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Bringing Out the Dead

3.67  ·  Rating Details  ·  884 Ratings  ·  80 Reviews
Perhaps only someone who has worked for almost a decade as a medic in New York City's Hell's Kitchen - as Joe Connelly has - could write a novel as riveting and fiercely authentic as Bringing Out the Dead. Like a front-line reporter, Connelly writes from deep within the experience, and the result is a debut novel of extraordinary power and intensity.

In Frank Pierce, a bras
Hardcover, First, 271 pages
Published August 31st 1998 by Knopf (first published 1998)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,532)
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Brian White
Apr 16, 2012 Brian White rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The main character, Frank Pierce, is a PARAMEDIC. Not an EMT. EMT is not a politically correct term for a Paramedic, they are two different, albeit related, positions in the medical field.

Okay, now that's out of my system . . .

Joe Connelly, thank you for writing this book.

To the nay sayers snarking that this story is an unrealistic portrayal of prehospital providers. You're missing the point. Pierce is the embodiment of anyone who has dealt with burnout; both addicted to, and sick of his job,
Jun 30, 2014 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a former EMT, I have my own first-hand knowledge of the symptoms of burn-out, and my career never took me anywhere nearly as intense as New York City. The EMTs and Paramedics who staff the ambulances in Manhattan are a breed unto themselves, handling an incredibly high call volume under almost unbelievable conditions. It is, perhaps, surprising that anyone survives that job with their sanity intact.

This novel, written by a former New York City paramedic, takes inside the world of the street p
Jul 24, 2008 William rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

i made it about one-third of the way through this book, about the scarifying experiences of a young emt in new york city, then i stopped. connelly’s writing is good, in places very good. and he describes many arresting anecdotes that would be strange to most of us and many quirky characters, some amusing, others tragic. all of it is plausibly derived from his real life experiences as an emt in new york. good writing, engaging incidents, exotic characters – what’s missing? plot. good old-fashione
Mar 30, 2011 Kathryn rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2011
This was an alarming novel to read, and not one for the overly sensitive, as it deals with about the worst things that can happen to an EMT in the worst possible area in the world at the worst possible time of day. Having said that, it’s a great book, and one that I enjoyed reading very much; and now that I am done reading it, I will make Richard (my better half) read it, as I think he’d love it.

Frank Pierce grew up in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood in Manhattan in New York City between 34th St
The narration sucks you right in from the very first page. We enter the world of burnt-out paramedic Frank Pierce over the course of two nights racing around Manhattan's Hell Kitchen saving the lost and the crazy all while seeing ghosts on every corner of the people who have died on his beat.

Connelly's writing is superb. There are some very smart descriptions, metaphors and analogies in his writing and he maintains an oppressive sense of dread throughout the book. The only fault I could find is
Nate Hendrix
Nov 01, 2011 Nate Hendrix rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A book written by a paramedic for paramedics. This is the best I have ever read about my proffesion. I know we have all felt the way the main character does from time to time. I have read that Joe Connelly's next book was not very good and I don't think he has written anything else. I loved the movie, but nonems didn't get it. Bringing out the dead is like a joke you have to explain. Either you get it or I can't explain it to you.
Jan 25, 2008 Lori rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
a NYC paramedic who is an alcoholic, workaholic and sees his dead victims walking the streets as he attempts to save lives. Makes me a little afraid to get sick and call 911.

I saw this movie when it first came out, and liked it. Had to order this book used online in order to read it. And really liked the book as well. I could see Nicholas Cage and Patricia Arquette and Ving Rhames in my head as I read through it.... It was interesting.

Oct 13, 2014 N. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I gave this book 4 stars upon finishing but I'm changing it to 5 stars because it won't let go of me. The story of a burned-out paramedic working for a private ambulance service in New York's Hell's Kitchen, Bringing Out the Dead is about burnout, addiction, and the ghosts paramedics carry with them. Beautifully written, deeply affecting, sometimes graphic and more than a little scary. You will come out of the reading feeling a little nervous about whether or not the people charged with keeping ...more
Ghetto Medic
Feb 20, 2012 Ghetto Medic rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Not sure what all the fuss was about. I didn't think it was a very compelling book and prodded on a lot. The saving grace is that I liked it better than the movie, but that wasn't saying much.
Mar 05, 2008 William rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book and under-rated movie.
Oct 27, 2011 Pauline rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
An ok read.
Nov 23, 2015 Corielle rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Joe Connelly, ex-medic, wrote Bringing Out the Dead based on his own experiences. And I'll tell you, it's a wild ride. Not really enjoyable, but a good read nonetheless. This book covers two nights, but it feels like weeks. The whole book has that effect, like you're thrown for real into this insane ambulance ride, and you come out the other side confused, exhausted, and understanding Frank's rapid decline.

Frank Pierce has been an EMS medic for (I think) 5 years. Over the past 12 or 13 months, h
Dr. Detroit
Oct 09, 2009 Dr. Detroit rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Joe Connelly's first novel is powerful stuff, definitely not for the faint of heart or those predisposed to depression. Frank Pierce is a downtrodden EMS medic whose world is rocked by the ghost of a girl he helped to kill and the memory of his ex-wife, who couldn't handle the afterburn. Connelly's prose is red-hot - he doesn't so much write as he does attack the beast - it leaps at your spine and pulverizes it, like being inside of a jet engine. He gets in and gets out, spinning EMS shop talk t ...more
Joe Noto
May 30, 2016 Joe Noto rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very dark, but actually quite a fun book. The main character is a supremely disturbed mentally and physically, but you can't blame him after reading just a few chapters of what he goes through as an EMS medic in Hell's Kitchen. This takes place over two nights and the imagery he experiences is incredible, but it's just another shift for him. The fact that the author actually was an EMS medic in NYC for 9 years really comes through on the pages. There's a lot going on on every page, but you can s ...more
Jan 02, 2016 Nick rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: drugs-booze
-Overall, I recommend, especially if the film drew you to the book.
-The book that played out in my mind was highly influenced by +10 year-old memories the film, which I enjoyed. Not 100% sure if I would have enjoyed the book as much as I did without those vague remembrances.
-Always had a fascination w/Paramedic-type work and that curiosity was satisfied.
-Only criticism: starts off cracker-jack, but loses steam in the final third. Hence 3 stars instead of 4 which I was very close to awardi
Christina Rau
Nov 13, 2015 Christina Rau rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
Here's a dose of reality. The scenes are so vivid and dramatic that I already have the images in my head how he wrote them. Connelly took his nine years as a paramedic and reinvented, recreated, and relived them on those pages. Between each chapter, we have an italicized snippet of a flash of time. The chapters themselves play around with time, death, life, and how the job can become life, death, and time all at once. We all have haunts at one time or another. I would imagine that those who work ...more
May 18, 2015 Vivian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Found this book highly entertaining particularly because my son in law is a paramedic and I've heard some of his stories. Some of the competition between trucks is more accurate than one might think...none of them want the boring transport calls.
Had this book for ages and finally started reading it a couple of days ago. Just finished. Fantastic! Definitely a darker and more depressing vantage point into the world of paramedics. It's dark, and it moves fast. Filled with vivid descriptions of New York's Hells Kitchen, it takes you deep into the belly of the night where only paramedics [and angels] dare to tread. But it's also filled with biting honesty and heartbreaking humor that can only be appreciated at the height of understanding tha ...more
John Wunder
Nov 10, 2011 John Wunder rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an incredibly intense book...not in the sense of hard to put down because you want to see what happens next, but hard to put down because the author gets you so involved in these intensely emotional and physical situations. It's like watching someone go crazy right in front of you, and Connelly really draws you in so you feel almost like you're going crazy alongside the main character (Frank).

The pacing is also clever in the same get hit again and again, thrown into the action,
Bryan D
Dec 18, 2015 Bryan D rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a powerful scary novel. I recall loving the film and am very impressed with the writing, the pace is fast and his depiction of the mental fragility of being around death is believable. If you enjoy reading Michael Crichton, Joe Connelly's book is well worth a read.
Ray Cavanaugh
Jan 12, 2011 Ray Cavanaugh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was one of the first books I ever read by my own choosing. Ten years later, I gave it a second try. It seems my tastes haven’t changed too much.

Bringing Out the Dead is a whacked-out after-hours ambulance chase through NYC’s concrete jungle. Plenty-a-haunting venue and several memorably desperate characters, such as one psychotic dude who literally can’t stop drinking water (a real-life, rare, and extremely lethal condition).

Connelly has considerable eloquence and an uncanny knack for viv
Jan 03, 2015 Steve rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I tried to read it but it was so depressing. I didn't empathize with the characters - then saw the movie with Nicholas Cage. That totally killed it for me.
Will Caverly
Oct 09, 2014 Will Caverly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Life through the eyes of a chronically sleep deprived paramedic, whose story becomes downright psychedelic. Have reread it several times.
Anne Mutter
Apr 04, 2014 Anne Mutter rated it really liked it
For anyone who has been in the medical field, this is a must read! Warring you need the sarcasm of a long term health care workers.
May 15, 2014 Julie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: debut
Uninteresting stories about being a paramedic with repeated, in your face symbolism, and a story that went nowhere.
Bryce Ian
Mar 16, 2016 Bryce Ian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great subject explored in depth. I mix of true life and fiction we rarely see.
Oct 02, 2012 Ayla rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ugh, i seriously need to start posting on this as soon as I've actually finished reading the book, not a thousand mind years later. because, of course, now i only have vague impressions of it. i loved the characters immensely, and they all just jumped off the page. I wish I had more to say, and when I read it again, I'll add more. On a side note to myself, I'm going to start reading, and making notes, just so I would be able to recall to myself what I liked about certain books, because I think I ...more
John Bunyan
Jul 27, 2013 John Bunyan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Connelly has crafted this well, setting a tone that lets you feel the burnout, the addiction and the guilt that weigh Frank down. It is all as unrelenting as the despair and suffering Frank encounters in the work. That is the flaw for in this story. The darkness almost blinded me to the humor. There is a lot of humor here but it was hard to fully appreciate because it was all shrouded in the blanket of misery. I recommend the book but really it's a bit short of four stars. I rounded up.
Blair Conrad
A big downer. I think it would've totally sucked me in if it had a plot. As it was, I was very interested in Frank's relationship with his former "clients", but didn't get much from his relationships with his coworkers.
I'd normally be turned off by a main character that I cared so little for, but I think knowing that he'd at least (partially) been made the way he was by his job helped.
If nothing else, the book helped increase my appreciation for EMTs and the job they do.
Adam Pope
Mar 31, 2012 Adam Pope rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Bringing Out The Dead should be the next book you read.
An unrelenting narrative. I had difficulty setting this boook down for fear the paramedics and patients would continue their lives without me.

OK I first gave it four stars. Then I thought more and was like, no way! I read parts of this book more than once. So good. The pace was incredible. I wanted to ride along with Frank Pierce again and again racing through the streets of Hells Kitchen, New York.

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