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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

The Levee

Narrator: JD Jackson

Author's note: William Kent Krueger


Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Originals

Publication Date: 02/28/2023

Format: Audiobook

My Rating: 5 Stars 🎧

An audio original novella from the bestselling author of Ordinary Grace and This Tender Land, The Levee is a powerful, captivating story of a family, a storm, a complicated rescue, and the true cost of survival.

It’s 1927, and the most devastating flood in American history has swelled the Mississippi River to a width of eighty miles. In an attempt to save a family trapped by the rising water, four men in a tiny rowboat battle the treacherous flow: three are convicts, on loan from the local prison and pressed into service; the fourth, the leader of the team, is driven by his own hidden motives. But to their surprise upon arrival at Ballymore, an ancestral home protected by a high, circular levee, not everyone in the family feels the need to be saved. Pride, greed, loyalty, and even love create their own complex currents behind the massive wall. As the threat from the flood increases and time ticks away, the crew and the family must decide on a course of action, and a desperate plan is hatched to save the weakening levee and all it was built to protect.

The Levee is a propulsive, heartfelt tale of courage, cowardice, and sacrifice in a historic moment when the indomitable human spirit is pitted against the awesome and destructive power of nature.

My Review

Master storyteller William Kent Krueger's (fav author) audible novella, THE LEVEE, is a moving, masterful tale of suspense about courage, family, secrets, and the power of nature.

The audio narrator, the talented JD Jackson (a favorite), and the perfect voice for this gripping novella—delivers an exceptional performance with this must-listen audio! Audio: 3 hours 39 minutes

Inspired by The Old Man—an adventure story by William Faulkner. When a flood ravages the countryside of the lower Mississippi, a convict finds himself adrift with a pregnant woman. One of the worst floods in the history of the US.

However, Krueger leaves us with a more positive spin of hope in THE LEVEE.

Set during the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927, we follow four men who set out in a rowboat during this horrific storm with rising waters to save a trapped family in their home. The Mississippi River south of Memphis swelled to 80 miles across, and hundreds of people were trapped or died.

Readers are introduced to four boatmen —Mobley, Boone, Cassidy, and Dobbs. A former priest and three convicts.

Told from Dobbs' POV.

Three inmates are released from prison to help with rescues, and they set out with a fourth man who supervises them. They end up at Ballymore, a stately house protected by a levee that may or may not be in danger of giving way and inhabited by a family torn about leaving.

The family refuses to leave their home, and they try to repair the damaged, weakening levee to keep the waters from their property.

A captivating conundrum of man and the natural world—each can behave surprisingly.

THE LEVEE is a compelling and thought-provoking tale with richly drawn characters set against a backdrop of a raging river and nature's wrath. Heroism, love, evil, and hope.

A story that lingers long after the book has ended.

Included in the audio, the author shares his inspiration behind the book as well as facts about the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and how he was haunted by this story.

Also included as a PDF to enhance the audiobook is an extensive Reading Guide with topics and questions for discussion and enhancements for your book club. Ideal for book clubs. Well done!

#JDCMustReadBooks | @JudithDCollins

Pub Date: Feb 28, 2023

My Rating: 5 💙Stars


“The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 engulfed tens of thousands of square miles, across ten states, with up to 30 feet of water… As the waters rise, the levee weakens, and the tension increases, Jackson's soothing, rhythmic narration is lulling. This allows for panicked dialogue to rise up and grip the listener like a cresting wave. His voice creates a cocoon around the listener like the levee itself, which seems protective but could ultimately mask great danger.”


“Golden Voice narrator JD Jackson acts out Krueger's dramatic audio-original novella… Jackson's deep, gravelly voice pervades the performance, shifting subtly to reflect the stiff-necked women and the strong-backed, sometimes bellicose, men. The raging river's inexorable attacks are reflected in Jackson's cadence as he adds emotional energy to the exhausting fight between men and the mighty Mississippi.”


“A masterwork, riveting and unputdownable with richly drawn characters set against the unforgiving backdrop of a raging river and the wrath of nature.”

—Kim Michele Richardson, NYT bestselling author of The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek

“William Kent Krueger is our generation’s Steinbeck. He is in touch with the American soul and writes with understanding and compassion for the human condition.”

—Mary Alice Monroe, author of The Beach House series

“William Kent Krueger's masterful tale of suspense about courage, family, secrets, and the power of nature is a must-listen!”

—New York Times bestselling author Marie Benedict

“A masterful mythic-scale story of heroism, love, evil, and folly clashing in the midst of a great flood.”

—Thomas Perry, author of the Jane Whitefield mysteries

“As a native Mississippian, The Levee rang very true to me. The voices were all speaking in a moment my father remembered. Thank you, William Kent Krueger, for taking me back to a time that was part of my own prehistory. I'm really glad I had that experience. As usual, the writing was brilliant."

—New York Times bestselling author Charlaine Harris

About the Author

Photo Credit: Diane Krueger

Raised in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon, William Kent Krueger briefly attended Stanford University—before being kicked out for radical activities. After that, he logged timber, worked construction, tried his hand at freelance journalism, and eventually ended up researching child development at the University of Minnesota. He’s been married for nearly fifty years to a marvelous woman who is a retired attorney. He makes his home in St. Paul, a city he dearly loves.

Krueger writes a mystery series set in the north woods of Minnesota. His protagonist is Cork O’Connor, the former sheriff of Tamarack County and a man of mixed heritage—part Irish and part Ojibwe. His work has received a number of awards, including the Minnesota Book Award, the Loft-McKnight Fiction Award, the Anthony Award, the Barry Award, the Dilys Award, and the Friends of American Writers Prize. His last nine novels were all New York Times bestsellers.

Ordinary Grace, his stand-alone novel published in 2013, received the Edgar Award, given by the Mystery Writers of America in recognition for the best novel published in that year. The companion novel, This Tender Land, was published in September 2019 and spent nearly six months on the New York Times bestseller list. WEBSITE

About the Narrator

JD Jackson is an actor, audiobook narrator, and acting instructor. He honed his craft while receiving a BA from Dillard University and an MFA from Temple University. He's enjoyed success in both the film and television industry, guest starring on such shows as House, ER, and Law & Order. He's won numerous awards for his audiobook narration, including several Earphones Awards and multiple Audie Award nominations, and was recently inducted into AudioFile magazine's Golden Voices Hall of Fame. READ MORE

Audie award-winning narrator who has recorded over 300 audiobook titles by such authors as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, Carl Sagan, Ernest J. Gaines, John Grisham, Eric Foner, Colson Whitehead & John Meachem.







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