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
"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)
Narrative makes the world go round.
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.
Mystery reader (especially series) and Austen lover
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.
I mainly read mysteries, and sci-fi, sometimes with a dose of humor, and I love the BBC. I enjoy the hidden gems more than the best-sellers.
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.
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.
Stiff... All Wrong
I laughed out loud several times.
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.
Grandma bibliophile! Audible books make reading with an active life possible.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I almost didn't continue listening to this book after the first 30 to 60 minutes. The lead character narrates and he's just wordy and flippant, to a fault. I found myself wishing he'd be serious for once, or just shut up. But slowly, i either got used to him, or the yammering slowed a bit (or maybe both), and i really kind of got sucked into this story. I was surprised how much i ended up enjoying the book and definitely recommend it. Just be prepared for a rough beginning.
a little disappointing. The narrator was trying to be cute but came of too cutesy with all the aside and snarky comments. At times I found the story hard to follow and finally gave up trying to follow along. I just accepted what was going on and rode the story to the end. Don't think I'll try his next book, if it ever gets published. Maybe Hugh should spend his time pursuing his other activities, for which he is more talented??
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.
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