Book Review: Gutshot Straight by Lou Berney

gutshotReading time: 1  minute

Elmore Leonard fans who miss his work might be happy to turn the pages of Lou Berney’s debut crime caper, Gutshot Straight.

I write from experience, of course. I’d enjoy a seven-course meal of Elmore Leonard novels with a short story (3:10 to Yuma anyone?) for dessert.

Berney took advantage of the writer’s strike in Hollywood to pen his debut, and it’s easy to recognize a TV writer’s hand behind this fast-moving story.

Charles “Shake” Bouchon is a wheelman just released from prison who resolves to stay “free and clear.” That resolution goes the way of most people’s New Year’s resolutions. Which is to say, it lasts about 48 hours.

Shake gets on the wrong side of an Armenian mob boss named Alexandra Ilandryan, a Las Vegas mob boss named Dick “The Whale” Moby and a wholesome young housewife named Gina who turns out to be anything but – she’s more dangerous to Shake than the other two combined.

Berney drives the plot like his protagonist drives a getaway car, so you’re never sure what’s coming next. Mix in a little Carl Hiaasen humor along the way (in Panama, not Florida) and you’re in for a rollicking ride. Don’t get left behind.

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