Cover image for Derailed
Siegel, James.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York, NY : Time Warner Audio Books, [2003]

Physical Description:
5 audio discs (approximately 6 hrs.) : digital, stereophonic ; 4 3/4 in.
General Note:
Text abridged by Jan Werner.

Compact discs.
Corporate Subject:
Format :
Audiobook on CD


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Adult Audiobook on CD Audiobooks
X Adult Audiobook on CD Audiobooks
X Adult Audiobook on CD Audiobooks

On Order



When an English teacher at Attica State Prison asks his incarcerated students to write about why they're in prison, he is astounded by the story of Charles Schine, a white, upper middle-class ad exec. Charles reveals what brought him to Attica from a world of deceit, murder, and betrayal. Abridged.

Author Notes

James Siegel lives on Long Island, New York.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

The wages of sin seem to include people coming after you with knives (Fatal Attraction), snow globes (Adultery), and, now, with Siegel's pulp-fiction cautionary tale, guns and blackmail. An ad executive boards the morning commuter train, filled with uneasy thoughts of his ailing daughter. His thoughts and, later, his life, get derailed by the presence of an alluring woman across from him with whom (after she pays his fare, a gratuity for which he will pay dearly) he strikes up a flirtation. Flirting leads inevitably, in Siegel's heavily overlaid prose, to an assignation in a seedy hotel. A man bursts into the room, pistol-whips the ad executive, and rapes the woman. From there, the beating descends to blackmail and the ad exec's plotted revenge. All of this is delivered in one-note, depressive style, with the writing veering from bland tough guy to poor man's poetic, as in "Lucinda was dressed for success--if success was making Charles's eyes water with adoration and arousal." Siegel's over-the-top tone and the flatness of his characters detract from the improbable yet intriguing plot. His first novel, Epitaph [BKL My 1 01], was nominated for a Shamus Award. His second should draw heavy reader demand. --Connie FletcherAdult Books Young adult recommendations in this issue have been contributed by the Booklist staff and by reviewers Nancy Bent, John Charles, Patty Engelmann, Sally Estes, Beth Leistensnider, Shelley Mosley, Regina Schroeder, Candace Smith, and Linda Waddle. Titles recommended for teens are marked with the following symbols: YA, for books of general YA interest; YA/C, for books with particular curriculum value; YA/L, for books with a limited teenage audience; YA/M, for books best suited to mature teens.

Publisher's Weekly Review

There's an extraordinary amount of hype attached to this thriller, from a rave letter in the galley by Warner head Laurence J. Kirshbaum to an announced ad/ promo campaign of $500,000 and enthusiastic blurbs from Christopher Reich and, notably, James Patterson. The buzz is warranted: this story of a middle-class professional whose life goes incredibly, criminally awry is one of the most exciting thrillers in years. And why is a blurb from James Patterson notable? Because Siegel (Epitaph) seems to have learned at his feet. Like Patterson, Siegel is an ad man (a creative director at BBDO; and he, like Patterson, has created TV spots for his book) who mixes first- and third-person narration and knows how to reduce a thriller to its essence. Protagonist Charles Schine is also a Manhattan ad man, married, with a diabetic teen daughter; troubles at home and at work lead him to fall in lust with a sexy younger woman he meets on his commuter train, and finally to a hotel assignation that goes terribly wrong when an armed man bursts in, beats Charles and rapes his date, then blackmails Charles for a staggering amount of money. Charles tries to fight the blackmail by hiring muscle, a disastrous move that gets him into potentially dire legal trouble, as does his agreeing to participate in a company scam in a desperate bid to make back some of the blackmail money-and all that just takes readers into the middle of this terrific yarn, which will blindside them again and again with shocking but plausible twists. With its clean prose, high-velocity plotting and just the right amount of emotional shading darkening its sharply drawn characters, this novel is the bomb. (Feb. 19) Forecast: It's extremely tough for any author to crack bestseller lists for the first time, but with the Warner marketing machine plus the hot word-of-mouth this novel will generate, Siegel is a good bet to do it with this title. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Charles's assignation goes wrong when he and his intended are assaulted, an event that leads him to Attica. Rapidly becoming the publisher's biggest book of the season. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.