Excerpt from The Hit by Melvin Burgess, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Hit

by Melvin Burgess

The Hit
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Published:
    Feb 2014, 304 pages

  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
Donna Chavez

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

But he wasn't beaten yet. Practice, practice, practice — that's what he had to do. He could still make it if he tried hard enough.

The arena filled. Everyone was so wound up. A few fights broke out, but they were quickly put down, often by other people in the crowd. Even now, with every seat sold, the concert could be called off at any second.

When Earle came on the stage, the noise welled up like a climax before a single note had been played. He held out his hands and waited for the uproar to subside.

"We're going to play you a few songs," he said. "And it's going to be the performance of a lifetime."

He turned around, lashed out with his arm, and the band burst into the first number. The crowd roared. "He's great! He's so great!" screamed Lizzie.

"He's fantastic!" yelled Adam.

The people, the adrenaline, the noise. He'd never seen anything like it. He wondered if anyone ever had. Around them the crowd surged to its feet, and they jumped up with it, everyone laughing, weeping, yelling, dancing. And this was only the first song.

The concert was brilliant. Jimmy seemed to be singing his whole life up there in the space of a couple of hours. The noise got louder and louder as they neared the magic time — ten thirty — when he was supposed to die. Death was accurate; you could work out when you were going to go pretty much to the minute. Was he mad enough — committed enough — to have really taken Death?

With Jimmy, you could never tell.

As the last few minutes ticked by, the band launched into their current single, "Something to Live For." Jimmy howled and strutted his way through the song. Ten thirty came and he sang on. It was all a publicity stunt — of course!

But just when everyone was certain, the song died in his throat. He staggered. There was a gasp from the crowd. Jimmy almost fell, but then drew himself erect, and clamped the mike to his chest. The band petered out. Out of the speakers came a rapid beat.

Babangbangbangbangbabangbangbabababang bang.

Jimmy's heart. It sounded as if it was trying to hammer its way out of his chest.


The band started a countdown.

"Ten . . . nine . . . eight . . . seven . . ." The crowd went crazy.

"Don't do it, Jimmy! Don't leave us!" someone yelled.

". . . four . . . three . . . two . . . one."

Jimmy Earle looked up at the crowd and grinned. He spread his arms as if to say, Fooled ya! Then he tipped forward and fell flat on his face.

There was a moment of stunned silence. People stood at their seats, waiting for him to get up. Was it another trick? It had to be another trick. A beefy paramedic rushed onto the stage, flipped Earle over onto his back, and started chest compressions. They could see it all up there on the big screens, a hundred times larger than life. The guy was pounding on Earle's chest like he meant to break his ribs.

The crowd started up again, a different noise this time — a deep, nervous buzz, punctured with shouts and screams, building quickly. Onstage, one of the guitarists crossed himself, unplugged his guitar, and walked off. The drummer climbed down from his seat, came to the front, and said something into the mike. They couldn't quite make it out, but it sounded like, "Congratulations." The crowd was getting louder by the second. Someone nearby yelled, "I love you, Jimmy, I love you!" A girl just in front of them screamed, "Take me with you, Jimmy! I want to go, too!"

Some Red Cross people came running up the aisles but they didn't make it to the stage. Chaos broke out. The crowd surged for-ward and up toward the stage, trying to get to Jimmy. People were begging him to get up, begging him to live, demanding their money back. Security reacted furiously, lashing out, throwing people down.

Excerpted from The Hit by Melvin Burgess. Copyright © 2014 by Melvin Burgess. Excerpted by permission of The Chicken House. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  Subintentioned Death

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Opposite of Everyone
by Joshilyn Jackson

"Quirky and appealing characters, an engaging story, and honest dialogue make this a great book!"
- BookBrowse

About the book
Join the discussion!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Holding Up the Universe
    Holding Up the Universe
    by Jennifer Niven
    Jennifer Niven's spectacular Holding Up the Universe has everything that I love about Young ...
  • Book Jacket: Coffin Road
    Coffin Road
    by Peter May
    From its richly atmospheric opening to its dramatic conclusion, Peter May's Coffin Road is a ...
  • Book Jacket: The Guineveres
    The Guineveres
    by Sarah Domet
    It's a human need to know one's own identity, to belong to someone, to yearn for a place ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    by Daisy Goodwin

    Daisy Goodwin breathes new life into Victoria's story, and does so with sensitivity, verve, and wit." - Amanda Foreman

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win All the Gallant Men

All The Gallant Men

The first memoir by a USS Arizona survivor, 75 years after Pearl Harbor.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

K Y Eyes P

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.


Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!

Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.