A crime caper in the tradition of Elmore Leonard and Carl Hiaasen, this fast and funny debut is the story of "Shake" Bouchon, fresh out of prison and ready for life on the straight and narrow—well, maybe after one last job....
When Charles "Shake" Bouchon, professional wheel man, walks out of prison after a three-year stretch for grand theft auto, he's got only two problems: he's too nice a guy for the life he's led and not nice enough for any other. So he says yes when he's asked to run a simple errand for his former boss and lover, Alexandra Ilandryan, the formidable pakhan of the Armenian mob in Los Angeles. All Shake has to do is deliver a package to Las Vegas and pick up a briefcase. Only the package turns out to be a wholesome young housewife named Gina whose husband has run afoul of Dick Moby, aka "The Whale", an unpleasant 400-pound Vegas strip-club owner. Shake hates to think what's going to happen to Gina when he delivers her to The Whale, so in a move that's as noble as it is boneheaded, he decides to set her free.
Now Shake and Gina are on the run to Panama, hoping to unload the very valuable—and highly unusual—contents of The Whale's briefcase. Shake could end up a rich man, but first he'll have to outmaneuver two angry crime bosses, a murderous Armenian thug plagued by erectile superfunction, a former pro football player who blames Shake for his romantic woes, and a billionaire swindler with a flair for the theatrical. Not to mention, and not the least, Shake will need to survive his own heart, since he's going to discover that wholesome housewife Gina is even more intriguing, and a lot more complicated, than he ever imagined.
Full of blindsided double-crosses and hard shots to the head, Gutshot Straight is a tale of love, luck, and larceny against the odds.
©2010 Lou Berney (P)2011 Audible, Inc.
"A highly entertaining caper novel.... Like Carl Hiaasen, Berney delights in the cartoonish. Like Elmore Leonard, he can drive a plot. What sets him apart is how well he evokes love, making the romance at the heart of this cinematic novel as compelling as the mystery." (The Boston Globe)
“This book is full of crooks, murderers, Mafia, strippers, and assorted villains, and Ballerini gives each character his or her own identity. This book is smart and sexy, and easily could be turned into a movie. Nonetheless, with Ballerini's performance, you don't need a screen—you can see it come together just by listening.” (AudioFile)
"The plot turns are constant, and the dialogue is sharp. The bad guys are wonderfully scary, and the locales—Las Vegas and Panama—are vividly drawn. The estimable Elmore Leonard might be very pleased to call Gutshot Straight his own." (Booklist)
With almost 800 books in my library, I am an experienced listener. I appreciate a well written good story. I am pretty critical of trash.
I don't know. I really enjoyed Edorado Ballerini, he did a great job.
It was purely entertainment. As stated it was almost a comedy, almost a parody, almost a thriller. It was fun to listen to. It was like a game trying to anticipate the next surprise, much the same as the story line. I was glad I bought it. will check into some of his other books. The reader was great!!! The author took a great position, he is writing almost tongue in cheek it seems, and therefore doesn't try to push anything beyond his goal. He never got in his own way in terms of story line, ability, humor, etc. Well done.
Retired 35 year policeman from So CA, relocated with my wife to South Carolina with "Toby" our cat. I listen to two books a week
Loved all the characters, good guys and bad ones a like.
Kept the wonderful wit in the story without making it silly.
yes, but it took two days
The jacket blurb had me looking forward to comedy...but it was more of an adventure than a laugh-out-loud novel. That said, Shake is a funny guy -- and the twists and turns his life takes are full of irony.
I spent a lot of the novel being ticked off at Gina -- and annoyed that Shake keeps giving her a pass. I guess that means the author was able to get me emotionally invested in the characters.
It is a fun story -- but it is all-over-the-map, literally. Shake finds himself in 4 or 5 different cities and two different continents in a matter of hours. I kept wishing he would have a chance to take a shower, a nap and find a fresh set of clothes!
The scenario surrounding the climax was predictable. The author continued to revisit several unrelated characters that I thought should no longer play a part in the action -- so I knew that they would all reappear in the same room at some point near the end. But even so, I enjoyed the chance to get to know those various characters a little more.
I find myself searching for the most helpful thing to say in this review. When the recording ended I was not fully sated -- but as I dissect the book in this review, I realize that it had all the elements. Fun, fully formed characters, an exciting adventure, unexpected twists and turns. I guess the only thing really missing was an epilogue that assured me that Shake ended up with his restaurant. I guess I'll have to listen to the sequel!
Listening while I run.
I liked the story - moves fast. It's a bit quirky but entertaining. If you find yourself sometimes cheering for the bad guys you should give this one a 'shot'.
I know when I enjoyed a book when it ends way before I wanted it to end. This was a well crafted story and the narration was spot on. I was not familiar with Mr. Ballerini prior to this listening(since I don't watch much television) and I thought that his interpretation of the characters added to what was already a very clever story with well developed characters. I concur with the listeners who likened the story to those written by Carl Hiassen. I thank those listeners whose reviews convinced me that this was a good next book to listen to and this is my attempt to pay it forward
Say something about yourself!
Yes, the writer made a great story that held my attention and I loved his characters. They were believable and most interesting.
Creole Belle, storyline somewhat the same and both narrators really make a great story even better!!!
Shake of course. He is the main character that is tough but likable.
Yes, I had a hard time putting it down.
I am looking for more audios by these two!
Don't know what I want to be when I grow up. Trip's cool though. Use Audible to make gym-training sane... And rip my imagination.
You know when you're caning it through twisties on a high end bike and how you're tucked into that way-lean... Left. Then right... Then back... Forth... And you grab a handful of throttle and you're so on the rails you almost giggle?
Okay, maybe neither of us has done that, but... but... That's the feeling Lou Berney blows in your face from Gutshot Straight. So many twists yet this guy makes them all feel so perfectly designed and the ride so tightly engineered that... Whoa!
Was the ending improbable? Which one? OK, let me try a different metaphor. Imagine a heavy metal rift and the final chord that resolves ... That sucker never comes... Just another explosion of finger popping mega-watts.... Think Ratt! Or think Shake Buchon and the bomb-shell Gina... And, well I can't wait to read the next in this series... Both for the rifts... or the twists... Or maybe a resolution.
Know what? I hope it doesn't come... Um, I think I hope that... Or maybe I just want to lean into twists, and feel the axe-man-Berney blow his stuff through my hair.
Oh, the front man here... Edoardo Ballerini? Yeah, he rocks like that high end hog leaning into a....
Would recommend. Good quick satisfying read.
excellent characterization of all the characters. Love the narration.
The plot had good twists, the main characters had some wise develpment, and the story was just a pleasure.. We are not talking great novels, but a most pleasant way to distract yourself and get lost in a comfortable book. The narration was great and fit the characters very well. The laconic style of the narrator matched the pace of the book. Good job, that.
The first realizations that all is not what you thought and the different reality of the characters supplies just the right amount of frisson to make it fun and to entice you to want to get to know the characters.
Shake, of course. But he did well overall with the rest of the characters.
yes, the way that love or lust can change you from doing whats logical to the desire to follow your heart instead.
Just liked it. A rare mix of good narration, good characters, and a fun plot that comes together to make you want to relax and enjoy the storytelling. Its what I like about audiobooks when I want to enjoy having a great story read to me.
Excellent story, characters, and narration! Very enjoyable book. Keeps you guessing and laughing; a great time.
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