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No Beast So Fierce

4.07  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,179 Ratings  ·  79 Reviews
After serving an eight-year term in Folsom State Prison, Max Dembo is determined not to return to his former way of life, in a realistic, suspenseful study of the pressures facing ex-convicts as they attempt to negotiate the straight world. Reissue.
Mass Market Paperback, 319 pages
Published 2008 by No Exit Press (first published January 28th 1972)
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Tom Tabasco
Mar 29, 2013 Tom Tabasco rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ed Bunker, the author of No Beast So Fierce, is the only guy in the movie Reservoir Dogs who actually looks like a real criminal. That's because he was one, for a long time. And then he was in jail for a long time. This is his first novel, very auto-biographical, with some elements of fiction, and, despite the ugliness of the subject matter (real crime), it pulsates with such a raw energy, such an intensity, that at the end of it, when you close it, you have to raise your eyebrows and go: Wow! A ...more
Paul Bryant
Sep 28, 2007 Paul Bryant rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: crime fiction fans
This book stays burned into my mind long after many better written novels have faded. A fine portrait of a very nasty individual.
This is as interesting a book, and as intelligent a writer as I've read all year. It is searing, authentic, original, simple...moving, uncompromising...

I don't know quite how to review it, except to say that I'll pound the table on this one.

If you liked Don Carpenter's Hard Rain, and John Williams' Stoner, and like crime novels and thrillers, and psychologically complex and existential characters, try this book. It is that good.
Apr 16, 2014 Still rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those Who Are New To Crime Lit
Recommended to Still by: The Whole Wide World
Shelves: unable-to-finish

Max's black friend from prison breaks out, Max drives up north above the Bay area to pick him up and find him a safe house while the authorities are looking for him. Max intends to set him up as a potential partner-in-crime back in L.A., see?

This is the description of the neighborhood of the pad Max has found for his pal:

We found him a furnished room in a large Victorian house. The room was quite spacious, on the second floor. A huge window overlooked the front lawn and tree-shaded street.
Il primo noir del Signore del Noir, parola di James Ellroy (e io dello zio James mi fido sempre...).
Veramente bello, anche se ogni tanto pare un po' perdersi e dilungarsi.

In libertà condizionata, Max non ce la fa e nonostante le convinzioni e le ripromesse alla fine ricasca, come non era mai cascato prima.
Il tutto sullo sfondo di una LA insanguinata, drogata, corrotta e violenta.
Il tutto mettendo in gioco valori, definendoli e poi sbaragliandoli.
Nessuno è libero in questa società. Le azioni del

Perry Whitford
Oct 05, 2015 Perry Whitford rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Authentic crime fiction, written behind bars by a man who spent nearly twenty years in the hatch for all manor of crimes, some violent. Edward Bunker doubtless called on actual experience for much of the story, which is not so much a plot as an unfolding of events.

His fictional protagonist, Max Dembo, is a career criminal, dreaming of going straight the day of his release after serving an eight year stretch, his longest incarceration. Upon hitting the streets, however, lack of employment opport
In my quest to escape from the safe little box the books I read normally fall within, I've challenged myself to pick up things that aren't usually me. Edward Bunker's No Beast So Fierce was my first attempt to do that. This is an autobiographical crime novel. It's written as the memoir of Max Dembo, a parolee from Folsom Prison who has just completed an eight-year term. Trust me when I say that this isn't the type of book I'd normally choose to read. Keep that in mind too, while you read this re ...more
Raegan Butcher
Apr 12, 2008 Raegan Butcher rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent debut novel from Eddie Bunk. Drips with authenticity.
Apr 03, 2016 Alex rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Di con este libro porque estaba buscando el de Jackie Brown y descubrí que Mr. Blue de Perros de reserva era escritor. Esta es su primer novela y la neta no defrauda. Edward Bunker fue ladrón, asalta bancos, narco, pimp, preso. Toda esta experiencia la usa para narrar esta novela en la forja el retrato de un individuo desesperado que al salir de la cárcel intenta ser una persona de bien sólo para encontrarse atrapado en los bajos mundos de Los Ángeles rodeado por un espiral de ira y desesperació ...more
ABC Group
Nov 01, 2012 ABC Group rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bunker's debut novel is hailed by some as a masterpiece of crime fiction. James Ellroy, William Styron and even Quentin Tarantino all sing his praises. Bunker even wound up in Reservoir Dogs as Mr. Blue.

I read a lot of books considered to be crime fiction and Bunker stands apart in what would be more appropriately termed prison fiction. Max Dembo finds himself released from prison after an year stint. Now he's trying to live the life of the straight and narrow. Max's conviction is like that of a
Apr 23, 2012 Simon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
No Beast So Fierce by Edward Bunker

This was Ed Bunkers debut novel that was written
while he was in prison and looking for a way out
of a life of perpetual crime and imprisonment
that seemed to be his destiny.
It also seemingly was the destiny for the main
character in this book Max Dembo who we meet
while he is inside awaiting release on Parole,
he is a career criminal who was schooled in
crime while working his way through the
childcare system in the US and is hard as nails
as he proves on his
Bunker sabe lo que hace.
Oct 07, 2014 Jim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Written by the late Edward Bunker, who went from being an ex-con to prolific writer and then actor. Bunker, played "Mr. Blue" in Quentin Tarantino's "Reservoir Dogs" in 1992. Bunker's "No Beast So Fierce" takes place in the mid 1960's. Protagonist, Max Dembo gets paroled from prison after serving 8 years. However life outside of a prison cell is too difficult for Dembo to grasp onto. Dembo quickly jumps in with the wrong type of crowd for him to stay on the straight and narrow. Even Dembo's firs ...more
Procyon Lotor
Delinquente! Sicuramente scritto peggio dei Promessi Sposi, quantunque Bunker sappia scrivere, salvo che lui fu veramente un Bravo, e mentre i Bravi narrati nel libro sono verosimili o autobiografici addirittura, quelli nei PS sono delle macchiette irredimibili che mostrano solo (per fortuna dell'Autore) che di certi soggetti, al massimo ne ebbe nozione con racconti di terza mano o clich libreschi. Per cui se parliamo di importanza letteraria, vinceranno sempre i libri "PS", se parliamo di infor ...more
pierlapo  quimby
Oct 03, 2012 pierlapo quimby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: anglofoni
Max Dembo sa di aver sbagliato e ne ha pagato le conseguenze.
Ora vuol provare a ricominciare, a sistemarsi, come una persona normale.
E ci prova. Forse, però, non abbastanza. O forse, per uno come lui non c'è altra via che quella del crimine
E' un poco di buono, in fondo, e all'occorrenza sa mascherarsi da bestia feroce.
Alla fine, resta il tremendo rimpianto per un'occasione sprecata.
Jan 17, 2015 Guy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ed Bunker was Mr. Blue in Reservoir Dogs. That was when I first became aware of his existence. Then I did some research. So I have wanted to read something by him for quite a while now. The library only has his work in digital format. So I had to wait until I got a reader. Now I have a Kindle and I downloaded No Beast So Fierce. It is his first "novel." I use quotes because I am certain the work is autobiographical. Most of it. The ending obviously is fiction. This is a man who was in the system ...more
Ronald Koltnow
Jan 16, 2016 Ronald Koltnow rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Edward Bunker's 1973 masterpiece about an ex-con attempting to go straight is one of the essential noir classics. Realizing that the cards are stacked against him, Max Dembo struggles for an easy score that will get him out of the country forever. Nothing in easy in crime or in life. This close-up view of L.A.'s underworld and life in prison is written with a journalist's precision, although the author was largely uneducated and spent most of his life in institutions. Bunker wrote NO BEAST in pr ...more
Leggere A Colori
“Come una bestia feroce” è la storia di Max Dembo, alter ego dell’autore, che esce dopo anni di prigione e tenta di rifarsi una vita normale a Los Angeles. Peccato che presto un’altra verità si rivelerà a Max: per uno come lui è la città “buona” ad essere sbagliata, il crimine è l’unica paradossale sicurezza.
Edward Bunker, il Mr Blue ne “le Iene”, ha trascorso metà della sua vita adulta in carcere e l’altra metà a scrivere del carcere.
Sapere questo può aiutare a capire la potenza della sua scrit
Sep 06, 2014 Federica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Domanda: Il grande romanzo dei bassifondi di Los Angeles? Risposta: Come una bestia feroce, di Edward Bunker. Il giudizio si potrebbe anche discutere. Ma è incontestabile che si tratti, per la precisione e il rigore dei dettagli, del più bel libro mai scritto sul tema della rapina a mano armata, un'attività criminosa dalla quale la fiction ha sempre attinto esagerandone e travisandone la realtà. Qui invece abbiamo un'analisi accurata e vera della psicopatologia criminale" (prefazione di James E ...more
Pablo Renzi
Sep 15, 2015 Pablo Renzi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Per sapere come andava a finire sono stato alzato fino a un'ora impossibile, tipo le undici e un quarto, e ne è valsa la pena, che la storia di Max Dembo ti prende un po' alla volta e alla fine è come se ci fossi anche tu con lui a fare quelle robe che non posso dire perché spoilerspoilernonciprovareneancheshhh, che poi cosa vuoi che faccia uno che all'inizio del romanzo viene presentato come un criminale? Piantala.
L'unica parte un po' tirata via è il capitolo prima dell'epilogo, che sbriga in
by Ax
Aug 16, 2015 by Ax rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: noir
Nato per delinquere

Uscito di prigione dopo 8 anni, Max vuole rientrare a far parte della Società restando lontano dal crimine. Il fatto è che non ne è abbastanza convinto, che il richiamo delle rapine, della violenza, della droga, delle situazioni al limite è più forte delle buone intenzioni, e così decide di continuare ad essere ciò che in fondo è sempre stato: un delinquente. Il tutto, al di là dello sguardo rivolto alla vita delinquenziale, raccontato con andatura fittamente soporifera.

May 31, 2016 Cosimo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
El libro esta dividido en 2 parte:
La primera,y que me gusto más,cuenta el afán del protag.
por reinsertarse en la sociedad,la vida en prisión,sus
amistades y reflexiones sobre el mundo criminal.
La segunda,de mayor acción,narra su vuelta a los
robos y azañas delictivas.Como un todo,el libro
me gusto aunque la primera parte me pareció
mejor por el tono reflexivo y existencial que posee.
Cita:"La delincuencia era mi vida, donde me sentía
cómodo y no desgarrado en mi interior.
Y aunque era una libre elecció
Jun 03, 2016 Tom rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I always liked STRAIGHT TIME, the underrated Dustin Hoffman gem from the late 70's, and while I wanted to read this book, which inspired it, I was afraid its naturalism would grind me down. I need not have worried; it was both exciting and emotional, self-pitying and self-aware, problematic and progressive, all in a good way. You really feel for Max Dembo even though he can't really feel for himself, and you can see the shit hitting the fan a mile away, but it's not predictable so much as it is ...more
Diversamente dalla maggior parte dei libri che ho letto non riesco ad avere un'opinione ben definita su questo, perché per me è stata una lettura a metà strada tra l'avvincente e il suo esatto opposto. E non me l'aspettavo. Non me l'aspettavo perché viste le premesse della trama immaginavo una storia che mi avrebbe del tutto assorbita, dato l'argomento particolare e a mio avviso interessante. E visto anche il passato criminale dell'autore prima di scrivere questo libro quasi autobiografico, circ ...more
Retrospectiva Coreana
Reseña: http://koreanretrospective.wordpress....

No hay bestia tan feroz, que se lee en un respiro, es una gran novela negra; una buenísima novela sobre los bajos fondos de Los Ángeles. Pero eso es bastante fácil de imaginar. Bunker intenta retratar a los presos que salen de la cárcel, su situación, sus problemas y los impedimentos con los que la mayoría se topan a la hora de rehacer su vida. Es difícil ponerse en el lugar de alguien cuya vida ha transcurrido entre la peor de las miserias; la sit
Mar 08, 2016 Jodell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: foster-care, prison
This book describes and depicts the realities of life once a person is released from prison. I agree with the part of law enforcement and correctional agencies that most prison environments are dehumanizing and not oriented towards "rehabilitation" or developing personal empathy or insights that will lead to positive changes.

However, I also believe that some convicts rationalize their behavior to blame external circumstances or experiences for leading to criminal behavior. There is no behavior w
Aug 29, 2014 Carlo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dopo una vita trascorsa tra riformatorio e prigione, Max Dembo vorrebbe provare a reinserirsi nella società, forte anche di quel po’ di cultura che si è fatto in prigione (perché ‘in otto anni anche un cretino’ se la farebbe). Uscito in libertà condizionata, scopre ben presto che quella vita non fa per lui e, del resto, la società non sembra poi così ben intenzionata ad accoglierlo: meglio tornare alla vecchia vita, malgrado i rischi siano sempre in agguato per cancellare i pochi momenti luminos ...more
Max Dembo è un figlio di puttana, infanzia difficile tra famiglie affidatarie e istituti e riformatori, allevato a furti e droga.
Poi, ovviamente il carcere. Una lunga permanenza, otto anni, una bella fetta di giovinezza . Studia nel carcere, Max. Ci crede nella vita nuova, fuori. E’ consapevole di ciò che è stato, si condanna, ma contemporaneamente si assolve. E’ un prodotto della società.
Fuori dal carcere la spirale “malavitosa” riprende.
Ineluttabile destino, per chi fuori non ha altri aggan
Mika Auramo
Edward Bunkerin rikosromaani on kivikovaksi keitettyä väkivaltadraamaa. Monelta osin omaelämäkerrallisia piirteitä sisältävä teos ei jätä lukijaansa kylmäksi.

Päähenkilö on Bunkerin oloinen Max Dembo, joka vapautuu vankilasta kärsittyään kahdeksan vuoden tuomion. Eletään 1960-luvun Los Angelesissa, ja karu ehdonalaisuus odottaa paatunutta rikollista ja väärentäjää.

Todellisuus iskee rajusti entistä linnakundia, ja hänen valvojansa nöyryyttää minkä kerkiää. Entisistä ympyröistä ei tunnu olevan palu
Nov 28, 2015 Aramys rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Un libro que no podéis dejar pasar si sois amantes del genero negro, una novelaza en toda regla, 414 paginas de abrumadora precisión narrativa. Yo, todo sea dicho, la he regalado ya dos veces y tengo mi ejemplar en casa, en la estantería preferente, justo al lado de Chandler.

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Edward Heward Bunker was an American author of crime fiction, a screenwriter, and an actor.
He wrote numerous books, some of which have been adapted into films.
Bunker was a bright but troublesome child, who spent much of his childhood in different foster homes and institutions.
He started on a criminal career at a very early age, and continued on this path throughout the years, returning to prison
More about Edward Bunker...

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“This was the Mecca of the American Dream, the world that everyone wanted. A world of sleek young women (allied with Slenderella to be so) in shorts and halters, driving 400-horsepower station wagons to air-conditioned, music-serenaded supermarkets of baby-sitter corporations and culture condensed into Great Books discussion groups. A life of barbecues by the swimming pool and drive in movies open all year. It did't appeal to me. Fuck health insurance plans and life insurance. They wanted to live without leaving the womb. It made me more alive to play a game without rules against society, and I was prepared to play it to the end. A tremor almost sexual passed through me as I anticipated the comming robbery.” 10 likes
“My letters seeking a job, though truthful, diminished the full truth. Face would blanch if the facts had been complete: "Dear Sir," I thought. "Do you have a position for a journeyman burglar, con man, forger and car thief; also with experience as armed robber, pimp, card cheat and several other things. I smoked marijuana at twelve (in the 40's) and shot heroin at sixteen. I have no experience with LSD and methedrine. They came to popularity since my imprisonment. I've buggered pretty young boys and feminine homosexuals (but only when locked up away from women). In the idiom of jails, prisons and gutters (some plush gutters) I'm a motherfucker! Not literally, for I don't remember my mother. In my world the term, used as I used it, is a boast of being hell on wheels, outrageously unpredictable, a virtuoso of crime. Of course by being a motherfucker in that world I'm a piece of garbage in yours. Do you have a job?” 6 likes
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