bunker finally broke free from a life of crime through this book reinforces its quality- definitely worth a read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the greatest crime novels out there, 31 July 2011
By 
Sean Wilson-blake (Mauchline, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: No Beast So Fierce (Paperback)
Just over 300 pages but drenched in vivid detail, you will forget you are reading a work of fiction. We follow a man called Max Dembo who has just been released from jail on parole. Max wants to rid himself of his former criminal life and go straight. But tensions between Max and his parole officer cause him to over the edge and abandon a 'normal life' and returns to his former life of crime.

Set in Los Angeles, we follow Max's new life which is an intense ride into L.A's seedy side that avoids clichés and tells it like it is. Actions have serious consequences and we have to go through the darkness in order to see the light. Max is such an interesting character. A man we are supposed to hate because of his bleak look on life, his violent actions and crimes turns out to be an almost likeable character. He sees life differently than most criminals seen in books. He despises society, he frequently tells us about the point on living knowing fine well our day will come to an abrupt end, he transcends life. Ed Bunker has made one of the most compelling characters I've ever read.

Not only just a violent crime book, it is also a serious character study and a very realistic one. Like I said earlier, one would think we are actually reading a true story. Because of Bunker's experience (he was a criminal before turning to writing) we are basically shown the ins and outs of how a criminal works, thinks and lives. Along with his pinpoint accuracy of Los Angeles, we are given a highly realistic thriller.

A disturbing, emotionally charged, noir driven novel, No Beast So Fierce deserves to be read by everyone at least once in their lifetime. A true masterpiece of crime fiction.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Guy Ritchie - you've been rumbled!, 9 Feb. 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: No Beast So Fierce (Paperback)
Someone once told Guy Ritchie that to be regarded as a genuine artist he should stop making gangster films and move into something a bit more original. Not so, Edward Bunker, who seems to gain credibility and ooze originality with every novel he publishes.
No Beast so Fierce is at first exactly what you would expect from an ex-con who has considered his past present and future from behind a couple of inches of iron. But where Mr Madonna fails with his pseudo-don't f*ck with me persona, Bunker is right on point and there's no mistaking the fact that his fiction is more from the back of the cell than of the mind.
In Max Dembo, Bunker creates a con who you know is a good guy really, but just a good guy who'll blow your head off if you get in his way or he feels like it. He trips from one sniff of criminality to another, picking up a woman and and picking off a cop, before finally returning to the position he is in when the book begins.
Bunker's novel is then a realistic, if depressing exploration of how we condition those we imprison, and how they, in turn, struggle to meet with the separate set of rules we impose when they are returned to 'normal' society.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic, 24 April 2013
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Finished this last night and seem to have rattled through it quite quickly, mainly because the story keeps you engrossed. The style feels authentic but at times the use of 'big words' seems to be a bit forced and more about showing off his vocabulary rather than being necessary for the story itself, (although in a way seems to suit the character). I dont know whether to like the main character or not, and perhaps this is quite refreshing when so often the good/bad guys are so clear cut.
I would definately reccommend this book it is a good story and feels like you get a real insight into another persons point of view.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Big Vern meets Art Pepper, 10 Dec. 2012
By 
Jl Adcock "John Adcock" (Ashtead UK) - See all my reviews
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Edward Bunker's "No Beast So Fierce" is a much-rated piece of crime writing, and for most of the time you can see why. It's tough, visceral, pulls no punches, and gives an all-too-real picture of what it must have been like to live as a professional criminal during this time in the United States.

The central character - based pretty much on Bunker's own experiences one suspects - is difficult to like on any level, but still comes over as an appallingly fascinating, damaged man around which to base what follows. Fresh from prison, the early chapters of the book are concerned with the struggle to go straight and keep away from crime, but, unsurprisingly, that doesn't last. Before long, we're spending time reading about ongoing criminal activity, day to day living from hand to mouth, the buzz of being on the wrong side of the law, and the sheer thrill of being involved in violent crime. The story then spirals into more violence, death, betrayal and revenge.

Along the way, Bunker's prose is occasionally verbose, like a well-read man who wants to show his learning, but at times there is seriously well-considered reflection on what it's like to live on the edge of society as an outsider, and how that alienation fuels the need to destroy and kill. But some of this stuff is also quite comedic - perhapos unintentionally. The tough guy violence is almost comic book - think Big Vern from Viz, and elsewhere the frenetic, drug-fuelled pace of the narrative is like jazz man Art Pepper's ramblings in Straight Life.

It's a brutal but engaging read, but perhaps not helped too much by the overly fawning introduction and short biog of Bunker that tops and tails the Kindle edition. Let's not forget, the guy was a crook.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Gritty, eloquent and inevitable, 9 Jan. 2011
By 
Mingo Bingo "Mingobingo" (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: No Beast So Fierce (Paperback)
You may know Edward Bunker as Mr Blue in Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs. He was actually an unrepentant, charming and extremely eloquent career criminal. He spent 18 years of his life behind bars for various violent crimes, mostly robbery. No Beast so fierce was written while serving one of his sentences.

So, as you would expect this is about as realistic and genuine a crime novel as you can get. What you don't expect is just how good Bunker's writing is. For someone with little education and this being a debut novel, the quality of the prose is astonishing. Stripped back, gritty, but also seeing the poetry in the life of crime, whilst never being affected or forced, you have to admire the man's craft.

'No Beast so fierce' follows Max Dembo in the weeks after his release from prison and his inevitably impossible attempts to stay on the straight and narrow. Initially he avoids contact with ex-cons and friends that he had before he was incarcerated, but as his parole officer puts pressure on him, Dembo snaps, attacks the man and becomes a fugitive once more. Setting up a heist big enough to allow him to flee America he gathers a crew and begins to plan. The novel takes place mostly in the events that lead up to the robbery and the aftermath. The way in which Bunker constructs the book is brilliant, relationships that seem fleeting filler at the start of the novel hold great importance later on and every element in the plot serves a purpose.

There is so much detail in here, so much criminal knowledge, that it draws the most authentic picture of the life of crime I think I have ever read. At times it is hard to remember that this is fiction and not an autobiography, particularly as it is written in the first person.

What makes it stand out is the complete lack of moral compass or apologetic tone. At the risk of using a cliche, this book tells it like it is. Dembo is neither a likeable character, nor a totally evil one, he is simply what he is. This sense of the balance between nature and nurture suffuses the book, but Bunker never passes judgement on it, just presents it for the reader. And it is this that makes it such a disturbing and exciting read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This is Superb, 2 May 2013
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I was interested in reading some true-crime fiction by someone involved in the criminal world that wasn't poorly written, which is often the case. Memoirs of bad guys are fun, but normally really clunky and one-dimensional in the reading - not this, though. This is great. A complicated character, with a great ear for prose and the romance of the city. I'd recommend this wholeheartedly. It's not a crime novel, but a novel steeped in the criminal lifestyle. Character and not plot-driven. Excellent.
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5.0 out of 5 stars my favorite book of all time, 23 July 2009
By 
D. J. Davies - See all my reviews
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This review is from: No Beast So Fierce (Paperback)
This book rules!!! The story starts with the main charctor Max Dembo being released from an 8 yr prison stretch, hes determined to go straight, but soon gets sucked into his past life. might not sound very orginal but the story is so well wriitten i couldnt put it down. the story keeps building and building for an awesome ending.
my dog is called max dembo, ha
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5.0 out of 5 stars first time author but not the last, 18 Mar. 2014
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Really cracking read.THis author knows what he is talking about.HE uses years of experience and observations to weave an interesting and believable story
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Pedestrian writing / glamorises crime, 6 Dec. 2012
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I'm not really sure what I expected but this is basically a diary ("this happened then I did this then this happened") with littelt characterisation. It's an explanation of why all the horrid things the author has done weren't his fault. As it happens I somewhat agree with him. But not enough to like his book.

Really can't see why the critics rate it.
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No Beast So Fierce
No Beast So Fierce by Edward Bunker (Paperback - 2 May 2008)
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