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Gutshot Straight | [Lou Berney]

Gutshot Straight

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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.

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (366 )
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4.2 (303 )
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Richard Delman San Francisco 04-12-12
    Richard Delman San Francisco 04-12-12 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A whole lotta fun."

    This book kept me chuckling and guessing all the way through it; in fact, to the very last paragraph. Mr. Berney knows how to write a thriller, and he has a great sense of humor. Mr. Balerini, though, is a truly wonderful discovery. His feel for the material is absolutely commanding. His delivery of the funny stuff is dead-on; there are lines in the book which might be just mildly funny, but he makes them sing. The plot is inventive, taking Our Hero Shake through LA, Las Vegas and all the way to Panama City. The search for the religious relic is hilarious. I won't spoil it by telling you what everybody is fighting for; that's half the fun. Gina, our female star, is someone I can't really call a hero, but she sure is fun herself, if you are amused by a ruthless, amoral psychopath using her blazing sexuality to baffle every man in sight. I loved her. There are sleazy bad guys and complicated good guys, an obscenely wealthy dork whom you can't possibly do anything but hate, an extremely clever female Armenian gangster (yes, Armenian) and a bunch of others whom only Mr. Berney could invent. I hope he is working on another book, and I desperately hope Mr. Balerini reads it. More fun than a barrel of monkeys.

    29 of 29 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Houston, TX, United States 12-15-12
    David Houston, TX, United States 12-15-12 Member Since 2008

    Actor/director/teacher. Split my time between Beijing and Seattle now. Listen to Audible on the subway and while driving. Love the reviews.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1093
    ratings
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    "Pretty standard fare"

    This is pretty standard suitcase-full-of-money fare. (Though in this case the suitcase is stuffed with something a good deal more bizarre and entertaining) Pleasant enough and nicely paced. The Panama setting where it ends up adds some tasty local color. The two characters at the center of the story are appealing and it is the tension between them which keeps us engaged when the plot wears a trifle thin. Berney writes with intelligence and some wit, so all in all I was happy to ride along with him to the end.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charles Atkinson Greensboro, NC, United States 12-08-11
    Charles Atkinson Greensboro, NC, United States 12-08-11 Member Since 2005

    Waiting on the next Department Q installment. My Audible addiction is not waining...

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great writing, awesome narration, great story!"

    Lou Berney has created the coolest hero I've encountered since Elmore Leonard's Chili Palmer in Get Shorty. And thank goodness for talent like Eduardo Ballerini to bring this story to life.

    The story is suspenseful, fast paced and believable. Absolutely one of my favorite books!

    10 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brock DONOSTIA-SAN SEBASTIAN, Spain 09-30-13
    Brock DONOSTIA-SAN SEBASTIAN, Spain 09-30-13 Member Since 2012

    So much to learn, and so little time to sit down and read. Thanks Audible.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A well written story- It won't disappoint"

    I had this book on my wish list for a long time. Lots of people had given it high ratings, but something about it's name or description kept me from ever buying and listening to it. I'm so glad I finally took the leap though. After listening to many, many different novels, this one stands out as one of the few I keep thinking about.

    Definitely worth the credit.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daniel Mcafee Texas USA 08-29-12
    Daniel Mcafee Texas USA 08-29-12 Member Since 2005

    danmc

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    "A Very Entertaining Caper!"

    This was my first experience with Lou Berney and I was quite pleased.

    While some of the reviewers and critics describe the story as hilarious, rib-tickling, or knee slapping, it is not by any stretch - so don't expect an outright comedy. The book was simply a very entertaining caper-style story, which was also very well written with a few chuckles and snickers along the way.

    The Publisher's Summary nails the story line as the main character "Shake", goes on a crazy roller coaster ride through Vegas and Panama, linked to a girl he meets (Gina) while on a "job" a driver.

    The character development is good in that there are a lot of twists and turns along the way, which fits these types of characters perfectly - all of them.

    All in all, I enjoyed this one and may look for another book by Lou Berney as well.

    Recommended!!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael San Francisco, USA 05-03-12
    Michael San Francisco, USA 05-03-12 Member Since 2010
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    "Delightfully entertaining"

    If you are looking for an entertaining story, beautifully read, you have come to the right place.

    OK, you have to like a good crime story. You have to want it to have a sense of humour. You need to be happy for it to be a little off the wall, with a nice line in terse dialogue. you have to like a narrator who identifies with the characters, who IS them.

    If you are up for that. Go for it. You will love it. I did.

    This is the best audio book for sheer entertainment I have listened to for a while. More please, Lou. And stick with Edoardo. He's a keeper.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Louanne Santa Fe, NM, United States 04-27-12
    Louanne Santa Fe, NM, United States 04-27-12 Member Since 2005

    I have purchased over 400 books. I have high standards for writing and content, but indulge in "travel trash" or fairly good entertainment.

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    "A comedy, a parody, a thriller ??????? - FUN"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Gutshot Straight to be better than the print version?

    I don't know. I really enjoyed Edorado Ballerini, he did a great job.


    If you’ve listened to books by Lou Berney before, how does this one compare?

    Haven't


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

    NO


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James Long Beach, NY, United States 04-25-12
    James Long Beach, NY, United States 04-25-12 Member Since 2006

    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

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    "Total Enjoyment"
    What made the experience of listening to Gutshot Straight the most enjoyable?

    Loved all the characters, good guys and bad ones a like.


    What does Edoardo Ballerini bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Kept the wonderful wit in the story without making it silly.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    yes, but it took two days


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Graeme BRISBANE, Australia 05-09-12
    Graeme BRISBANE, Australia 05-09-12 Member Since 2009
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    "Had me laughing from the start. Top story !"
    What did you love best about Gutshot Straight?

    Great story line and characters that were both humorous and real.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Gutshot Straight?

    The final gun pointing show down, so to speak. Very funny, would make a excellent movie scene.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    The million dollar foreskin.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Thomas Broomfield, CO, USA 05-06-12
    Thomas Broomfield, CO, USA 05-06-12 Member Since 2007
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    "Fun characters in a fast moving story, well read!"

    Mr. Ballerini's narration is perfect and makes the characters come to life. The plot, though predictable at times, still manages to be riveting. A great listen I hated to put down!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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