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The 25th Hour

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  4,596 ratings  ·  446 reviews
The brilliant debut novel from the critically acclaimed author of City of Thieves and When the Nines Roll Over and the co-creator of the HBO series Game of Thrones, adapted as a feature film by Spike Lee starring Edward Norton and Philip Seymour Hoffman

"Novels like The 25th Hour don't fall out of trees every day. The tone is dark and intense; its elegant style is cut on
Paperback, 224 pages
Published January 29th 2002 by Penguin Books (first published 2000)
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3.81  · 
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 ·  4,596 ratings  ·  446 reviews

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"This life came so close to never happening..."
This is the real deal. Taut, engaging writing, themes that aren't shoved down your throat, and great characters that stick with you. Pretty-boy drug dealer Monty gets pinched and is about to get sent upstate for 7 years, so he decides to spend his last free day saying goodbye to his friends and family, including Wall Street hustler Frank, school-teacher Jacob, who fantasizes about his sexy high school student, and Monty's girlfriend Naturelle, w
Sep 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: modern-lit
David Benioff is perfect.

I know, I know, he can't be. For a start his books are really popular, so he can't be good, right? I mean not really good, not if he's making a living out of it.

And honestly, his novels: they start at the start and end at the end, they have a story to them and fantastic characters. I mean, how passé can you get?

Hang on a tick. I think this is what I meant to say:

I started this yesterday, began it again at breakfast and couldn't do a thing until it was finished.

Apr 04, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Two stars completely defines how I felt about this book. It was ok. It kind of pains me to say this because his other book, City of Thieves, is a marvelous five-star read!

The good: well-drawn characters that are introduced to us as individuals and then shown in a whole new context when these three friends all come together.

The ok: I couldn’t summon much interest for the story or for those well-drawn characters and I found that I didn’t much care what happened to any of them. There were a coupl
Joshua Allen
Feb 03, 2008 rated it really liked it
I really like this movie so figured I should check out the source material -- turns out it's exactly like the movie..? Or, you know, vice versa. But it almost feels like it was written with a movie in mind, what with its shortness and visual descriptions and whatnot. The fact that the author went on to be a screenwriter surprises me not a whit.

Also can I say the author is WAY too handsome to be a writer? It's SICKENING. But it does lend some authenticity to his descriptions of Monty, the protago
I holy-shit-loved David Benioff’s second book, City of Thieves, back when I read it in 2009, and I’ve been book-pushing it to friends ever since. (FYI, they’ve all loved it, too.) But I never got around to reading his first book until now (partly because it’s kind of hard to track down–also, I’ve never seen the film, which is apparently pretty great).

Ultimately, The 25th Hour was kind of a let down for me, but I say “kind of” because, a) it was really well-written, and b) really short. So even t
Dec 13, 2015 rated it liked it
I picked up The 25th Hour because of my initial interest in Benioff’s other book, City of Thieves, but I often prefer to read an author’s work in order of release, especially with one I have no experience. I wasn’t disappointed in The 25th Hour, but I do believe that City of Thieves will be the better book.

This one is a small book encompassing (like its title hints to) one day in the life of four main characters. Three of these people are friends, the other being the main character’s girlfriend.
Another tough one to rate... 3.5/5, rounded down.

I've wanted to read a David Benioff book for a while now. I don't know why it took me this long to do that, but I finally did. While my rating for this book isn't as high as I expected, I did enjoy several things about it.

I really loved the writing style. I loved it a lot. Benioff's words pack a punch; he says a lot in so few words.This book was not as action packed as I suspected it would be, but the prose kept me engaged and interested the ent
Adam Floridia
May 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
Pre-reading: This has long been one of my top ten favorite movies. Top ten may not sound like much, but this is coming from someone with a dvd collection topping 600. You see, I used to work in a store that sold used albums (ironic since I don't know shit about music) as well as a few movies and video games. My corpocratic tyrant of a boss typically paid me not in cash, but in movies, and that is the story of how my collection began. (Aside: that entire aside was simply so I could take a jab at ...more
Aug 14, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: challenges
City of Thieves is one of my all-time favorites so I’ve had The 25th Hour on my shelf with hopes of getting to it much earlier than now. When I learned that the movie was currently playing on cable, I read the book and then immediately watched the movie. They are almost exactly alike. Not so strange, I guess, considering David Benioff also penned the screenplay. Wasn’t thrilled with the choice of Edward Norton playing Monty, the guy counting down the 24 hours until he has to report to prison for ...more
Asghar Abbas
Nov 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

One of those hip New York books by a young waspy guy that is supposed to be chic. In this case, it actually was; very, very, good work with fleshed out and thoughtful characters.

Benioff incidentally is one of the show-runners of Game of Thrones.
Lisa Rathbun
Jul 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am amazed that a book with such a simple plot in which very little happens could be so very compelling. The reason is that the author created realistic and interesting characters. It is the last day before Monty goes to federal prison for seven years for drug dealing. You experience his thoughts and the thoughts of his two best friends, Jakob and Frank. The latter two, as well as Jakob's "mentor", an older teacher, seem to illustrate the statement that "most men lead lives of quiet desperation ...more
Jul 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Taking place during a 25-hour period, the novel presents the story of Monty Brogan, all-around good-looking bad boy who's managed to get himself arrested for drug dealing. And he's headed to jail after one more night of celebration. During the course of the story, we're introduced to his girlfriend and his two best friends. In 210 pages, I felt like I knew these characters, truly understood them. This is no small accomplishment for any writer. The characters are all tragically flawed, especially ...more
Dec 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
HAPPY NEW YEAR! Brilliant gritty first novel by Benihoff and a great way to start off the new year with a 5
Mar 04, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
Monty (Montgomery) has screwed up his life. He is 26 years old, is handsome, has a beautiful girlfriend and a great apartment. Monty had a scholarship to attend a private high school, but messed that up. He started dealing drugs in high school and ended up getting tossed out of school. Monty says he was just six months away from having enough money to quit, but he got caught by the Feds, and in 24 hours he must report for a seven-year sentence. The best he will get is a reduction in his sentence ...more
Mehmet Dönmez
It was very recent that I realized that Spike Lee’s best film 25th Hour was an adaptation and as I did, simply ordered the book oversea...

Fantastic vivid ballad to friendship, New York and relations, my insufficiency on slang vocabulary did not diminish the pleasure I have tasted.

The only piece of art that make me weep in different disciplines, I thought for the movie version Terrence Blanchard excellent score impressed me as well but having read the book now I understand it is nothing but Mont
Aug 23, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Monty Brogan is a handsome guy, he's got a beautiful girlfriend, he owns a gorgeous Corvette and an attractive apartment. He's got two best friends that he's had by his side his entire life and a dog named Doyle that he loves more then anything. But in 24 hours, it'll all be out of his hands and he'll be on a bus to Ottsville Prison. You see, Monty didn't get his Corvette by playing by the rules and paying taxes. For the majority of his life, he's been making his money by selling drugs on the st ...more
Michelle Keill
May 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I first read this book in about nine years ago, and I loved it then. Second time round, it's even better.

Without being overly dramatic, or explicit in its descriptions of emotions, places, and people, this book manages to be evocative, and haunting. I feel Monty's sadness, and the spectrum of pain and regret experienced by all of the characters. Indeed, the whole book is tinged with regret, that feeling of, "What if I hadn't done that - what if I had taken a different path?" that we all go throu
Mar 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this entire book yesterday afternoon & evening. It's by the same author who wrote City of Thieves, which I read last week. In the movie vs book debate, I always prefer to read the book first before seeing the movie. Haven't seen this movie yet, but it can't be as good as the book. Marty Brogan is a unique character; one really wants to feel sorry for him, but as the laws of karma go, he got what he deserved. I most liked the character of Jake, who reminded me of the character played b ...more
Jun 15, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I loved the City of Thieves and willing to read anything the author put out. But this almost silly book about a juvenile, pompous little drug dealer who considers "sway" the all important goal in life is really a disappointment. What a jerk. The other characters arent much better and the whole "plot" sways away under the tedious tide of words. Hard to get through. Best parts are the portrayal of the relationship between "buddies", fathers and girl friend but even these ties are loose and seem ru ...more
Michael Cannell
Nov 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I could list the cliches -- the tough guy who nurses an abandoned pit bull back to health, the Wall Street trader who makes a fortune but it still unfulfilled, the shy teacher who regrets his failure to assert himself with women. But I will only say that this book, a slim volume, was so suspenseful that I literally felt sick to my stomack in its final chapter. After its unusual and poetic ending, I immediately wen to the library to look for the next book by David Benioff.
Josh Peterson
Mar 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Incredible writing. Vivid storytelling. Characters that you feel like you know. Somehow only 182 pages. Truly never knew where it was going. And that ending, especially the last line. Masterful. 9.5/10
Sep 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wish David Benioff would write more novels. I really liked City of Thieves and I finally got around to reading the 25th Hour and liked it, too. I was a little master's thesis-y but he does such a great job with characters and making them compelling although not particularly likeable which after 40+ years as a reader, I'm realizing is one of the skills really GOOD writers have. (I'll refrain from mentioning all the writers without this skill who have helped me learn this invaluable lesson. Ahem ...more
Jul 26, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017-reads
I so wanted to fall in love with this book as the way I did with City of Thieves. Not a bad book at all, I really enjoy this author's writing style, but I felt the story just fell flat with the "what if" scenario at the end. Oh well...3.5 stars from me
Jun 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Yeah, I really liked this story. just my style too, short and to the point!! I've heard and read good things about the movie, but probably won't see it again, not after having read the book. Hard to envision Edward Norton in the lead role - so I didn't as I read the book. And, I loved the way the story ended so I can now say I don't always need my stories wrapped up in a neat bow!!
Jan 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Aaaaarrrrrggggghhhhhhh! My well-meaning husband deleted my review by mistake. Sorry, just had to get that out. And let you know that I may not be doing the book justice because it's hard to put your heart and soul into it the second time around.

Anyway, this is not a book for people who like happy books about happy people in happy situations. This is the story of Monty Brogan, a charismatic and wildly successful drug dealer who has finally been caught and has 24 hours before he needs to report to
Dec 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are films that make you want to read the book, and "The 25th Hour" by Spike Lee is one of those, thankfully I would add, considering that this novel is a masterpiece. Written by an author whom I had already appreciated for "The City of Thieves" and that I found to be also one of the writers of the screenplay of "Games of Thrones", this book is just perfect: never a word that is too much, never granted even if the plot in itself does not leave much room for maneuver and a cast of characters ...more
Nov 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
When I first started reading Benioff's debut novel I found the characters unique and interesting. But the more I read I found their intrigue coming more from the fact that they seem to be a reflection of emotions and feelings that everyone has. This book requires that you do not judge its characters but instead think about the 'cards' that they are dealt and wonder how you would play the hand. It showcases to me just how paper thin a person's sense of right and wrong can be in a complex world. T ...more
Ali Murphy
Dec 31, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a tight little nugget of a story this is! Benioff is talented. I read “City of Thieves” earlier this year and it will definitely be in my top-ten reads of 2016. “The 25th Hour” is good, but it doesn’t reach the heights of “Thieves.”

The characters in this book are well-drawn and there is an arc to the story – it ends, really in the only way it can, but you have to read to the end to be sure. There was a strong pull to get to the end, to see what Monty would do. What would his friends do? Ev
Jan 24, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I didn't enjoy this story, though I got through it hoping something interesting would eventually happen. It didn't. The story traces the final 24 hours of a drug dealer's life before he's to report to prison for seven years (for his dealing). It's impossible for me to have any sympathy for a drug dealer, although Benioff does his best to pull it off. There are also too many charaters here, and for a thin book -- one that's barely over 200 pages -- there's not enough space given to developing the ...more
Mar 06, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Didn't love this book nearly as much as I liked the movie based on it or as much as I liked Benioff's second novel, City of Thieves. Felt that the first half of the novel didn't really come together, but the second half was better - the characters became more real to me and I began to care about them. but perhaps it was too little and too late. On the other hand, Benioff's love for and knowledge of NYC shine through in this novel and I really enjoyed that aspect of the book. A good book, but not ...more
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Bret Easton Ellis...: The 25th Hour Ending 3 32 Jul 16, 2014 09:32PM  

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David Benioff worked as a nightclub bouncer in San Francisco, a radio DJ in Wyoming and an English teacher/wrestling coach in Brooklyn before selling his first novel, The 25th Hour, in 2000.

He later wrote the screenplay for Spike Lee’s adaptation of 25th Hour starring Edward Norton and Phillip Seymour Hoffman. In 2005, Viking Press published Benioff’s collection of short stories, When the Nines Ro
“This life came so close to never happening..” 14 likes
“What Slattery wants is a ring painted on concrete in the empty desert. With no living spectator around for miles, just him and the grinning demons. A chance to fight them each, one by one . . . to leave them broken and humbled, or even to lose the fights, but with nobility, and earn the respect of all the men who have showed him none. I want peace, he thinks to himself late at night. I want peace. But then he dreams of fistfights.” 3 likes
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