Bringing Out the Dead
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Bringing Out the Dead

3.63 of 5 stars 3.63  ·  rating details  ·  692 ratings  ·  71 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...more
Hardcover, First, 271 pages
Published August 31st 1998 by Knopf (first published 1998)
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Brian White
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,...more

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...more
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...more
Nate Hendrix
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.
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.

Ghetto Medic
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.
Rich Pliskin
Kinda boring. The main character is unrelentingly gloomy in a cliche way -- drinks too much, job has gotten to him, has nightmares of dead people he didn't save, wife left him, etc.
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...more
Great book and under-rated movie.
Dr. Detroit
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
J.A. Callan
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 allergies in his writing and he maintains an oppressive sense of dread throughout the book. The only fault I could find is...more
-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...more
Christina Marie Rau
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
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
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,...more
Ray Cavanaugh
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...more
Anne Mutter
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.
Uninteresting stories about being a paramedic with repeated, in your face symbolism, and a story that went nowhere.
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
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.
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.

i read this book a long time ago, but really liked it. i am going re-read it, as i think i was not able to understand a lot of it.
this book is a raw look at into the world of EMT's in New York City. it follows two men who save people everyday, when they are the ones that really need to be saved. they struggle with drug and alcohol addiction, crazy patients and thier own minds.
i can't remember much more- i'll update my review once i read it again.
waking beasts
Rereading this one. Essentially it's a true story in a lot of ways. The author wrote some articles about what it was like coming out of this story as apart of his experience and then seeing it turned to film, watching someone play an experience he lived. The article was so well done I bought the book. It's an interesting brief novel about living as an ambulance driver in NYC and all the ghosts that go along with that.
Three stars, not because I liked it but because it was a decent book. I just felt like I worked with this guy and he tried to glorify the job by writing about all the things he hated and the things that are not on TV. Obviously versed in medicine and EMS, but not how I remember (nor would like to remember) my time as a Paramedic. He sure nailed the lingo and 'burned out' mentality, though.
A great novel about a profession I have always been curious about. I found it profoundly intriguing and yet not surprising to hear the slightly off personalities surrounding and fulfilling the ranks of the traffickers of pain, death and the curiously mirthful. The protagonist's self-admitted phantom presence in his own love life serves to complete his slowly, at first, breakdown.
A gritty look at EMT life in the Big Apple and the toll the profession takes on practitioners from someone who's been there. The characters were interesting, but none particularly likeable. The story got repetitive after a while. And, not that I'm squeamish, but the library's copy was well-stained. It's one thing to read about body fluids... I did much hand washing. Ick!
This book is a head-spinner. Kind of the One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest of EMTs. Yes, there's little plot or direction, unless you count the haunting "Rose" that keeps appearing -- just vivid scene after vivid scene. Made me think about the big picture, futility of life, and gratitude for people who keep plugging away.
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