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"When Charles "Shake" Bouchon, professional wheel man, walks out of prison after a three-year stretch for grand theft auto, he's got only two problems: he's too nice a guy for the life he's led and not nice enough for any other. So he says yes when he's asked to run a simple errand for his former boss and lover, Alexandra Ilandryan, the formidable pakhan of the Armenian mob in Los Angeles. All Shake has to do is deliver a package to Las Vegas and pick up a briefcase." "Only the package turns out to be a wholesome young housewife named Gina whose
"When Charles "Shake" Bouchon, professional wheel man, walks out of prison after a three-year stretch for grand theft auto, he's got only two problems: he's too nice a guy for the life he's led and not nice enough for any other. So he says yes when he's asked to run a simple errand for his former boss and lover, Alexandra Ilandryan, the formidable pakhan of the Armenian mob in Los Angeles. All Shake has to do is deliver a package to Las Vegas and pick up a briefcase." "Only the package turns out to be a wholesome young housewife named Gina whose husband has run afoul of Dick Moby, aka "The Whale," an unpleasant four-hundred-pound Vegas strip-club owner. Shake hates to think what's going to happen to Gina when he delivers her to The Whale, so in a move that's as noble as it is boneheaded, he decides to set her free." Now Shake and Gina are on the run to Panama, hoping to unload the very valuable - and highly unusual - contents of The Whale's briefcase. Shake could end up a rich man, but first he'll have to outmaneuver two angry crime bosses, a murderous Armenian thug plagued by erectile superfunction, a former pro football player who blames Shake for his romantic woes, and a billionaire swindler with a flair for the theatrical. Not to mention, and not the least, Shake will need to survive his own heart, since he's going to discover that wholesome housewife Gina is even more intriguing, and a lot more complicated, than he ever imagined.
Posted April 3, 2010
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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 18, 2009
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.
4 out of 7 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 11, 2012
Posted August 12, 2012
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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 19, 2012
Posted November 13, 2012
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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 18, 2014
Posted January 8, 2014
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.
Posted July 15, 2013
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 NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 19, 2013
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 NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 22, 2013
Posted March 9, 2013
Posted January 9, 2013
Posted November 28, 2012
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 NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 11, 2012
Posted August 31, 2012
Posted August 3, 2012
Posted August 2, 2012
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.
Posted July 22, 2012
Posted July 18, 2012