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5.0 out of 5 starsThe chemistry is all there!
Reviewed in the United States on February 17, 2019
And when I say the chemistry, I mean the chemistry between various sets of characters, the actual chemistry that's a key element in the story...and the chemistry of the story itself. Laurence Shames has once again put it all together into a tasty stew that goes down smooth(ly) and satisfies your appetite. Being a dog person myself (that is, a lover of dogs, not an actual "dog person") I lapped up Nacho's takes on life, love and odors. Though I must admit his ultimate act of heroism left me squirming a bit. Nevertheless...Viva Nacho!
5.0 out of 5 starsA different sort of Key West Caper
Reviewed in the United States on April 25, 2019
This Key West Caper has a more earnest tone and heavier texture than most of its predecessors. The only significant chuckles are with the comic relief of Bert and Nacho. The other primary characters are all wounded and wandering, in some way or other, and there aren't many laughs to be found in their circumstances. The tale builds slowly; not as zippy a read as usual. But that's easy to forgive, once you get to the payoff of the final set piece. The various emotional notes that Shames has laid down all come together finally in a resplendent major chord (i.e., happy ending). One is reminded what a masterful writer he can be.
I should mention that Shames presents Nacho as an anthropomorphized 1st person narrator, now and again. I'm usually not too keen on that sort of thing. But I got used to it and accepted the feisty Chihuahua as the intrepid, bona fide hero that he most emphatically became in the novel's big climactic scene.
I think that Shames has written better Key West Capers. But if you're a fan like me, you'd be silly not to read Nacho Unleashed.
So, the concept of a story from a dog's point of view may seem like an eye-roller, but it works. For the record, only part of the chapters have Nacho as the narrator, but Shames has just the right touch with them and offers some humorous and even insightful canine observations. The chihuahua's perspective on his relationship with Bert is, dare I say, even touching at times.
Otherwise, this is your normal Shames Key West romp with perhaps just a bit more emotion than usual, but a brisk and entertaining read nonetheless. You have the spunky young woman looking to take charge of her life (a Shames staple), the wise old gay man writing his "suicide journal", the focused young distiller, the clueless shlub, and the criminal element. All the characters run deeper than may initially meet the eye and lots of facets are revealed on the lead-up to an exciting finale. Long may Nacho be unleashed!
What a great book, couldn't put it down. This is like the Laurence Shames of old, master of character development piled on top of good plot set in the craziest of settings, the Florida Keys. His anchor character Bert the Shirt (immortalized by the late great Jeff MacNelly) is as charming as ever and a wonderful recurring character. Loved Shames' early books and his return to novels is more than welcomed. Tim Dorsey, Carl Hiaasen, Laurence Shames, make us Floridians proud.
5.0 out of 5 starsKEY WEST SUNSHINE PLUS A DOG THAT TALKS!
Reviewed in the United States on February 9, 2019
What could be more welcome than a mid-winter excursion to Key West—except maybe making the acquaintance of a heroic talking Chihuahua when you got there! In this completely entertaining romp, the hero is Nacho—companion to the wonderful Bert the Shirt. He shares in the telling of a story by turns funny, suspenseful, romantic, and wise. Not to mention full of Florida sun, warm breezes, rum drinks, a heroine you really root for, and plot twists that kept me guessing. Fans of Laurence Shames’ previous books will be delighted by this latest offering...but I also think new readers will find it a perfect place to start. It totally works as a stand-alone novel, and the voice of Nacho the Chihuahua makes it really something special.
5.0 out of 5 starsKey West Capers Keep Entertaining
Reviewed in the United States on March 15, 2019
Often when an author writes a series of books the first ones may be really good but a few books in the stories become formulaic and repetitive. Lawrence Shames’ Key West Capers series of books has not taken that turn. In fact the last few stories are as good or better than than the first ones. And Nacho Unleashed is especially entertaining. We’ve known Nacho for a while but I think this is the first time he’s contributed his thoughts and POV to the story. I look forward to hearing more from Nacho in the future.
5.0 out of 5 starsAs delightful as a tropical breeze
Reviewed in the United States on March 8, 2019
I've read all of Mr. Shames novels and it's always fun to hang out with old friends in the Key West Capers collection. There is a comforting familiarity throughout the series - you'll feel like a Key West native after reading just one, but there is always a new angle or twist to keep you on your sandy toes. With Nacho as a co-writer this time around, the new perspective is from 4 inches above the ground and full of canine observations on human interaction.
Grab a biscotti and a glass of rum, settle down in your beach chair and enjoy.