By Lou Berney
(Harper Perennial, Paperback, 9780061766343, 304pp.)
Publication Date: February 2011
Other Editions of This Title: Hardcover
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 freea move as noble as it is boneheaded.
Now Shake and Gina are on the run in Panamalooking 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.
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.
“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)
“[A] fast-moving caper…smoothly blends humor, action and romantic frisson.”
“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.”
-Stephen Harrigan, New York Times bestselling author of Gates of the Alamo and Challenger Park
“A literary sucker punch -- surprising, funny, effervescent. It’s a cocktail that won’t let you off your barstool till closing.”
-Ted Griffin, screenwriter of OCEAN'S ELEVEN, MATCHSTICK MEN and BEST LAID PLANS
“An exciting read you can’t put down. A definite must read.”
-Abraham Rodriguez, 2009 Dashiell Hammett Award finalist and author of South by South Bronx