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Summary

In this classic thriller, bestselling author Edward Stewart weaves a complex tale of sex, money, and murder.

In a private suite at a New York hospital, Beatrice “Babe” Vanderwalk Devens awakens from a seven-year coma. The socialite and fashion designer is stunned to learn that her husband, Scottie, was brought to trial twice - and acquitted - for her attempted murder.

Across town, the naked, mutilated body of a young man wearing a black leather bondage mask is found in an empty apartment in the Beaux Arts Tower, high atop the Museum of Modern Art. Seven miles away, off-duty NYPD lieutenant Vince Cardozo is relaxing on a Brooklyn beach with his twelve-year-old daughter when he gets the call.

Cardozo's investigation into the savage murder of the Beaux Arts John Doe takes him into the exclusive lairs of Manhattan's elite. Babe Devens is part of that world. When Cardozo uncovers a shocking connection between the two cases, it could topple more than just high society.

©1988 Edward Stewart (P)2014 Audible Inc.

What listeners say about Privileged Lives

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

I really enjoyed this.

Good fun, long and complex. It wouldn't win any literary awards, but that's not the point with this kind of story.

2 people found this helpful

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Once in a while .....

.... you come across a story that appeals to you. This book did that to me. I loved it. It kept me guessing to the end.

Narration was superb.

On now to book 2; let's hope that's as good

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A Hard Listen

This is a good story with a complex plot, well written with good descriptions and strong characters, firmly placed in a specific era. It should be five stars but for me it was tough in two respects. For one thing some of the depravity described was hard to stomach and, for another, the names of the rich and famous were many and complicated and I sometimes had to wind
back to work out who was who. Perhaps this says more about me than the book.

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Sick depraved storyline

I enjoy crime and detective storylines, and this has a really good feel, pace and detail that I would have enjoyed were it not for the storyline. I persevered through initial sexual descriptions, but they became too sickening to bear and ruined it.I had to give up as it just made me feel ill.

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Good story&fantastic performance

At the beginning of the listening, I thought there was also a female narrator performing the story, imagine how good the performance is! Good story with many characters.

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  • Chip Atkinson
  • 10-10-14

New York in the 80s, How low can they go...

Well I finished it! I was captivated by the New York socialite culture and its history that Stewart intertwined so well in this sordid tale of depravity. I was particularly drawn to the character Babe Vanderwal and the mystery surrounding her coma.

The story also revolves around the most depraved sexual addictions I've ever encountered in a book. Though it's never glorified, it is revealed as a thriving subculture of NYC. It includes sex with dead people, pedophiles, rape, murder, all while being filmed. Only beastiality was missing. I wonder why? Anyway, the first wave of the HIV epidemic has begun, a detail that ties many of the different lives of the characters together.

Christian Rummel does a brilliant job narration. He has to have the widest and most accurate range of voices and accents of any narrator I've listened to. If not for his work, I might have given this experience a 2 star rating.

It's a good mystery, with some good police work and great characters. But there is also an undercurrent of self hate from most every cast member that literally drips from each scene. It's definitely not a feel good novel.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Sarah
  • 18-07-14

Not great

Is there anything you would change about this book?

It moves kind of slow and the glamor aspect doesn't feel realistic. Maybe it's just the attitude the reader attaches to the main character, it could have been played with more grit.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

If you've ever listened to the Lost Fleet series, this is the same reader. It's the same voices for the characters and all I can think about is I'm listening to Black Jack Geary, same attitude and everything. It made the book difficult for me to listen to.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-07-14

Great to find a new series

Where does Privileged Lives rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This book ranks in my top 15%. It is intriguing and multilayered - hard to put down.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Privileged Lives?

I was trying to pick when it was set and the appearance of AIDS steered me to the 1980s.

What about Christian Rummel’s performance did you like?

His performance gave the impression that he had read and enjoyed the book.

Any additional comments?

I'm hoping the other books in the series are as good.

1 person found this helpful

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  • cristina
  • 05-07-14

A bit long-winded, but entertaining nevertheless

It takes a while for the story to get going because, for a very long time, it seems like you're reading two books. There's a brutal homicide and a woman who wakes up from a seven-year coma...and for almost a third of the novel, the two stories are only connected by the investigator. Then the two stories come together and the book becomes a lot more interesting. Could have been shorter, but it was still entertaining. So much so that I was hooked by the preview of the second in the series and am in the process of downloading it as I write this review.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Natalie
  • 04-10-14

Long and Boring

What disappointed you about Privileged Lives?

It had way too many characters, way to boring monologue when the detectives where together. It took way to long to pull the two separate issues together. I

What could Edward Stewart have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Shorten the story, create more suspense, and for sure cut the characters in half.

What didn’t you like about Christian Rummel’s performance?

All his voices sounded alike, especially the women.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Disapointment

Any additional comments?

Ok, what was good. Babe waking up after 7 years, and working to recapture her relationship, business, and friends. Also, the turn that her ex-husband is the person who put in the coma.

That is the story that should of been written. If not Scottie, than who?

2 people found this helpful

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  • Fran C
  • 08-06-22

Love this series

I have listened to this book multiple times and i really adore all three stories . Vince is a cool dude as well as his colleagues. Yes it’s a long story but that’s what i expected and wanted . Sorry there won’t be anymore in the series