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Jack Wakes Up (Jack Palms Crime #1)

3.72  ·  Rating Details ·  551 Ratings  ·  70 Reviews
Washed-up movie star Jack Palms is knee-deep in a Bay Area drug war and it ll take the performance of a lifetime to get him through it alive.

In the three years since Jack Palms left Hollywood and kicked his drug habit, he s added fourteen pounds of muscle, read eighty-three books, and played it as straight as anyone could reasonably ask. But the residual checks are drying
Trade Paperback, 293 pages
Published May 5th 2009 by Three Rivers Press (first published January 17th 2008)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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May 06, 2009 Sam rated it it was amazing
A crime noir thriller that keeps me on the edge of my seat, Jack Wakes Up's engaging protagonist is both likable and despicable. In mythic terms he represents the shapechanger, a mirror man who is what other people think he is. And yet his tale wraps you up, demands your attention, forces you to take his side. I care about Jack even though he really clearly hates himself. And that's why I give this book five stars.

The crime aspects are hard, the characters bold, the whole feel of the story is ve
Jack Palms is a one-hit wonder actor who's climbing his way back from drug addiction and a domestic abuse charge. The financing for the sequel to his hit movie dried up with his arrest, his marriage is long gone, the money is just about gone and Jack is nearly broke, out of work and on the verge of losing his house in Sausalito, California. Jack's working hard at living right and getting himself back on the right track, but we all know how far that goes when the bills are due, so when the phone ...more
May 14, 2009 Anthony rated it it was amazing
I first was exposed to Jack Palms in podiobook form with Seth reading them and I still couldn't wait to pre-order my signed copy when I had the chance. I then won a contest and ordered two more with my winnings.

JWU is a great, action packed read with a flawed 'hero' that you can't help but pull for throughout the whole series. And even though I've already listened to them all, I will probably listen to them again and buy them when they are released. Yes! They are that good. Seth does such a grea
Sep 15, 2011 Stephen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
Jack Palms walks into a diner just south of Japantown, the one where he's supposed to meet Ralph.

Once upon a time, Jack was the toast of Hollywood. He was the star of a mega-hit action movie called Shake 'em Down and had a beautiful trophy wife and the world on a platter. These days, he's a divorced, washed-up actor who just spent several years weening himself from coke and booze. The bills are piling up and the mortgage on his gorgeous San Francisco mansion is overdue. When his old friend Ralph
Jun 11, 2009 Monie rated it it was amazing
Three years ago action movie star Jack Palms was arrested in front of several paparazzi and his movie career tanked leaving his chances for a sequel to Shake ‘Em Down at next to nothing. But that was the wake up call he needed. He divorced his troubled wife, left Hollywood and successfully kicked a serious drug habit. Now all he has to look forward to is his rationed one cigarette per day, a bowl of cereal and working out at the gym.

When one of his old friends, Ralph Anderino, calls upon him for
Aug 23, 2009 Dave rated it it was amazing

"Jack Wakes Up" was an incredibly fun novel. Three authors I really enjoy: Megan Abbott, Duane Swierczynski and Michael Connelly offered up high praise for the book, so I expected to like it and I ended up enjoying it even more than I expected

The novel is about Jack Palms, a former actor who made one hit action movie that gave him everything and then lost it all because of drug addiction and scandal. When the novel begins, Jack is fresh out of rehab and offers to help one of his oldest friends s
Sam Bradley
Jul 21, 2009 Sam Bradley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love Jack! He was an actor who fell into the kind of negative behaviors that come with fame and money. Successful in cleaning up his life after a public fiasco that put his career on hold, the money began to run out and boredom was setting in. A meeting with an old friend and a decision to make a few quick bucks sends him off on a wild adventure. This fast paced thriller doesn't even give you time to breathe between one gut-wrenching, jaw-dropping moment to the next. We follow Jack through the ...more
Oct 04, 2009 Joshua rated it it was ok
Recommended to Joshua by: Only crime fiction completists
The back cover of Jack Wakes Up has a quote from Megan Abbott, a writer I greatly admire that reads, "like a long lost Mickey Spillane tale as directed by Robert Rodriguez." I love Mickey Spillane's work and a Robert Rodriguez film always leaves me with a smile on my face. So when I saw this at the book store I was instantly sold. Sadly, the book nowhere lives up to Megan's billing.

It's not that Seth Harwood is a poor writer, in fact I quite enjoyed his crisp, in your face, break neck paced s
Sep 12, 2008 Sam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jack Wakes Up is just the beginning, but it is an important beginning. How do hardboiled detectives get made? Do they spring, fully-formed from some dark closet, all of their quirks and mannerisms in place?

Or are they, like Jack Palms in the novel "Jack Wakes Up", created through circumstance?

Jack could have turned his back on the death of his friend, but he didn't. He could have told his friend's drug gangsters to take a hike, but he didn't. He could have left well enough alone, but he didn't.
May 13, 2013 BigJohn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-books
Jack Palms is an actor who, like many before and many after, achieved high fame and then lost all control of his own life, falling into drugs, alcohol, and general celebrity malaise. An old friend calls him up and offers him a pretty decent job entertaining some out-of-town drug types, but things rapidly spin out of control. Jack finds himself in the middle of a drug war, with bullets flying all around him.

This is one of those bulletproof anti-hero stories, where the main character can't escape
Dec 07, 2012 Jarek rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: podiobooks
Jack Wakes Up by Seth Harwood is written very professionally, with author’s skill and experience obvious in each sentence. On the other hand, the plot and characters seem to be taken straight from a B-class action flick of the 1980s or 1990s. I admit this contrast puzzled me at the beginning. However, once I realized that this is a convention deliberately chosen by the author, I started to really enjoy the fast action and punchy dialogue of the novel. The audacious use of stereotypes and cliches ...more
Aug 21, 2009 Ryan rated it it was amazing
I don't read a lot of crime fiction, which when I think about it is kind of odd. I mean, I love a lot of this stuff when it's presented in movie form - stuff like Tarantino's early work, Guy Ritchie's stuff, and the like. Jack Wakes Up, Seth Harwood's debut novel, is exactly like one of those movies. It tells the story of Jack Palms, a washed-up actor who gets caught up in a drug war between various gangs in San Fransisco. This was a fun, slick read, that had a lot of energy to it and a great na ...more
Robin Jonathan Deutsch
A writer's efforts shouldn't be destroyed, so I'll keep the negativity to a minimum. Book held promise for the first 150 pages, then fell flat. The action became repetitive and the storyline sluggish. I wasn't big on the dialog, to be honest, felt contrived, certainly not classic noir in my opinion. My thoughts place me in the minority opinion here, so the decision to take the plunge should be based on your tastes. I'll read another Harwood offering, but not another with Jack Palms.
Sep 12, 2008 Randy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Any crime lover over the age of 14
Recommended to Randy by: Scott Sigler and Mur Lafferty
Seth Harwood brings crime into the modern era. This gritty tale of a washed up actor brings to light a seedy side of San Francisco that the Chamber of Commerce hopes doesn't truly exist.

Both the text and podiobook versions hold up well and Harwood's use of the first person narrative puts you right in the action.
Nov 24, 2008 Randy rated it it was amazing
Seth Harwood takes you into a world of crime through the eyes of a has been actor, JACK PALMS. Jack learns the hard way that his friends are not who they claim to be and he might not get out of trouble in tact.

Harwood's pace of action and dialogue make for a quick read that is very entertaining and leaves you wanting to "Shake It Down."
Nov 04, 2009 Brandi marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I must say I was sooo excited when I got this book in the mail and Seth signed the copy for me. My husband ( who might I add isnt a reader at all) is very excited about this novel. He read the back and said that he would be interested in reading as well!!!!!!!
Sep 01, 2009 Liz rated it really liked it
This book keeps you on the edge of your seat. You don't know what is going to happen next, and the main character is extremely unpredictable. You will find yourself yelling at Jack when he does something stupid.
Sep 12, 2008 Edward rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A crime tour de force. A 1950's noir thriller meets the hard edge of the 21st century. Author Seth Harwood's first book in the Jack Palms series grabs you early and never lets go
Ben Hamilton
Jul 04, 2012 Ben Hamilton rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Blah is the best way to describe this book.
Dan Lockhart
Sep 22, 2010 Dan Lockhart rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I really, really tried to like this book. I trudged through to the end, which mercifully it did.
Rick F.
Oct 01, 2009 Rick F. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Aug 19, 2009 Catherine rated it did not like it
Could not get into this book at all.....
Nov 19, 2008 Seth rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Coming out on May 5, 2009, THIS is THE book. This is THE year. JACK PALMS, baby!
Catch it!
Jan 13, 2010 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Continuing my little hard-boiled project this week makes for a bit of a departure as I step away from the detective field into the straight up crime thriller. (I’ll return to detective fiction with my subsequent reads since I’ve decided I want to attempt a novel for each decade since I have the 40s/50s well covered.) Like his contemporaries Scott Sigler and J. C. Hutchins (both contribute reviews on the book’s Amazon page) Seth Hardwood comes from the growing numbers of “podcast writers” that ar ...more
Jul 09, 2009 Valorie rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Jack Palms is down on his luck-- after some bad tabloid press, his acting career bottomed out after only one action film. During his time of fame, he developed a heroin addiction and an abusive relationship. These are the two major reasons that his one film remains just one film. Now he is trying to pick up the pieces of his life and pay his piling bills. When his friend Ralph offers him a couple thousand to help him show a few Czech visitors a good time and help them with their Colombian cocain ...more
Dec 13, 2010 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jack Wakes Up could easily have been called Jack Kicks Ass. Seth Harwood’s ex-movie star tough guy Jack Palms roars through this action novel, cool as… well as cool as a guy who drives a 66 Mustang Fastback.

Written in present tense, Jack Wakes Up hits the action quickly, giving us enough detail about Jack’s past life to make the reader curious but not getting too bogged down in details before the real action starts. Jack, somewhat down on his luck after kicking Heroin is running out of money. He
Jun 13, 2009 Carole rated it really liked it
Jack Palms is a washed-up movie star with one big hit to his name three years ago, he's also managed to kick his drug habit and hasn't had a drink in 2 years. His healthy lifestyle can get pretty boring though and when his old friend Ralph calls on him to help some Czechs to have a good time "where that mug of yours can still get us past a few red ropes" (and get paid for it) and be the go-between for drug dealer and buyer, he's more than ready, especially when the banks are on his back about hi ...more
May 08, 2009 J. rated it really liked it
In Jack Wakes up, Harwood gives us a new twist on the old noir heist formula. Jack Palms, out of work actor, is tapped by a friend to play second fiddle on a giant drug dealer. He needs the money. He needs the distraction. He’s so amazingly bored that when bullets start flying and people start dying, he finds it exhilarating. In this, his first outing, Harwood combines the classic noir sensibilities of James M Cain with the quick-clipped plot movement that children of the nineties have come to e ...more
Kara Jorges
Dec 21, 2012 Kara Jorges rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Harwood gives us a down and out noir hero with a twist—he’s already hit rock bottom and mastered clean living to a boring degree. Jack Palms had his moment of fame when he starred in the action thriller, Shake ‘Em Down, but fell from grace when he developed a drug habit and was falsely accused of spousal abuse. Now he’s got bills piling up and he might lose his house, but he refuses to give up his 1966 Mustang Fastback. He drives it over to meet his old drug dealer friend, Ralph, and his Czech f ...more
Brett Starr
Apr 16, 2010 Brett Starr rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Jack Wakes Up" is a good noir / crime thriller!

L.A., drugs & betrayal....

The characters are good, the main character Jack Palms isn't quite the tough guy I thought he would be. The Czechs are great characters and have all the usual eastern European stereotypes built in. The bad guys really arent too bad at all unfortunately. Maxine, a stripper turned bartender is really the only female character in the book.

This is not a five star book, but its a great first effort and I think Seth Harwo
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Jack Palms 4 18 Jun 04, 2009 11:50PM  
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Seth Harwood received an MFA in fiction from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and went on to build a large readership for his first novel, JACK WAKES UP, by serializing it as a free audiobook online. Currently audio versions of Harwood’s novels and stories have been downloaded over one million times.

He is the author of four additional novels, EVERYONE PAYS, IN BROAD DAYLIGHT, THIS IS LIFE and YOUNG JUNI
More about Seth Harwood...

Other Books in the Series

Jack Palms Crime (3 books)
  • This Is Life (Jack Palms Crime #2)
  • Triad Death Match

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