Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Afterburn” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.53  ·  Rating Details ·  250 Ratings  ·  31 Reviews
Charlie Ravich is an international corporate tycoon, a husband and father on the hard side of fifty, and a restless soul in search of immortality. When Christina Welles, a prison parolee, well-schooled in the art of manipulation, walks into his life, Charlie thinks he just might have found what he's looking for. As she tries to outrun her past, and he to understand his fut ...more
Paperback, 448 pages
Published April 17th 2007 by Picador (first published September 1st 1997)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Afterburn, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Afterburn

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 434)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Mar 12, 2009 Mike rated it liked it
Recommends it for: adrenalin junkies
Murder! Sex! Torture! International Finance! Wall Street Shenanigans! Lesbian Jail Scenes! Police corruption! A one-armed man! No, it's not the latest Tarantino blockbuster, but this book gave me whiplash as it screeched around a plot and the world (mostly centered in NYC though).

This was my 2nd Harrison novel, and I think I need a break before trying a third as the way this one read would give someone a seizure if they weren't careful. The story as it was centered on a good-girl-gone-wrong and
Feb 25, 2011 Cheri rated it liked it
This is a tough one to rate. The story was really well written. My favorite line was about being harnessed to "the imbecile donkey of lust." However, all the female characters were bimbos, fools, victims, strident (and/because possibly lesbian), oblivious, or some combination thereof. The main character was the only one who wasn't just a laughable caraciture of a woman, and she was still a deeply damaged victim and a... doom-bringer? I don't know if there's a word for it, but everyone she got in ...more
Ray Pezzi
Mar 21, 2016 Ray Pezzi rated it did not like it
I read Harrison's earlier novels "Bodies Electric" and "Manhattan Nocturne" and enjoyed them very much, so I was really looking forward to this book. Unfortunately, "Afterburn" was a tremendous disappointment for me. The beautifully descriptive writing style evident in his earlier works is utterly lacking here. Perhaps it was just the shift from the first-person perspective in the earlier books to the third-person here, but the writing here is very plodding, prosaic, and workmanlike.
Worse than
Jul 05, 2007 Alison rated it liked it
This book had so much potential so I was a little disappointed by the ending, but overall quite interesting. Basically the dichotomy between the life that went right and the one that went wrong.
Jul 30, 2008 Gabe rated it liked it
A well-written thriller, but I'm docking it a star on account of the mob torture scene that almost made me lose my lunch.
Jim Coughenour
Jul 14, 2007 Jim Coughenour rated it liked it
Shelves: bleakfiction
Great writing, great set-up, disappointing dénouement. Sounds a bit like my life.
Nov 12, 2007 Mike marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: action
Trying to get interested but not a sympathetic character picture
Jess George
Feb 11, 2015 Jess George rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
Man, this started off so well but got super dark. The torture stuff was too graphic for me, and there was a later plot development that didn't feel right. It was a page turner, though!
Jun 27, 2009 Terry rated it it was ok
This seemed like the perfect novel to read on our trip to New York City with lots of time in the air or at airports coming and going. It's 600 pages long, it's set in New York City and it got great reviews. It's a sort of crime/caper novel and while it's a page-turner, I didn't really like it. The violence is really nasty and graphic. The sex is pretty graphic, too, but strangely unsexy. I didn't really like the characters (maybe that was intended) and as for the New York setting, it was really ...more
Feb 27, 2014 Linda rated it it was ok
Strangely disappointing. Excesses of sex & torture does not a good book make.
Jan 31, 2016 Bobbie marked it as to-read
ny times most notable list of 2000
Oct 18, 2013 Judy rated it really liked it
I'm not quite sure how this book even landed on my bookshelf but once I picked it up, I was hooked. Throughout the day, I found myself wondering how Christina was going to make it and make it out. I noticed that a few other reviewers made negative comments on the lengthy sex passages and indeed, excruciating violence. While I was stopped in place on both accounts, Harrison certainly made it crystal clear who these characters were in many ways, and the sex and violence were effective means. I lov ...more
May 30, 2016 Elise rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2016
I read this because I read a lot of Kathryn Harrison books in high school so I was curious about her husband's writing. I am not sure why this book advertised itself as a thriller. It took a lot of energy to get through, though the end did pick up a bit.

I don't think the writing was bad, but I didn't find the story terribly interesting.
Aug 10, 2008 Jodi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes flawed characters.
The book is well-written; however, I think it would have been well-served with a good editor to cut it down to size a bit. There were parts I really enjoyed, where the book moved. My biggest problem was that all of the characters were flawed, and in ways that made it difficult for me to identify with them or pull for them. I would start out really liking the character, but then become disgruntled with choices/decisions made. I would like to re-write the ending!
Nov 20, 2012 Skip rated it liked it
Shelves: thriller
I truly enjoy Harrison's gritty writing and his characters: Christina Welles (a released convicted felon, trying to get her life back together), Rick Bocca (her ex-lover, crook, who has become a recluse fisherman), and to a lesser extent, Charlie Ravitch (a fighter pilot, POW, turned technology businessman.) Welles and Bocca's former mob boss is looking for revenge and willing to do anything to get it. Too much slaughter and sex in this novel.
Aug 25, 2012 Judi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2000
AFTERBURN is about using everything you've got to survive. Sometimes you have to kick in the afterburner even when the acceleration comes at the expense of burning all your fuel. To survive, the gain must exceed the consequences. And some people have a real knack for this, like Charlie Ravich and Christina Welles.

See my review here:
David Barrie
Jun 18, 2009 David Barrie rated it really liked it
Colin Harrison has two great virtues: a fascination for the world of modern business and a great sense of place as regards Manhattan. I find his novels systematically depressing (bad things happen to people who didn't deserve them) but compelling.
Jul 16, 2009 Emily rated it it was amazing
I picked this book at random in an airport bookstore. All of the characters are insatiable, all of the violence is explicit. Everything a thriller should be. His books set in NYC have a great sense of place.
Dec 27, 2015 maulfield rated it did not like it
Képtelem voltam elolvasni. Nagyon haragszom a fordítóra, mert a nyelvezet olyan lett, amitől számomra olvashatatlanul idegesítővé vált a mű. Pedig lehet, hogy tisztességes.
Jeremy Wagner
Dec 27, 2010 Jeremy Wagner rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was the first book I ever read by Colin Harrison. Afterburn came recommended by an editor who knows my tastes. I was not disappointed. This book is FANTASTIC.
Mary Joy
Dec 31, 2012 Mary Joy rated it liked it
We'll see how this goes. After reading about so much truly awful real-life stuff this week, I'm just looking for some mindless, suspenseful entertainment.
Feb 10, 2016 Paul rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Vietname veteran turned successful business gets involved with a young woman. Ends up wanted by organised crime.
Nov 26, 2009 Susan rated it did not like it
Spooky and violent. Did not like. That is not to say it wasn't well written. Significant other liked it a lot.
Dec 16, 2010 Jo rated it liked it
parts were violent and graphic, made me very uncomfortable, but it was still a good story.
Jul 29, 2011 Ray added it
Don't waste your time. Very hard to follow. I finally quit reading it and discarded it.
Sandra Knapp
Too much violence, and too much sex for my liking, but a well written thriller.
Apr 18, 2011 Shelley rated it really liked it
a little strange, but very compelling--kept me turning the pages, for sure!
Mar 31, 2008 Marguerite rated it liked it
Liked the book, but really didn't need the violence.
Mar 10, 2010 Jess rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Maybe a 3.5. Definately leaves an afterburn.
Apr 27, 2013 Lucy rated it it was amazing
I remember really loving this book.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 14 15 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Blue Ridge
  • Run
  • The Portrait
  • Girls
  • About Schmidt (Schmidt, #1)
  • The Missing Head of Damasceno Monteiro
  • Almayer's Folly
  • In the Cut
  • My Tiny Life: Crime and Passion in a Virtual World
  • It's What He Would've Wanted
  • Is Harry On The Boat?
  • The Crook Factory
  • Canone Inverso
  • The Novels: The Day of the Jackal, The Odessa File, The Dogs of War
  • The Exile
  • Life's Lottery
  • Murder In The Rue St. Ann (Chanse MacLeod, #2)
  • Criminal Justice
Colin Harrison is a crime novelist. He is a vice president and senior editor at Scribner.
He lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn, with his wife, the writer Kathryn Harrison, and their three children (Sarah, Walker and Julia).

He attended: Haverford College, BA 1982; University of Iowa Writers' Workshop. MFA 1986

His short nonfiction has appeared in The New York Times, New York Magazine, The Washington Po
More about Colin Harrison...

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »