An aging but formidable strip-club owner, Claudiu "Manco" Kapak, has been robbed by a masked gunman as he placed his cash receipts in a bank's night-deposit box. Enraged, he sends his half-dozen security men out to find a suspect who is spending lots of cash and is new enough to Los Angeles not to know he was robbing a gangster.
Their search leads them to Joe Carver, an innocent but hardly defenseless newcomer who evades capture and sets out to make Kapak wish he'd chosen someone else.
Meanwhile, the real culprit, Jefferson Davis Falkins, and his new girlfriend, Carrie, seem to believe they've found a whole new profession: robbing Manco Kapak. Lieutenant Nick Slosser, the police detective in charge of the puzzling and increasingly violent case, has his own troubles, including worries about how he's going to afford to send the oldest child of each of his two bigamous marriages to college without making their mothers suspicious.
As this odd series of difficulties explodes into a triple killing, Carver finds himself in the middle of a brewing gang war over Kapak's little empire, while Falkins and Carrie journey into territory more strange and violent than either had imagined.
©2010 Thomas Perry (P)2010 Tantor
“Perry's exquisite timing and finesse provide near perfect endings to the multiple story lines and make this escapist reading at its best.” (Publishers Weekly)
I loved the many little stories within the story. I also loved how the author was able to humanize the bad guys. Perry made the reader understand each character and sympathize or even empathize with some of the baddies.
From reading comments on other Perry novels it appears that he tends to stop his stories abruptly. This story was similar in that respect but I was okay with it because everything came together - and he allowed the reader to make his/her own ending on a couple of subplots. Overall a great read. One small issue was the fact that the narrator mispronounced a number of the Los Angeles street names which can be annoying to a local. For example, imagine the street name Sepulveda in the wrong hands. LOL.
63 y/o psychologist with two sons, living in SF Bay Area. I absolutely love all the feedback I've been getting for my reviews. It's very gratifying. Thanks to all of you.
Mr. Perry can write. You know from the first chapter that this is true. The clash between two Hummers and a large construction crane is just perfect. The clash between Joe Carver and Manka Kapak is also just perfect. Michael Kramer is also a great narrator. This book has everything going for it. Perry sends the plot through hoops and fast turns. The gangsters are terrific. Joe Carver is a hero with full dimensions. Richard Spence, Kapak's right-hand-man, is also a clever creation, cool and smart, smarter than his boss but clever enough to hide that and take orders from Kapak. Even the cops are complicated. Lt. Schlosser's life becomes so unusual that you will never ever be able to predict where it goes. The plot keeps accelerating. This is not a page-turner in the usual Clancy mode. You will be drawn into the lives of these people, even though many of them are people who many of us might think of as low-lifes. Even the so-called minor characters like Jefferson Davis and Melisande Carr are sharply drawn and wildly interesting. You will feel Manka Kapak's life closing in on him, and yet you will not be able to predict any aspect of the end of the book, which throws you through several surprises. I heartily recommend this book. I can't imagine a listener to this genre being disappointed by it. It provides a dozen hours of great entertainment. I look forward to more of the work of both Mr. Perry and Mr. Kramer.
What a fun listen!! Quirky characters all around! Any one of them could have become the main character in a series but put them all together, add some black humor, and let Thomas Perry's imagination take the lead and its magic!
Michael Kramer's performance adds so much! All his voices are right on target and his deadpan delivery gives an electric jolt to the story's humor and violence.
Of course it helps if your sense of humor slightly sick
I have always been a Thomas Perry fan. He writes formulaically and that is not a knock if done well. But how an author can produce novels for 18 years and scripts for years before that and suddenly step up his game like this is beyond me. This is uber Elmore Leonard but even better than the beloved Elmore. "Strip" is so good on many levels.
There is Karma. People get what they deserve and even if this doesn't happen in real life, it is tremendously satisfying. But what do the characters in "Strip" deserve, exactly? You think you know when you start out. There is the innocent man under attack, the nasty small-time gangster, the thief, his put-upon girlfriend, a bodyguard, a collection of hoods. Good guys-Bad guys, right? Not so fast. Perry lovingly unveils these characters until you become very fond of some people you assumed you would despise-- and then they disappoint you, these fleshed-out characters that you have become invested in. And then, Karma.
And the unpredictability! You just don't know what is going to happen, and that is rare in a book in the crime genre. When something does happen, it is so logical, but so startling, and, in one case, horrible, that by the end of the book you are full of delicious tension.
Back to Elmore Leonard, or Lawrence Block, or the late Donald Westlake; this is absolutely in the same league, and one of the reasons is the dialog. Hyper realistic dialog as people say what they would say if they were just a little bit smarter and sharper than they would really be. I appreciate an author who amazes me. If I were sharper myself I could go on about Perry being a master chameleon as far as writing style, but I really don't understand sometimes just why something tastes so good; I just know it's delicious.
The narration is excellent except for the mispronunciation of street and place names.
Riveting to the last paragraph. Memorable. Rereadable.
I've read most of Perry's novels. The Whitefield novels stood head and shoulders above the rest ... until "Strip". The plot twists and turns, holding the reader's interest... the characters are interesting and well-developed.
Love Thomas Perry, with the exception of his books devoted to the woman who hides people. Those are sappy with too sharp a divide between good and evil. Strip is fabulous: fast plot, smart and not overly gruesome. Michael Kramer is one of the best readers out there.
I chose this book because it made Stephen King's Top 10 books for 2010. He wrote about his choices in his Entertainment Weekly column, and I looked them all up on Audible and added them to my Wish List until I could purchase them. Normally, his recommendations are FANTASTIC, but not this time.
I found the story to be disjointed, unfocused, not believable (yes, I realize it's fiction), and generally pointless. At the beginning of the book, I'm thinking I know what the story will be about - the character we first meet at the start, and we learn about his predicament and why he's in it, and what he plans on doing about it. Well, somewhere along the line, he becomes VERY peripheral, and even forgotten. The story weaves into other stories about different characters who, in my opinion, barely make sense or fit together.
The ending was anti-climatic and, frankly, stupid. I was kind of pissed that I lost 13+ hours of my life that I won't get back by listening to this book. It seemed to me akin to suffering through a new writer's first attempt at a "crime novel" only to get lost on what the point is by the time we get to the end.
The narration was good - no fault to Michael Kramer. In fact, I rather lliked his performance. The imagery in the story was enough that I could visualize the characters and situations clearly. The dialogue wasn't annoying. So, this wasn't the worst book I've ever read/listened to. Hence, the two star rating I gave here. My advice? Don't bother.
It took me a long time to warm up to Perry, as I didn't like the one Butcher's Boy book I read, for lack of personality, humor or cleverness. This book, however, has it all. Twists of fate turn into convoluted disasters born of mistaken impressions and identities. Although read in somewhat of a monotone, the narrator was perfect--understated irony. And, these unwitting villains/victims have personality and perseverance. It is a thoroughly enjoyable romp worthy of O'Henry. I'm now a Perry fan!
I don't find audio better or worse than print - just different. I grew up listening to radio plays and that is what I compare an audio book to.
This is not a true thriller it is an interesting tale from various peoples view point.
Kramer's characters are easy to identify and seem to match the verbal images well.
Online composition instructor, living in a small town, when I'm not reading a book, I'm listening to one!
I love anything that Thomas Perry writes, and this was a great story; the double crosses were dizzying. But if you are going to get someone to read a book, that person should be provided with the correct ways to say local place names. This fellow mispronounced Sepulveda, La Canada, and, as I recall, La Cienaga. Every time a place was mispronounced I felt as if I had bitten down hard on tin foil. That said, it is a great listen, although it was more complex than many Perry novels, with multiple story lines.
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