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Publisher's Summary

The pitch went like this: Chris Butler, a retired cop, ran a private investigator firm in Concord, California. His business had a fascinating angle - his firm was staffed entirely by soccer moms.  

In fact, Butler employed PI Super Moms: attractive, organized, smart, and trained in investigative techniques, self-defense, and weaponry. This American Life host Ira Glass described them as "MILF: Charlie's Angels."  

When this story came across Pete Crooks's desk when he was working at Diablo magazine in 2010, he was instantly hooked. He'd heard a little bit about Butler and his super moms in the news; they'd been featured in People magazine and on Dr. Phil. What Butler's publicist was offering was too tantalizing to pass up: an opportunity to ride along with Butler and a few of his sexy PIs as they prepared to start filming a reality TV show.  

But after the ride-along-and after he started receiving mysterious emails from one of Butler's employees - Crooks started to realize something didn't seem right. After doing a little digging, he discovered the "sting" he'd seen only had one real victim...him. The PI bust had been a setup.  

Crooks wasn't a hard-boiled crime reporter. He did lifestyle pieces for a regional magazine. The more he learned about Butler's operation, the more he realized he was in far over his head. But swallowing his fears, he decided he was going to write an expose on Butler and his entire organization. He soon found himself deep in the underbelly of fake sting operations, wannabe celebrities, police corruption, drug-dealing, reality television, double-crossing employees, and more twists and turns than a dozen crime thrillers.

©2015 Pete Crooks (P)2018 Tantor

What listeners say about The Setup

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good

Good book, lots of repeated subject matter, but pretty good. I'm a HUGE Homicide Hunter fan, but not a Carl Marino fan after this eye opening story.

3 people found this helpful

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Definitely stranger than fiction

What an eye opener in the ‘reality’ tv business. Even knowing how unreal that reality is this true life glimpse left me gobsmacked. Very entertaining, a wry sense of humor at times and definitely worth the listen. As a side note: it’s extremely ironic that the actor who portrays Lt Joe Kenda ret. is so lacking in all the values he represents.

2 people found this helpful

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The Set Up

Interesting story that was overly long. Also, it included no small amount of self-congratulations and self-praise.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Joe Kenda & ID better

watch their backs with Carl Marino in their universe. I enjoy watching Homicide Hunter. As I watch tonight's new episode, I am afraid I'll be focusing on the actors narcissist self promotion and the crap he's pulled off. What a loser!

All the subjects are what you expect reality TV people to be like in real life.

Fun Listen! Off to listen to his This American Life Podcast.

The audiobook was awesome

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Interesting Read

The Setup was fascinating up until the chapters in the 20s. I love Lt. Joe Kenda and am very disappointed to learn that he is portrayed by Carl the douche-bag. Peter Crooks is naive as Carl Marino is narcissistic. If I had stopped listening around chapter 23 I probably would have given an overall rating of 4 0r 5. Peter and Carl degenerated into a needy teenage girls. Peter so desperate for vindication for his fake ride-along (dog with a bone) and credit for the take down of Butler; and Carl wanting his big Hollywood break and being a hero, I do recommend listening/reading. The true story is a doozy and quite enjoyable. Its a shame how whiny the story telling got towards the end.

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perfect

I loved every chapter of this book. Strongly recommend to everyone. Finished in one week.