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The Madman's Tale

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  2,958 ratings  ·  232 reviews
It’s been twenty years since Western State Hospital was closed down and the last of its inmates reintegrated into society. Francis Petrel was barely out of his teens when his family committed him to the asylum, after his erratic behavior culminated in a terrifying outburst. Now middle-aged, he leads an aimless, solitary life housed in a cheap apartment, periodically tended ...more
Hardcover, 448 pages
Published June 15th 2004 by Ballantine Books (first published January 1st 2004)
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Community Reviews

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Melanie
This started off really promising, and I really wanted to enjoy it more than I did, but by the end it was dragging along soooo slowly that it was annoying to read and I really had to slog through to finish it. The characters started to feel forced, and the villain at the end just didn't satisfy me - it felt hollow when it was all over. Plus there is some serious overwriting, where something could be said in a brief sentence but goes on in flowery paragraphs full of metaphors. I would like this b ...more
Nyra
¿Pueden imaginarse a un loco con una logica mas precisa, mas real y mas certera que un "hombre cuerdo"?, ¿Puede un hombre con el sentido y la salud mental desprovista de lucidez; ser un heroe, un investigador, un filosofo e inclusive un salvador?. No es facil de contemplar esa posibilidad, pero John Katzenbach me lo ha pintado a las mil maravillas. Esas interrogantes anteriores, son las caracteristicas de nuestro "Loco Estrella", en la obra de este autor que una vez más no ha me decepcionado.

E
...more
Michelle Cano
Solo tengo que admitir que no me gusto tanto como pense que lo haría.
Pero lo que salva al libro son todas las frases geniales que tiene.


¨Pajarillo: Algunas historias es mejor no escribirlas.¨

¨Si la escribes, entonces será real. Si solo la conservamos en nuestros recuerdos es como si nunca hubiera pasado, como si sólo hubiera sido un sueño o una alucinación propia de chalados. Nadie cree lo que decimos, pero si lo escribes eso le dará, no sé, cierto fundamento. Lo volverá real.¨

¨¿Por qué nos re
...more
Daniel Montoya
Malo, muy malo si ya eres conocedor de éste tipo de novelas. Creo también que parte de lo que sucedió aquí, es que esperaba algo como el psicoanalista, donde el suspenso efectivamente está a flor de piel. Le doy al autor el punto de que, al arrancar la historia empieza con el pie derecho. Capturando la atención del lector ya que el narrador, al ser un loco nos advierte de su condición, los problemas que enfrenta y los pormenores que podemos toparnos con su narrativa al no poder él distinguir, en ...more
Scott Parsons
A riveting tale, this is one of the best books I have read in years. It is also the best I have read by Katzenbach. Some readers may be turned off by the unpleasant setting-an asylum for the mentally ill- or by the concept of the voices that plague Francis when he is off his meds as in the present when he is narrating the story of what happened at Western State Hospital when he was a patient there. But while Francis was a patient for the most part the voices were under control and he renders an ...more
Agustina
Después de tanta intriga, tanto coraje y remordimiento por fin acabo este libro. No sé muy bien qué pensar, si decir que me fascinó de diferentes maneras y que disfruté en todo momento de la lectura... O seguir pensando en esta historia que fue, definitivamente, una obra de arte. Tiene sus desventajas, ¿no? todos los libros las tienen, pero aún así no le voy a poner cuatro estrellas, porque no se lo merece. Me siento orgullosa de haberlo leído. Valió la pena tanta desesperación por saber cómo te ...more
Karen
Apr 30, 2008 Karen rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mystery fans
This was an interesting mystery about a brutal murder in a mental hospital told through a young narrator, a very intelligent, almost normal young man who hears voices. While there he is befriended by Peter The Fireman who has ended up there because of a vicious act of revenge and Lucy, a young beautiful prosecutor who has come there to investigate the sex murder of a young nurse at the hospital. Lucy herself is a victim of a sex crime. The plot is pretty good although it is a bit drawn out. Fran ...more
Abrazando Libros
Debo admitir que este libro no me atrajo tanto como Un final perfecto. Tiene partes en las que te tiene intrigado y a la espera de lo que va a ocurrir a continuación, y otras en las que uno no comprende bien los hechos que se están sucediendo. Tal vez sea porque el libro entero se basa en el testimonio de un loco. No sabría decirlo con certeza. Aún así, hubieron muchas cosas que me gustaron. La variedad de personajes y sus consiguientes personalidades, le dio una tonalidad distinta. Teniendo en ...more
Dokusha
Eine Nervenheilanstalt als Tatort ist doch mal was anderes. Wie es im Buch sinngemäß auch einer der Protagonisten sagt: normalerweise werden Verbrechen mit vernünftigen Mitteln in einer vernünftigen Umgebung gelöst, aber hier versagen alle derartigen Methoden.
Die Insassen der Klinik befinden sich in den verschiedensten Stadien der diversen mentalen Probleme - von Katatonikern, die mehr vor sich hin vegetieren über alle möglichen Arten von Wahnvorstellungen bis hin zu quasi normalen Menschen, die
...more
Luis
4.5

La historia del loco es un libro que me recomendaban desde hace tiempo, ya que me estoy haciendo fan de este autor este es el tercer libro que leo de él, no deja de sorprenderme con sus historias de thriller y suspenso. Este libro nos lleva 20 años después de que el protagonista llamado Francis fue dado de alta del hospital psiquiátrico en el cual fue ingresado a los 21 años después de haber tenido un fuerte colapso nervioso con su familia ya que el escucha voces.
Francis después de tantos año
...more
Manugw
UNCONVENTIONAL WHODUNIT
This story cames out of the revelations of the sparky crazy mind of Francis Petrel (C-Bird) who recounts his stay in a mental hospital many years ago, disclosing the unresolved crime of a nurse assistant.
The story line works in different time dimensions a first person account and a third person recount adopting the scheme of a whodunit, where also the perpetrator of a distant past jumps into the recount and commit more crimes hidden in a bunch of crazy men, it also adds a
...more
Kevin Black
Hm. Well, it is a book where the Good Guys are trying to find a Jack the Ripper type, but set within an insane asylum from the 1970s.
Pros: a gripping page-turner, and the author manages to talk about killings and maimings and whatnot without lingering over the gore. The character development is good and the characters are nuanced. I liked the two aides.
Cons: the protagonist and the two other main characters on his side actually are fairly believable, but the other folks who are described in any
...more
LJ
THE MADMAN’S TALE (Psychological Thriller) - Ex
John Katzenbach – 10th non-fiction
Ballantine Books, 2004 – Hardcover
Francis Xavier Petrel, named C-Bird by his former fellow inmates at Western State Hospital, is now living on this own. But an invitation to the hospital, closed for 20 years, being made a museum, draws Francis back, both to the place and the memories of the events, people and murders there.
*** An incredible book which draws you in and keeps you there to the very end, this is not a
...more
Steven
Not a quick read(I did finish a few other books that had a be returned to the library first)but well worth the effort. Superior to The Burn Palace which had a similar plot in which a serial killer was operating inside an asylum. Francis or C-Bird as he is known and Peter an ex-fireman attempt to solve a murder of a nurse . It's very similar to cases that Peter is aware of that happened outside the asylum. What makes this story unique is that Francis is recalling the story and writing it on the w ...more
Liz
Picked this up at a Library book sale since it looked interesting. A murder mystery, told from the eyes of a young man who hears voices and has been committed to a mental hospital by his family. The murder takes place in the hospital and circumstantial evidence points to one of the other patients in this hospital. A young woman prosecutor hears of it and comes to investigate it after finding it fits in with some previous serial murders outside of the hospital. She befriends the young man and ano ...more
Juan Cutillas
Lento como él solo, pero una historia impecable, pulcra y envolvente. En ciertas puntos es pesada, pero todo esto es para darte más a conocer a Francis, ver su lucha internar e intentar entenderlo; algo casi imposible cuando se vive y se respira el mismo aire en donde pasa esa etapa de su vida.

Como siempre, los personajes de Katzembach son tan reales como uno, algo exagerados, sí, pero contienen tanta personalidad y son tan diferentes que te hace disfrutar de la lectura. Tenía muy altas expectat
...more
Linda
This is my second Katzenbach book, the first being The Shadow Man. Both these books couldn’t be more different. What they do have in common however is Mr. Katzenbach distinct skill for writing a story that quietly moves along builds to a crescendo and then finalizes it all to this reader’s sincere admiration. He is adept at inventing characters who soon morph from words on a page into very likable real people. I could see these mixed up souls trapped in the dismal over crowded halls of Western S ...more
Nicolas Fernandez
The Madman’s Tale

3.5 stars

Years after leaving the Western State Hospital, Francis Petrel is invited to a visit to the now closed-down hospital, where he meets an old friend, Napoleon, who suggest that Francis should tell the story of what had happened when he was there—the murdered of people by this “angel.” As he writes the story, he starts to have hallucinations, which grow more powerful than before, and the voices he heard once, come back to life to the point where he—and the reader!—can no l
...more
Beth Lewis-Austen
Miedo, suspenso, odio puro, alguna que otra sonrisa, odio de nuevo, miedo, terror absouluto, tristeza, y al final esa felicidad tranquila que se encuentra después de sacrificios y dolor. Es todo lo que sentí al leer este libro. Atrapante de principio a fin, aunque las primeras páginas, que son retratadas con algo de crudeza, muestran un principio pesado de un personaje "débil" que resulta ser el más fuerte de todos y le dan al lector la pauta que debe seguir al leer la histora: sumérgete en la m ...more
Sezin Koehler
Total crap. Katzenbach is a good writer, however this story was absurd. I hate murder mysteries when the killer is some totally random person. It's just useless. And not a short book either, so very disappointing after investing so much time. A very lazy and cop-out way of writing. Methinks I will not be reading any more of this guy's books. His earler work was so much better thought out.
Barış Erdem
Psiko-analisti çok beğenmiştim.Bu kitabı da beni şaşırtmadı. Ürpertici hikayesi, sağlam karakterleri ve başarılı çevirisiyle dört dörtlük bir gerilim kitabı olmuş.Umarım yazarın diğer eserleri de kısa sürede çevrilir.
Davie
This is an awesome book written from an unusual angle, that of an insane person. Most authors would have written about the insane person from the outside looking in...couldnt put this one down once I was into it...
Daniela
Realmente una decepción; el principio fue algo prometedor, te entusiasma la idea de que nuestro narrador/protagonista es esquizofrénico y nos cuente la historia de un crimen ocurrido en una institución mental donde estuvo a sus veinte años, pero luego se torna aburrido, se tarda demasiado en llegar a momentos claves o emocionantes que dotan de suspenso o intriga a lo que normalmente caracteriza las novelas de John Katzenbach y cuando crees que pasara algo interesante realmente no sucede nada o n ...more
Jazmín Romero
Recuerdo haber comprado este libro hace un par de años, cuando vagaba por mi librería favorita y me dieron ganas de leer algo bien intrigante. La historia del loco fue mi primera opción. Reconozco que no había leído antes al autor, mucho después llegó a mis manos El psicoanalista, y creo que hice bien en esperar a leer ese antes que éste.

Es notable que desde El psicoanalista, la pluma del autor ha ido volviéndose más ágil. No se hace necesario aguardar hasta la mitad del libro para obtener la e
...more
Fabian Tapia Quintero
VER RESEÑA EN EL BLOG: http://hijodeletras.blogspot.mx/2014/...



La historia del loco cuenta el interesante misterio que hay detrás de un asesinato acaecido en el Western State Hospital (que trata a las personas con problemas mentales). En este hospital se encuentra, entre otros, un personaje llamado Francis Petrel que vivió de manera muy cercana ese crimen y que un día de visita después de muchos años al recinto, alguien lo convence de que escriba la historia que vivió. Francis (apodado “pajarill
...more
Jane
I would have given this 5 stars except for the last 6 pages. Francis Petrel is confined to an asylum in 1979 after years of hearing voices and finally threatening his family with a knife. Inside he meets Peter the Fireman, Napoleon, Cleo, the Newsman. At this time in the history of asylums people were more or less parked in them. They may be retarded, senile, suffering dementia, or actually living with a mental illness. The administration handles almost every out of the ordinary (although diffic ...more
Flora Bateman
Hands down 5 stars! I absolutely loved this mystery. There is nothing typical about this read from the POV to the characters to the setting all are original.

Francis Petrel is an aging schizophrenic living on his own when a visit to his former mental hospital that is being renovated brought back memories. Upon returning home Francis "C-bird" Petrel begins to write his story, having no, he writes upon the walls. Spiraling back down into madness, C-bird relives a harrowing time at the hospital. To
...more
Nona
John Katzenbach writes stories that are solid and intriguing with just a smidge of improbability that you forgive him for because it's worth it to stay in the story. The Madman's Tale runs right along those lines, giving us the story of a young man who is schizophrenic and has recently been committed for the first time and finds himself in the middle of a murder mystery.

I won't say that the use of the mentally ill as characters here goes so far to be exploitative but there is much that feels mor
...more
yexxo
Wer der Meinung ist, zu einem guten Thriller gehört eine genaue Beschreibung des Täters und des Motivs, sollte von diesem Buch die Finger lassen. Hauptperson ist Francis, ein junger Schizophrener, aus dessen Sicht die vergangenen und gegenwärtigen Geschehnisse größtenteils geschildert werden. Der ständige Kampf mit seinen Stimmen im Kopf, die Beschreibung der Mitinsassen, der Pfleger und der Atmosphäre in der Anstalt verleiht der Geschichte eine Spannung, die die Suche nach dem Engel zeitweise f ...more
Inga
Der etwa 700 Seiten starke Roman von John Katzenbachs Roman Die Anstalt ist in der Audiobook-Fassung auf sechs CDs gefasst, gelesen von Thomas Danneberg und Simon Jäger.
Der Protagonist und schizophrene Francis Petrel wird in in den USA der 70er Jahre in eine psychiatrische Anstalt eingewiesen. Als dort eine Krankenschwester ermordet wird, ist er zusammen mit einem anderen Insassen und einer Staatsanwältin an der Aufklärung beteiligt. Erzählt wird aus der Perspektive des noch immer oder schon wie
...more
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John Katzenbach is a U.S. author of popular fiction. Son of Nicholas Katzenbach, former United States Attorney General, John worked as a criminal court reporter for the Miami Herald and Miami News , and a featured writer for the Herald’s Tropic magazine. He is married to Madeleine Blais and they live in western Massachusetts.

He left the newspaper grind to write books, racking up 12 novels so far,
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The Analyst El profesor Shadow Man The Wrong Man Un final perfecto

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“One of the things I learned in my maddest years was that one could be in a room, with walls and barred windows and locks on the doors, surrounded by other crazy people, or even stuffed into an isolation cell all alone, but that really wasn't the room one was in at all. The real room that one occupied was constructed by memory, by relationships, by events, by all sorts of unseen forces. Sometimes delusions. Sometimes hallucinations. Sometimes desires. Sometimes dreams and hopes, or ambitions. Sometimes anger. That was what was important: to always recognize where the real walls were. (176)” 29 likes
“I can no longer hear my voices, so I am a little lost. My suspicion is they would know far better how to tell this story. At least they would have opinions and suggestions and definite ideas as to what should go first and what should go last and what should go in the middle. They would inform me when to add detail, when to omit extraneous information, what was important and what was trivial. After so much time slipping past, I am not particularly good at remembering these things myself and could certainly use their help. A great many events took place, and it is hard for me to know precisely where to put what. And sometimes I'm unsure that incidents I clearly remember actually did happen. A memory that seems one instant to be as solid as stone, the next seems as vaporous as a mist above the river. That's one of the major problems with being crazy: you're just naturally uncertain about things. (9)” 17 likes
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