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The Gun Seller | [Hugh Laurie]

The Gun Seller

Cold-blooded murder just isn't Thomas Lang's cup of tea. Offered a bundle to assassinate an American industrialist, he opts to warn the intended victim instead - a good deed that soon takes a bad turn. Quicker than he can down a shot of his favorite whiskey, Lang is bashing heads with a Buddha statue, matching wits with evil billionaires, and putting his life (among other things) in the hands of a bevy of femme fatales. Up against rogue CIA agents, wannabe terrorists, and an arms dealer looking to make a high-tech killing, Lang's out to save the leggy lady he has come to love...and prevent an international bloodbath to boot.
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Publisher's Summary

Cold-blooded murder just isn't Thomas Lang's cup of tea. Offered a bundle to assassinate an American industrialist, he opts to warn the intended victim instead - a good deed that soon takes a bad turn. Quicker than he can down a shot of his favorite whiskey, Lang is bashing heads with a Buddha statue, matching wits with evil billionaires, and putting his life (among other things) in the hands of a bevy of femme fatales.

Up against rogue CIA agents, wannabe terrorists, and an arms dealer looking to make a high-tech killing, Lang's out to save the leggy lady he has come to love...and prevent an international bloodbath to boot.

©1996 Hugh Laurie. Recorded by arrangement with Harold Ober Associates. (P)2012 HighBridge Company

What the Critics Say

"Fast, topical, wry, suspenseful, hilarious, witty, surprising, ridiculous and pretty wonderful. And you don't need a permit to buy it." (The Washington Post Book World)

"A first-rate thriller...an awesome entertainment machine." (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

"[A] ripping spoof of the spy genre." (Vanity Fair)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (215 )
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3.8 (192 )
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4.1 (192 )
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    connie Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada 10-19-12
    connie Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada 10-19-12

    trying to see the world with my ears

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    "May he write on!"

    I love Laurie's audiobook narration, i love House and Bertie and Jeeves, etc. but can Laurie write on top of all that? Yes! This is silly in a few places, but laugh out loud funny in many others - and unlike me, Lauire doesn't need to fall back on cliches. This is cleverly plotted and well-wriiten, and is great comic relief if, like me, you read too many espionage or police procedurals.

    Written and set pre 9/11 but after the first Gulf war, it's in the style of a "Wag the Dog" but original. More than make laughs, this novel makes a statement.

    The listen was a little violent for my cozy tastes, with action and death and detail about the guns used, but it wasn't over the top. I suppose this would give the novel a wider appeal.

    Prebble delivers his usual excellent narration. The only thing that could have made this a better listen would be narration by Laurie himself. Now that he's hung up the stethoscope, I hope he picks up a pen AND audiobook microphone again.

    28 of 29 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nancy J Tornado Alley OK 10-17-13
    Nancy J Tornado Alley OK 10-17-13 Member Since 2011

    Mystery reader (especially series) and Austen lover

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    ". . . and he can write, too!"


    The Gun Seller is a wonderful spy spoof, very well written by Hugh Laurie of House and Jeeves and Bertie, but most important for this review, of A Bit of Fry and Laurie. As I listened to Simon Prebble's excellent narration, I could almost hear Laurie saying the words himself. He wrote this book with a bit of the same cadence and the same prefaces, asides, dependent and independent clauses, and disclaimers as he and Stephen Fry tend to attach to their sentences in their comedy act.

    Laurie throws the reader right into the middle of the plot with the first sentence, and the story goes along at speed. The best this reader could do was simply hold on, enjoy the ride and the send-up of the spy thriller genre, and trust that all would be revealed in time. And most of it was. In the meantime, I thoroughly enjoyed the characters, the ironic dialog, and the plot, which included many changes in direction and plenty of red herrings. Only at the end do you find out which guys are bad guys and which are (comparatively) good guys.

    I highly recommend this book. The only thing that might make it better would be to have Laurie himself do the narration.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shaliali 05-28-13
    Shaliali 05-28-13 Member Since 2007

    I love the BBC and British mysteries, but my tastes are very eclectic. I live with my husband and menagerie of rescued cats and dogs.

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    "Needed a Hugh Laurie-like voice"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Gun Seller to be better than the print version?

    Most definitely NOT!

    I ordered this book as an import from the UK before it was even available in the US because I enjoy the wit of Hugh Laurie. When I read it, I heard his self-effacing, Bertie Wooster-esque voice as the main character. I realize it was too much to hope for to have him as the narrator, but Simon Prebble was all wrong for this part. Prebble, who is one of my all time favorite narrators, is just too formal, sounded too old and too educated for this character. It didn't ruin the book, but it was definitely a different take on the character than I heard when I read the book for myself.


    Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

    Well, not exactly... It was just so absurd (intentionally so) that "edge of the seat" suspense was not really realistic, but I was always curious about what was going to happen to the protagonist next.


    What three words best describe Simon Prebble’s performance?

    Stiff... All Wrong


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

    I laughed out loud several times.


    Any additional comments?

    Buy the print version and imagine Hugh Laurie reading it. But if you're not a reader, this is certainly better than not enjoying this book at all.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mike Bethesda, MD, United States 03-17-13
    Mike Bethesda, MD, United States 03-17-13 Member Since 2005

    Semi retired / worked mostly Nonprofits. Lv Blues into Rock & Roll Lv mysteries (mstly Pol procs) Lv Baseball / Played til 55 - umpd til 63

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    "Not Fair"

    Disclaimer: I'm a major Hugh Laurie fan. I enjoyed Fry & Laurie, found his portrayal of House good and better than the series, to say nothing of his fabulous album.

    This is a wonderful listen. A good tale, with quite a bit of humor. What is interesting is that Laurie has, so far, resisted the temptation to write "the next chapter".

    Again, if you enjoy a fun read, that will drive you to the turn the next page, this is a pick for you.

    I have to wonder if it might have been even better, if Laurie had done the narration.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jo Green Cordova, TN, United States 10-26-12
    Jo Green Cordova, TN, United States 10-26-12 Member Since 2002

    Grandma bibliophile! Audible books make reading with an active life possible.

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    "Good - not great, but not a credit waste!"

    This book I had to listen to, because I love Hugh Laurie and Simon Prebble. It wasn't as great as I was hoping, but it did have numerous funny parts. Simon Prebble was awesome as usual and the story did have me giggling in parts. Thomas seems like a "Dennis-the-menace" and the inspector from the Pink Panther rolled into one. Sometimes he's a little clueless, and sometimes he just gets in trouble just because he's there. The plot was OK, and kept me entertained enough to keep me listening through the entire book. I did get distracted a couple of times, and that doesn't happen if a book is on the excellent end of the scale, but it was good enough that after a few months I will listen again just for fun.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Calliope 09-19-13
    Calliope 09-19-13
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    "scattershot observations don't make for humour"

    I get what Hugh Laurie was trying to do, I think, but the scattershot of stream of consciousness observations really aren't that funny most of the time. There were occasionally funny shots from the narrator, but I'd say the humour hit the mark no more than 20% of the time. Too low a percentage for me to recommend this book, since it really is supposed to be a humourous parody.

    I kept listening because I thought that perhaps I just didn't "get" the British humour and I'd warm up to it, or perhaps I'd stop thinking "spy story" and start thinking "comedy" (as it took me a while to start laughing at Janet Evanovich's books), but the humour just didn't materialize any more often than occasionally. And while I was waiting for it, there was a constant gurgle of inane observations and idle thoughts that made the rest of it drawn out and rather boring.

    To top it off, the narrator did a lousy job of the 3 or 4 different American accents he was supposed to portray - not even 1 of them really sounded like any American accent I've ever heard (which is kind of ironic, as the author himself has proven himself very talented at maintaining a credible American accent for 8 seasons on television - some House viewers didn't know he was British for several years). Normally, it wouldn't be that big a deal except undercover work was a part of the story, so credible accents are a part of that. It wouldn't have stood out in print, but it did bring the audiobook down a notch, in my opinion.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Darryl Cedar Rapids, IA, United States 02-09-13
    Darryl Cedar Rapids, IA, United States 02-09-13 Member Since 2005
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    "fun noir-ish thriller"

    i loved the voice of the noir-ish smart aleck early on and laughed at the quips. the story starts good and fast and continues on in the same manner. a lot of fun that gets a little serious as it goes on, with some great "moral" issues to think over and there are plenty of twists and turns along the way. great thriller that could only have been better if Laurie had read it himself. very talented man, nice writing as well, i recommend it.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anna Seattle, WA, USA 12-28-13
    Anna Seattle, WA, USA 12-28-13 Member Since 2007
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    "A diverting listen"
    Any additional comments?

    About what you might expect from this author and the title/genre: a witty thriller with a lot of violence but, happily, a low body count. Also happily, it doesn't suffer from overly low humor, and the hero is neither a bumbling fool nor an egomaniac. He is, however, male, and I think the book skews toward things that male readers like to spend time on: cars, motorcycles, weapons, etc. As a female, I think I would have preferred more character development. But I definitely enjoyed the book, and found it laugh-out-loud funny at times. And although I would love to hear it read sometime by its author, I truly enjoyed the very skilled character portrayals and narration by Simon Prebble.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Long Columbia, SC, USA 12-24-13
    Long Columbia, SC, USA 12-24-13 Member Since 2005
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    "great book!!! Didn't realize that "house" wrote it"
    Would you listen to The Gun Seller again? Why?

    Very entertaining. I've never read a spy book like this. It very British and parodies the James Bond era type of characters.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Gun Seller?

    The beginning of the book hooks you in. He describes how one would break an arm....


    Which character – as performed by Simon Prebble – was your favorite?

    The Thomas Lange character was very good.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    When Joseph asks him if he was a good man.


    Any additional comments?

    This was thoroughly an enjoyable read.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    A. F. Apeland World 12-21-13
    A. F. Apeland World 12-21-13 Member Since 2013

    polyglot vir Jesus

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    "Very Nearly Sublime"
    If you could sum up The Gun Seller in three words, what would they be?

    Savvy, Entertaining, Fun


    Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

    It did. I was not sure where Laurie was going with it much of the time because I like to be surprised and I try not to think ahead or figure out the plot. I was certainly surprised in the most pleasant way.


    Have you listened to any of Simon Prebble’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    This was my first time listening to Simon Prebble perform and I found him almost perfectly delightful, save for my occasional confusion with accents.


    If you could take any character from The Gun Seller out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    I would take Sarah Wolf out to pick her brain, understand her motivations and drives, her upbringing and how she envisioned her future.


    Any additional comments?

    A very easy way to pass time and thoroughly enjoyable.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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