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Publisher's Summary

Top-notch suspense and "killer" comedy merge in this rollicking national best seller filled with funky characters, resounding dialogue, and inappropriately named "wise" guys. In the grand tradition of Elmore Leonard, Laurence Shames creates an outrageous heavyweight thriller that’s heavy on atmosphere and action. Joey Goldman is a low-level New York hustler. He’s taking a working vacation in South Florida and looking to score big with a time-share scam. His half brother Gino Delgatto is a man in need of a fall guy. When they meet in Key West, the term dysfunctional family takes on a new meaning. Will one of them succeed? Or will the Miami mob find an eye-popping way to dispose of them both?

Critically acclaimed narrator Richard Ferrone brings every character to life - from bad guys in shiny blue suits to Steve the naked landlord - with a crackling intensity you will love.

©1992 Laurence Shames (P)1997 Recorded Books

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    50
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Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    59
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    29
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    7
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Story

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Florida Funny

This is very similar to other crime/fubby/local color books in the genre. it will particularly appeal to relocated
New Yorkers and other northeastern denizens. If not it is probably less enjoyable.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Susan
  • Iowa City, IA, United States
  • 01-23-15

So glad I took another reader's advise

I really liked this book. I wasn't sure for the first chapter or so. But then Joey and Sandra move into the bungalow in a compound in Key West, Bert the Shirt and Don Giovanni are on the scene and it becomes delightful, interesting, and at times tense. Richard Ferrone is perfect for this book. I will certainly continue with the series.

One caveat: I fast forwarded through a verbally abusive rant that was over long in my opinion. This was directed at Joey by his older half-brother Gino. I also skipped through some of the graphic violence - I mean this is about a mafia family but I just didn't feel the need to hear every little detail. There is not a huge amount of this stuff and I am not really criticizing the book. Just saying....

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Hilarious, Poignant, suspenseful

What did you love best about Florida Straits?

There was nothing to not like. This book combined my love of New York life and Key west life. The two come together like oil and water, but in the end it all gets sorted out.

What other book might you compare Florida Straits to and why?

The style reminds me Tim Dorsey.

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

His voice, was amazing!

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

I laughed and cried.

Any additional comments?

Read this book!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Enjoyable

I don't expect literary perfection when I pick out books like this. I like the escape of a simple plot with some likeable characters, a protagonist or two who I can root for.
It's fun. It's not rocket science. I enjoyed it. I hope you do too.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A good story with nice plot twists

I think this is a very good book I like the narrator very much. The story was well told with nice twists and interesting tidbits about Florida. I think that the main character was very endearing nd the story was one that many could relate to.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Where's the funny?

After reading a couple of Carl Hiaasen and Tim Dorsey books Laurence Shames was recommended to me. What I had hoped for was a bumbling do-gooder (or bad guy) who while trying to execute his harebrained plan hilarity ensues. Unfortunately ‘Florida Straits” only delivered the first half of this request. I didn’t find any of the situations particularly comical and as a result I didn’t find any of the characters particularly endearing. While the book is well written it just seemed to fall flat with me.

Mr. Ferrone does a great job with the accents and really adds to the story!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Linda D.
  • GRAPEVINE, TX United States
  • 10-19-18

the name was lost in my mind

I had listened to one of the books in this Lawrence Shames series many years ago ( it was on tape) and life got in the way and I kind of forgot and while listening to another South Florida author I remembered his series and spend some time trying to remember the name I was very pleased and I've enjoyed this starting with the number one and will now go on from there thank you

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Key West is home to quirks, quacks and real ducks.

I first read the print version of this book and others by Laurence Shames in the early '90s. The books are very entertaining, with some recurring characters and some new ones. Florida Straits is the story of Augie and Nina Silver. Augie is a painter who has had a long career doing good but not great work. Augie disappears in the ocean one day, and his disappearance sets off a furious cycle of fun: his apparent death raises the prices of his paintings, and his agent decides to hold an auction at Sotheby's, the timing being just right. Augie has a few friends. He has been giving away his paintings for a long time. The bulk of the book is the story of the people around Augie. They struggle with the conflict between keeping the paintings in memory of their friend, and selling them at terrific prices at the auction. It turns out that some of them are up to their eyeballs in debt, and so the conflict is easy to resolve: SELL! The situation gets totally mixed up when Augie unexpectedly reappears. At that point a lot of money is at stake and someone makes attempts to kill Augie. The plot thickens. My favorite recurring character makes a brief appearance. His name is Bert the Shirt. The name derives from his fabulous collection of custom-made shirts. He also carries around on his arm a tiny, sickly Chihuahua, which is a major figure of fun. Bert talks to the dog constantly. Bert is a retired Mafioso, and so is a sage in the community when it comes to shady people and shadier deals. Real estate scams are everywhere. Tourists are fleeced at every corner. The heat and humidity are so constant that the climate is almost a character in the story. Joey Goldman is another recurring character, another Mafioso who has fled New York and is trying to become a big gang guy with absolutely no skills and no contacts. Of course he ends up in real estate. There is also Reuben the Cuban, a touching, gay houseboy who becomes one of the Silver family.
Mr. Shames has a terrific sense of humor and so you giggle regularly. Richard Ferrone is an excellent narrator, who delivers the material with style and gusto. The book builds up suspense due to the attempts on Augie's life, several of which are vicious. In one of them Augie's parrot Fred takes one for the team by eating a poisoned pastry. In a fantastic scene one of the guys, who owes $40,000 to the mob, is held over a giant tank in which is a humongous hammerhead shark. The vig is $1200 a week!
I enjoyed this book a lot. You will have fun, too. Fun is good.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

relaxing and entertaining

I got tired of waiting for Carl Hassan next book so I decided to try this 1. Since they CO wrote a book and sure enough this was a good 1. I guess now I'll be hooked on another Key West or Florida Author.