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Bad Call

A Summer Job on a New York Ambulance
Written by: Mike Scardino
Narrated by: Daniel Thomas May
Length: 7 hrs and 30 mins

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Publisher's Summary

An adrenaline-fueled read that will stay with you long after the you listen to the last sentence, Bad Call is a "compulsively readable, totally unforgettable"* memoir about working on a New York City ambulance in the 1960s. (*James Patterson)

Bad Call is Mike Scardino's visceral, fast-moving, and mordantly funny account of the summers he spent working as an "ambulance attendant" on the mean streets of late-1960s New York.

Fueled by adrenaline and Sabrett's hot dogs, young Mike spends his days speeding from one chaotic emergency to another. His adventures take him into the middle of incipient race riots, to the scene of a plane crash at JFK airport and into private lives all over Queens, where New Yorkers are suffering, and dying, in unimaginable ways. Learning on the job, Mike encounters all manner of freakish accidents (the man who drank Drano, the woman attacked by rats, the man who inflated like a balloon), meets countless unforgettable New York characters, falls in love, is nearly murdered, and gets an early and indelible education in the impermanence of life and the cruelty of chance.

Action-packed, poignant, and rich with details that bring Mike's world to technicolor life, Bad Call is a gritty portrait of a bygone era as well as a bracing reminder that, though "life itself is a fatal condition," it's worth pausing to notice the moments of beauty, hope, and everyday heroism along the way. 

©2018 Mike Scardino (P)2018 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"In this fresh and powerful debut memoir, Scardino looks back on his summers during college in the late 1960s when he worked as a New York City hospital ambulance attendant...Scardino recounts in short chapters the many emergencies he witnessed and assisted in that showed him 'the entire catalog of horrifying things that can happen to a human body.' From accidental deaths to suicides, Scardino writes with the detail of a crime reporter...Scardino's unsparing memoir offers an empathetic look at human pain and suffering." (Publishers Weekly, starred review)

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  • Andrei Arkhipov
  • 19-08-18

<Can’t make this up> stories

This book puts you in the life of an ambulance worker. From start to end it is filled with stories of death and survival under unusual circumstances and action that would be hard to make up if you tried, unless you’d been there. The author overlays the very graphic depictions with what goes through the mind of someone working in this tough profession. All together this makes for a very captivating read. If you are into nonfiction books that transcend you into a part of the world that you don’t normally get to see – this book is for you.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • D. Gullickson
  • 23-08-19

Great Listen

Being a retired EMT, it was a great story!
I Would definitely recommend to others.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • PCF
  • 10-03-19

I loved this book!

There is something about this book that cannot be explained. You just need to listen to it. The narrator did a phenomenal job! His voice portrayed what I am sure the author intended. I wish every audible book was as well done as this one. This new EMT takes the listener along for a ride on the calls he goes on and explains things as if they are happening in the present tense. It is a very unique approach to writing. He'll say something like "Now we're going up to the 6th floor. I'm opening the door to the apartment now." I do think this book was hilarious at times and that might have been my medical background appreciating the dark humor of it. The calls they go on are sometimes shocking, other times just sad. He explains in detail what he goes through giving anyone considering this profession an earful. I really enjoyed this book and basically listened nearly straight through.

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  • Victoria Haugen
  • 14-02-19

AWESOME STORIES

Granted, this was decades ago, but it's complex in its simplicity... or something ;)

Loved the stories, really crazy ones! Dayum!
The maggots... the maggots!! LOL
Don't let that stop you, this is chock full of great stories, both sad and funny, and I really enjoyed the listen :)

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  • Scout
  • 09-12-18

Finished in One Sitting

I’m an artist in the midst of the holiday season, which means that in the year’s last quarter I spend around 16 hrs a day working on orders at my drafting table. 16 hours that I am desperate to fill with distractions.

This was one fantastic distraction! Time flew with each engrossing chapter until with dismay, I realized the book was finished and I’d listened to the entire thing in one go.

Mike Scardino provides an intense, unrelenting glimpse inside a NYC ambulance. This isn’t a novel about body horror and death, though, even as both are present (it is an ambulance, after all). Mr. Scardino’s perspective is equally beautiful and reflective as it is weary and jaded. With each hardship, he manages to leave one thoughtful instead of bogged down with angst.

Overall, a great listen! In three words: sobering, engrossing, and thoughtful.

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  • Arnold B. Klemens
  • 01-08-18

Short Stories of Experiences on an Ambulance

This is an interesting individual Account over a period of several years, working on an ambulance. If someone is considering a career in this field, this will be a good book to listen to.