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)
Excellent story, characters, and narration! Very enjoyable book. Keeps you guessing and laughing; a great time.
Just think of the best Elmore Leonard book you've listened to then multiply it by 10.
His voices are terrific and entertaining, he does a great job
I'm looking forward to listening to more books by Lou Berney
The book was well crafted. But, the characters were very difficult to care about. By the end I was in a hurry for it to end so I could move on.
I had a hard time caring because the characters as a whole were so unlikable. The twists didn't quite twist and the turns didn't turn far enough. There was nothing really endearing or incredibly awful about any of the characters.
He is a very good narrator. I will be willing to listen to other narrations by him.
I'm an avid reader who now listens to books on tape. I'm a bit late to the game but enjoying the hands free reading.
I stayed in the story the entire time. Often I lose my place or can't remember what last happened but in this story, I never forgot the story line. I listened to it not only in the car but at home.
Characters were realistic and likable. Pick it up!
Edoardo is the perfect reader. I'm listening to Berney's second book as the narrator lacks the chops to do the book justice.
This was overall an entertaining book, but will not bear the scrutiny of those who like their stories to be logical. There are definite plot similarities to the Maltese Falcon, but the lead character "Shake" is no Sam Spade and the lead heavy, Dick Moby, is no Kaspar Gutman. On the other hand the femme fatale, Gina, would have done Dashiell Hammett proud.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Of course it is not great literature but, for its genre, it is right up there with Elmore Leonard, Carl Hiaasen and Donald Westlake. The narration was spot on and enhanced the book.
We enjoyed it.
Twist and turns we didn't expect..
I wish there were more books by this author
This listening kept my attention throughout and the narrator is just fine I found this very easy to listen to. The story line itself is like a movie script, the action was mostly fast paced with lots of twists and turns. Resuming the book is good, reading is good. You move quickly through the story and feel drawn into it.
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