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Down and Out on Murder Mile

3.89  ·  Rating Details  ·  334 Ratings  ·  40 Reviews
After exhausting their resources in the slums of Los Angeles, a junkie and his wife settle in London's "murder mile," the city's most violent and criminally corrupt section. Persevering past failed treatments, persistent temptation, urban ennui, and his wife's ruinous death wish, the nameless narrator fights to reclaim his life.

In prose that could peel paint from a car, To
Paperback, 288 pages
Published October 28th 2008 by Harper Perennial (first published October 16th 2008)
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(showing 1-30 of 508)
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Oct 24, 2009 Marvin rated it really liked it
Tony O'Neill has painted a relentlessly grim picture of addiction in his clearly auto-biographical novel Down and Out on Murder Mile. Yet he does it with such a acid drenched wit that keeps the reader laughing amongst the car wreck. The writer's characters are neither likable or unlikeable. They are simply realistic. As wrong or destructive their decisions become, you can accept it as being one of those real-life decisions people make. This novel is not in any ways a fun read but O'Neill has a w ...more
Ryan Leone
May 21, 2015 Ryan Leone rated it it was amazing
Tony is the man. He has never let me down. Easily one of the greatest and most prolific writers of the last decade, he consistently puts out quality work.

Down and Out on Murder Mile is the roman a clef sequel to Digging the Vein. It focuses on his move from Los Angeles to the slums of London. The only thing he brings with him is his shot out wife and a crippeling drug habit. The novel is bleak, it definitely lacks the innocense of Digging the Vein.

I'm a recovering heroin addict and as lame as
Oct 25, 2013 Gillian rated it it was amazing
This is the second book I have read by Tony O'Neill, he is a fantastic author. "Down & Out on Murder Mile" seems to be an autobiography. The story starts off in the slums of Los Angeles where the two main characters of the book, a married couple, are running out of options. They are chronic drug addicts and money is scarce, so they move to Murder Mile in the UK.

The narrator remains nameless for the whole book, his wife's name is Susan. She is a few years older then him, sadly years of drug a
Shawn Buckle
Jan 26, 2014 Shawn Buckle rated it did not like it
When I purchase books in-store, I always grab a cheapo from the discount section. I do all the things we're not supposed to do when book hunting - I judge it by its cover and require it's under $5. The majority of the time I strike out, because, essentially, the book is in the cheap seats for a reason. I went down swinging on three straight strikes with this book. It was cliched, obvious, amateur and all-around dull. I didn't care about our protagonist and I was supposed to. I didn't want him to ...more
Corinne Horne
Dec 31, 2008 Corinne Horne rated it it was amazing
I haven't read a book in a long time that so honestly tells a story of addiction and recovery like this one does. I was intrigued with the faceless, nameless narrator; his relationship with his wife replaced intimacy with drugs, creating a curiously asexual drug-induced marriage. But as curious as the relationship was, his recovery was even more so.

This book, overall, was a very engrossing read and worth every minute I spent reading it. It is a great read for anyone interested in the reality of
Tani Boyer
Jan 02, 2013 Tani Boyer rated it it was amazing
This book had me biting all my nails to a pulp in an airport, ignoring phone calls, late to the board the plane because I could peel myself away. It was absolutely devastating and fantastic. One of my favorite books of ALL TIME. The author is just a magician.
Nov 13, 2015 Hosho rated it it was amazing
Intravenous, transgressive prose at it's best. If, like me, you've never had the strength of character to develop a decent drug habit, then live vicariously through O'Niell's terrific books!
Lavinia Ludlow
Dec 25, 2009 Lavinia Ludlow rated it it was amazing
Astounding. Naturally.
Dec 29, 2014 Aaron rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
After all the praise and reviews for the great prose I guess I just expected to be blown away. That's always the dilemma. I read reviews hoping to find that next great piece and then the hype makes my expectations grow way out of proportion to the actual work. There's also the danger of a poor review or a review revealing too much of the plot and then I won't read the piece to begin with. Of course this may be like the post-apocalypse genre before it and I may have just read my fill of the junky ...more
Jennifer  Sciolino-Moore
This was not nearly as good as Sick City. This is a straight-up firsthand look at heroin addiction and the bleak tunnels in which junkies live. If this is your first novel of its kind, you'll find it honest and horrifying in a peek-through-your-fingers kind of way. If it's not, you'll realize quickly that it's been done better by others and there should be more to a novel than just shock value meant to awe the tourists.
This is a junkie's diary. O'Neill generally does a great job, but this isn't
Ani Smith
Mar 22, 2009 Ani Smith rated it liked it
Recommends it for: escapist twenty somethings from the suburbs
I love the voice. The tone. The structure. The pace. I would love to have Tony O'neill sit on my couch and tell me stories and shoot up and read poetry and listen to music. But some of that same feeling let me down. It left a sour, metallic taste in the mouth. Namely (and I can't believe I'm about to say this, misogyny in literature apologist number one) treatment of the female characters was one-dimensional. The junkie life stuff is probably only shocking/interesting to those who haven't been. ...more
Oct 04, 2014 Letitia rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir
I love a good junkie story and Down and Out on Murder Mile certainly didn't disappoint.
A bit bleak at times, but what story about a heroin addict isn't?
I really enjoyed this book and will be seeking out more from this author.
Dec 03, 2008 Tosh rated it really liked it
Can a book about Heroin addiction be charming? Well, for me at least, this book is charmng. Tony O'Neill doesn't overplay the tragedy or the highs/lows of Heroin use. What he does show is that being a junkie is like having a job from hell. One has to work so hard in getting high!

Also the novel (memoir?) takes place in Los Angeles and London, and he uses the two cities quite well as part of the narrative. Also the fact O'Neill comes from the music world of sorts (toured and played with Marc Almon
Jan 28, 2016 Kim rated it did not like it
Shelves: gave-up-on

TRIGGER WARNINGS: substance use/addiction, incest/rape, sexual content, homophobia, domestic violence, transphobia
Anne Howl
Sep 05, 2014 Anne Howl rated it it was amazing
While reading this book I didn't know whether to laugh or cry, and I think that was the point. The dry humour makes you understand the desperation of the author, but at the same time you just can't feel sorry for him. It's a really good read if you want to understand how drugs work, but, at the same time the message is clear "Kids, don't do drugs".
All in all, a fun, light and quite informative read.
Would suggest.
Alex Dimaio
Apr 10, 2015 Alex Dimaio rated it did not like it
Apr 13, 2012 Mo rated it really liked it
Drugs. Sex. Rock 'n roll. They seem predictable. But the all-time lows into depression and the endless road towards recovery were not. Not an entirely life-changing plot line for a reader but a respectable story and perspective into a dangerous lifestyle. A commendable work.
Oct 14, 2011 Sara rated it liked it
A heartbreaking memoir about being a junkie in LA and London. The book ends on a high note, however, so you finish it thinking "Wow, I can't believe he survived, but I'm glad he did!"

I honestly can't tell if this is all fiction, or part memoir, part fiction.
Oct 09, 2009 John rated it liked it
Can't believe how fast I read this. A well written book about addiction. It seemed to cover it in the middle -- not too cool or glamourous, while not getting to the complete horror of it. I liked his tone. I might check out something else by him.
Apr 27, 2009 Jess rated it it was amazing
well, tony really did it this time. after Digging the Vein, you think you've seen the complexities of this addiction. along comes Down and Out to steer you deeper into the maze. this time, beautifully, there's no dead end.
Okay, that's it, junkies are boring. I can deal with a chapter or two about shithole apartments and calcified veins and the unending heroin routine, but a whole book, no matter how well-written and compelling, just gets tired.
Mar 30, 2011 Eddie rated it it was ok
A case study in art being more interesting than life. The pure fiction of Sick City is far more compelling than the autobiographical Down and Out...Same old junkie story presented in a clever manner
Chantal E. R. H.
Jul 12, 2010 Chantal E. R. H. rated it really liked it
7th book of 2010. A very autobiographical novel about a drug addicts failed marriage and attempt/s at getting clean. I read it in less than a day. It's not sanctimonious or self-pitying at all.
Dec 27, 2009 Rima rated it it was ok
Another memoir about life on drugs and the attempt to get off. Not necessarily one of the better ones (I'd recommend "Dry" by Augusten Burroughs over this one) but easy enough to read and finish.
Ara Molina
May 14, 2012 Ara Molina rated it it was amazing
Despite some stomach turning descriptions, I couldn't put it down. A story that shows there can always be light at the end of the tunnel, no matter how fucked up the circumstances may be.
Brian Heverly
Mar 26, 2012 Brian Heverly rated it really liked it
Oh boy, another trip down memory lane. I can't even begin to explain how descriptive O`neill is when itcomes to writing. Its just so dark, scary and forboding. This is quite a good read. ...more
Sep 02, 2009 Autumn rated it liked it
I thought this was well written, but at the same time I couldn't wait for it to be over. The day to day life of a heroin addict is actually really dull and repetitive.
Cindy Peng
Feb 16, 2009 Cindy Peng rated it really liked it
A blurb on the back cover says this book's prose "could peel the paint off a car." I agree. Great book about heroin addiction, along the lines of Trainspotting.
Dec 06, 2008 Tahndi rated it really liked it
Classic tale of LA transplants drugging around the streets of Venice and Hollywood Blvd until they are forced back to the UK. Great writing here.
James Adamiak
Nov 01, 2013 James Adamiak rated it it was amazing
Brutal, honest and very witty. Semi autobiographical. Not for the feint of heart!!!
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Before he wrote the novel DIGGING THE VEIN Tony O'Neill was a professional musician, playing with bands and artists as diverse as Kenickie, Marc Almond, P.J. Proby and The Brian Jonestown Massacre. His autobiographical debut novel, published in 2006, was a thinly veiled account of his years as a musician and heroin addict, and became a cult hit when it was published in the US and Canada in by Cont ...more
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