• Doctor Dealer

  • The Rise and Fall of an All-American Boy and His Multimillion-Dollar Cocaine Empire
  • By: Mark Bowden
  • Narrated by: Christopher Kipiniak
  • Length: 18 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 30-12-13
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Audible Studios
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars 4.3 (34 ratings)


Doctor Dealer is the story of Larry Lavin, a bright, charismatic young man who rose from his working-class upbringing to win a scholarship to a prestigious boarding school, earn Ivy League college and dental degrees, and buy his family a house in one of Philadelphia's most exclusive suburbs. But behind the facade of his success was a dark secret - at every step of the way he was building the foundation for a cocaine empire that would grow to generate over $60 million in annual sales. Award-winning journalist Mark Bowden tells the saga of Lavin's rise and fall with the gripping, novelistic narrative style that won him international acclaim as the author of the New York Times best-seller Black Hawk Down.
©1987 Mark Bowden. Afterword copyright 2001 by Mark Bowden. Recorded by arrangement with Grove/Atlantic, Inc. (P)2013 Audible Inc.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Neilo on 24-06-16

Make your journey a bit longer

What made the experience of listening to Doctor Dealer the most enjoyable?

Fascinating, well told story. Made me ignore the sat nav and go the long way on every journey.

What does Christopher Kipiniak bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

I liked the way this was narrated. I was able to clearly identify each character by the way they spoke. Too often you come across narrators trying to do this but doing a terrible job.

Any additional comments?

If you like this kind of book, this is a must read/listen. Would make a great film.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By dawn on 26-04-18

Interesting but not captivating

In the end I got into this book, but it wasn’t ever particularly exciting or scandalous. I’d expected more of a Wolf of Wall Street style epic, but it was more of a slow burn.

That said, it had lots of lives involved and it was interesting to find out what happened to them all.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By farmhouselady on 11-08-15

Awesome writing - horrible narrating

Would you consider the audio edition of Doctor Dealer to be better than the print version?

I have no way of knowing whether the print edition would be better than the audio, since I have not read the hardcopy to compare it with.

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

It is just an extremely compelling story and to me, even the author's seeming desire to include every detail in no way detracts from the intense hold this book had on me, beginning to end.

What didn’t you like about Christopher Kipiniak’s performance?

What did I not like about the narrator? - where to begin!

A pet peeve I have is when the narrator attempts to act out each character in the story, applying various accents, voices, etc. It just CANNOT BE DONE in any effective manner. It is just a means for the narrator to draw attention to himself, and away from the writing. This narrator is guilty in the first degree of this crime! And what a horrible job of it he did.

But even on a different aspect, his straight reading was pitiful. He did not seem to have ever seen the pages before. He read very slowly and with a deliberate enunciation that might be more appropriate for kindergarden kids learning to associate the written word with the spoken word.

There did not seem to be any professional aspect to this narrator's reading, in my opinion. I think he saved his attention for the dialogues, where at least he did apply some attention and effort to it, such as it was. But for the non-dialogue parts, it was quite difficult to "sit through" it so as not to miss out on the flow of the story, because of the flat, labored presentation of the writing. For me, that took discipline, even though I did find the entire book, details and all, intensely interesting. The narration just added, for me, a pall of anger over what should have been a thoroughly positive experience - the anger being over why the narrator had to insert himself into my enjoyment of just the book itself. The book was not written to be acted out - it is NOT A SCREENPLAY. It was written to be READ.

It is amazing to me that quite a few narrators of audiobooks get away with hogging the action, as it were, when it seems the objective ought plainly to be READING the book. Why don't the people doing the hiring understand this point?

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

The story was incredible. And the authorship was so awesome that it was not at all hard to fathom how it happened that this one guy went from semi-normal kid to illicit drug kingpin over a short period of time. The focus was mainly on the main character, and the portrayal was somewhat sympathetic, but also unsparing of the fact of the overwhelming stupidity and endless greed that was at work.

I think a lot of us "of a certain age" can really identify with this guy, having been in similar situations early on and having come to a crossroads where we took a saner path but perhaps just as easily could have taken the one the guy did. It was the times - the 80's, there was lots of pot around on campuses, there was a lot of rebellion against the establishment. A lot of things came together in the person of the main character that brought the results he eventually had to face.

Any additional comments?

Mark Bowden in my opinion has joined the ranks of Olsen and Rule. This is just an outstanding piece of work. I will definitely be on his trail from here on in. True crime lovers, rejoice! Even with the passing of the great ones, we still have the means to feed our craving.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Richard Owens on 23-08-15


Mark Bowden characterized, and depicted Larry Lavin as one of the many amiable, professional entrepreneurs many of us want to emulate one day; whether ones path be legitimacy or illegitimacy, perhaps both- To read the story of Mr Lavin is true pleasure, while easily relating to not only his character/personality but that of his peers, associates, and fellow drug dealers who all make this entertaining saga of riches living high, inclusive of the ups & downs associated with the aforementioned risk with drugs. A semi Wolf Of Wall Street, Jordan Belfort persona is exuded in lavish things in life, while having an out more than one occasion, Unfortunately greed cannot continue to persevere in the lifestyle chosen by Larry Lavin in this book, and Bowden rocked it out as he did in writing Killing Pablo, only this lesser known story Trumped that in my opinion. Well written, easy to form characters cations based on Bowdens attention to detail & seamless portrayal of the story in addition to the setting, history, and overall tone....Only question: WHERE IS THE SCREENPLAY!

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