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A Thousand Naked Strangers by Kevin Hazzard

A Thousand Naked Strangers

by Kevin Hazzard
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Quick take

A rubbernecker's delight... Feel that secret voyeuristic pull we all have within the pages of this book.

Why I love it

"So what's the worst thing you've ever seen?" After a decade spent with Atlanta's most notorious ambulance service, Kevin Hazzard often gets the question every paramedic loves to hate.

After reading A Thousand Naked Strangers, it's hard to see how he begins to answer that question. Filled with too-bizarre-to-be-fake stories – from discovering week-old bodies that stick to the floor to performing CPR on a grandmother while her family watches TV in the next room to a topless woman, stabbed in the breast, taking off down an alley – Hazzard's memoir is a rubbernecker's delight. It's difficult not to feel that secret voyeuristic pull we all have within the pages of this book; this is a big part of what makes it so damn enjoyable.

But even in his most macabre moments, Hazzard never forgets that he is often seeing people on the worst day of their lives. "EMS is the greatest show I've ever seen, except it's not a show, it's all real," writes Hazzard. And that underlying humanity is the true appeal of his stories. Bookended by the reasons he got into the business in the first place and then the reasons he got out, his time driving Atlanta's worst neighborhoods is filled with equal parts kindness and malice, as much benevolence as cruelty.

Prepare yourself for no-holds-barred adrenaline rush in the back of Hazzard's ambulance, stories filled with sardonic swagger, truth and tragedy that will leave you stunned. But you'll keep reading because it's one hell of a ride: "Someday it'll be my turn. A call will be placed, an alarm will sound, an ambulance will shudder to life. And this crew, the one who shows up for my death, will be there for the same reason I hoped to show up for yours. Because it’s fun."

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