Gutshot Straight

( 44 )

Overview

Professional wheel man Charles "Shake" Bouchon is too nice a guy for the life he's led and not nice enough for any other. Fresh out of prison, he's supposed to deliver a package to Vegas strip-club owner Dick "the Whale" Moby and pick up a briefcase for Shake's former boss and lover, Alexandra Ilandryan, pakhan of L.A.'s Armenian mob. But when the "package" turns out to be Gina, a wholesome young housewife, Shake decides to set her free—a move as noble as it is boneheaded.

Now ...

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Gutshot Straight: A Novel

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Overview

Professional wheel man Charles "Shake" Bouchon is too nice a guy for the life he's led and not nice enough for any other. Fresh out of prison, he's supposed to deliver a package to Vegas strip-club owner Dick "the Whale" Moby and pick up a briefcase for Shake's former boss and lover, Alexandra Ilandryan, pakhan of L.A.'s Armenian mob. But when the "package" turns out to be Gina, a wholesome young housewife, Shake decides to set her free—a move as noble as it is boneheaded.

Now Shake and Gina are on the run in Panama—looking to unload the briefcase's unusual contents while outmaneuvering two angry crime bosses, a heartbroken ex-linebacker, and a sadistic thug plagued by erectile superfunction. And Shake's learning that Gina is less wholesome and more complicated than he initially imagined.

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Editorial Reviews

Stephen Harrigan
“GUTSHOT STRAIGHT has my vote for, among other things, Best McGuffin Ever. Just when you think it can’t get any weirder or quirkier, here comes the scene where... well, I better not give that away. Energetic, droll, and wheezingly funny.”
Ted Griffin
“A literary sucker punch -- surprising, funny, effervescent. It’s a cocktail that won’t let you off your barstool till closing.”
Abraham Rodriguez
“An exciting read you can’t put down. A definite must read.”
Booklist (starred review)
“Virtually every character is memorable, and the chemistry between Shake and Gina is brilliant. The plot turns are constant, and the dialogue is sharp. The bad guys are wonderfully scary, and the locales are vividly drawn. Elmore Leonard might be very pleased to call GUTSHOT STRAIGHT his own.”
Booklist
"Virtually every character is memorable, and the chemistry between Shake and Gina is brilliant. The plot turns are constant, and the dialogue is sharp. The bad guys are wonderfully scary, and the locales are vividly drawn. Elmore Leonard might be very pleased to call GUTSHOT STRAIGHT his own."
Booklist (starred review)
“Virtually every character is memorable, and the chemistry between Shake and Gina is brilliant. The plot turns are constant, and the dialogue is sharp. The bad guys are wonderfully scary, and the locales are vividly drawn. Elmore Leonard might be very pleased to call GUTSHOT STRAIGHT his own.”
Publishers Weekly
Berney, author of the collection The Road to Bobby Joe and Other Stories, proves just as adept at longer fiction in this fast-moving caper novel, which smoothly blends humor, action and romantic frisson. Charles “Shake” Bouchon steps out of a California prison resolved to stay “free and clear”; 48 hours later he's effectively double-crossed powerful Armenian L.A. mob boss Alexandra Ilandryan, ripped off dangerous Las Vegas powerhouse Dick “the Whale” Moby and impulsively rescued exotic con woman Gina Clement, who may be the most dangerous of the three. Extremely rare, highly unusual religious artifacts play a key role as the 42-year-old Shake attempts to extricate himself from a situation that gets more complex and deadly by the hour. Shake is a quick-thinking fellow with dreams of owning a restaurant, but if fate is kind, he'll return for the same kinds of adventures as those Berney recounts in this engaging debut. (Jan.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061766343
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 2/1/2011
  • Pages: 294
  • Sales rank: 780,509
  • Product dimensions: 7.82 (w) x 5.34 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Lou Berney

Lou Berney is an accomplished writer, teacher, and liar who has written feature screenplays and created TV pilots for Warner Brothers, Paramount, Focus Features, ABC, and Fox, among others. His short fiction has appeared in the New Yorker, Ploughshares, the Pushcart Prize anthology, and other publications. His first novel, Gutshot Straight, was named one of the ten best debut crime novels of the year by Booklist and nominated for a Barry Award.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 44 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(13)

4 Star

(18)

3 Star

(9)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(3)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 44 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 3, 2010

    What's not to love?

    Gutshot Straight is an action-driven, masterfully written maze of backstabbing and betrayal--don't blink or you'll miss some serious duping, drugging, stealing, and/or seducing. Berney is a master at propelling the story forward, with one devious character trumping another at every turn. Despite their obvious moral shortfalls (we're talking criminals, strippers, mafia, murderers here), Berney's cast of characters is likable. You'll even find yourself rooting for the bad guys (and girls), who are alluring even if it's just for their smarts and sexiness. The violence is never graphically over-the-top, so even when these bad guys are at their worst, it doesn't become a distraction or downfall. Berney's film and TV writing experience show--in the best of ways--throughout this novel. It's efficient, visual, and there are enough references to music that you can practically hear the soundtrack. A great read.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 18, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A great crazy crime caper

    After spending three years behind bars, Charles "Shake" Bouchon is freed by the State of California. He loathed his time in prison and vowed to stay clean by opening up a restaurant.

    In Los Angeles powerful Armenian mob kingpin Alexandra Ilandryan offers Shake a chance to make some money. He accepts the work from his former employer to deliver a package to associates in Vegas and return with a briefcase. However the package he is bringing to insane mob mogul Dick "the Whale" Moby turns out to be Gina Clement, who claims to be a housewife, but is a con artist who shammed Moby Dick. Instead of completing the delivery, Shake decides to run away with Gina and some rare valuable religious icons with irate mobsters from two states, their hit men, and others with a grudge against one or both of the couple on the lam. However, Shake soon realizes the most dangerous of the bunch is his running companion.

    Any moment readers will expect to find Elmore Leonard driving the vehicle as this great crazy crime caper will remind the audience of the great author's wild rides. The story line is fast-paced, seemingly out of control at times (though never happens), and filled with zany action. The cast is strong especially the lead couple and the mob leaders as Lou Berney proves "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.

    Harriet Klausner

    4 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 11, 2012

    g G Good Good Good RE h Goo Good Rrad. Good Read

    Not a boring page, and kept me guessing til the end.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 12, 2012

    Good read with old time feel to it

    I enjoyed it...good read. Sucks you right into the story and characters. Good humor. Fun and adventurous...free for me courtesy of free fridays! Thanks B and N!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2012

    great read

    Criminal fun

    2 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2012

    Good action/adventure

    This was a fast paced action/adventure. I could really see it working well as a movie. I just never got into it until the end. I don't know if that was because of any flaw in the story. It may just be that this is not the genre for me. I''m usually more of a murder mystery reader. I just tried this because it was free. If this is your genre, you will probably not be disappointed.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 18, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Loved it

    Loved it

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  • Posted January 8, 2014

    Likeable anti-hero, Shake, and well-paced, well-written crime th

    Likeable anti-hero, Shake, and well-paced, well-written crime thriller ticks all the boxes. There are times you almost want to reach in and give Shake a slap - his flawed hero makes mistakes and that makes you root for him all the more. I could see this becoming a movie someday - very visual writing. Well done, Mr. Berney.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2013

    Keeps you guessing

    I really enjoyed this book and couldn't put it down. The characters were strong and prettybwell developed. My favorite thing about the book was the plot. It wound and wound around so you never really knew what the ultimate outcome was going to be until the very end. The interaction between shake and gina did become a little predictable toward the end, but the overall plot of the book remained a mystery. I also appreciated the fact that the book was more focused on the mystery than on gore, and that there weren't any really graphic scenes in it. I definitely reccomend this book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2013

    Barnes and Noble needs more great free reads like this!

    I received this book over a year ago as a free offering. Barnes and Noble would do well to offer up more quality reads like this author for free. Great read, loved the character Shake. I am looking forward to the follow up book from this author as my copy had the excerpt to the next book. Biggest problem is the nook version of the book cost almost as much as the physical book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2013

    Three stars

    Three stars!!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2013

    Great book

    Loved the characters, keeps you on the edge of your seat the whole time

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2013

    Good read....

    Good read....

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2012

    Great, enticing book.

    I loved it, got it on a free friday, was a very catching riveting drama. I was thoroughly satisfied, not to mention riveted, by the way the author wrote the book and created the scenes of each unique environment. I just wish Whiplash wasnt $10.99. But, such is life, I know that I personally, and you should too, watch where Lou Berney goes with his writing: Straight to best sellers, I sure do hope.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 11, 2012

    Boring story.

    Read it all the way rhrough, fell asleep reading it. Liked the character Shake, rhe only thing I liked about the book.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2012

    Great read

    Loved it! Im so glad i found this book! Thanks BN for a great free friday book!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2012

    Fun read!

    Don't trust anyone, enjoy every day and money isn't everything. Enjoyed this book.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 2, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    A cardinal rule of poker is drawing to a “gutshot straigh

    A cardinal rule of poker is drawing to a “gutshot straight” (needing one card to fill a run of 5) is a poor bet. One has only, at best, a 1 in 12 chance of being dealt the needed card. Such odds do not offer sufficient likelihood of winning to wager anything. This humorous, violent, of-no-redeeming-value-beyond-being-an-enjoyable read, debut novel could not have had a better title to tell of what awaits the reader when she/he begins reading it.
    The story opens with Charles Samuel “Shake” Bouchon finishing a fifteen-month sentence in Mule Creek, California correction facility for a crime he committed The crime was not sufficient to merit the sentence, what DID merit it was the fact that Shake did not “rat out” his accomplices. He is a professional driver and his clientele are in need of being driven away, quickly, from their last “appointments.” Upon reaching the end of his bus trip from prison, he is picked up by the person for whom he last worked (and did not give up to the authorities). Stepping into the limo, Shake KNEW it was not a good idea to be in contact with this person, but his options were limited and at 42, he was used to making poor decisions.
    The job this time was simple - drive a car to Las Vegas, do not look in the trunk, fly back to Los Angles and collect the $20,000 fee. Of course he looks in the trunk, certainly he finds a beautiful young lady tied up there and without a doubt this begins one of the most fun, funny, convoluted, unexpected crime novels I have read since Beat the Reaper (but it is not as good as the Reaper). The cargo(s) being transported, the reasons they are of importance, who wants what and to what end is the heart of the tale. There are biblical passages, Catholic traditions and a whole new subculture mentioned in the course of the work of which I had either never heard, had reason not to know and/or hope DO NOT exist. All of which add to the web woven in the crafted story the author has created.
    Told from the view points of the many characters that populate the story, the reader gets to ride from L.A. to Las Vegas to Panama sorting out the double crosses, underhanded motives and resolutions as they “happen.” This makes for a rapidly evolving story that kept me hooked from the first moments. There is one “good guy” in the book, and his experience is one of the most memorable of the entire journey, the rest of the cast are varying shades of “shady,” to put it mildly. There is blood aplenty and more “adult” language than would be found in common conversations. When the action arrives in Panama, the book almost becomes a travel brochure for that country. The ending held some surprises, which made the book steps above “typical” expectation.
    This being a debut effort (the e-book read had an excerpt from the author’s second “Shake” novel), I hope Mr. Berney’s sophomore effort lives up to the promise of his initial offering. If so, I will be visiting Central America at least as frequently as a Mr. Berney allows Shake to say hello.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2012

    Excitement from beginning to end

    O.M.G....this book was hilarious, fast paced and exciting.....

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  • Posted July 18, 2012

    Better than I thought it would be. Double crossing and good cri

    Better than I thought it would be. Double crossing and good criminal fun.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 44 Customer Reviews

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