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Gun Monkeys Mass Market Paperback – November 4, 2003

4.3 out of 5 stars 45 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Unusual protagonists, a bantering tone, and dark humor characterize this hard-boiled mystery by first novelist Gischler. Narrator Charlie "the Hook" Swift is primary enforcer/hit man for crime boss Stan, but a crew from Miami tries to "squeeze" them out of business. When Stan's targets at a strip club turn out to have been policemen, things begin to go haywire: the rivals move in, killing Stan's guys, and Charlie winds up with a sought-after set of crooked ledgers. Violent action and murder continue, with money laundering, an understanding mom, and the FBI thrown in for good measure. For collections of noir crime fiction.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Publisher

2001 Edgar Award Nominee for "Best First Novel by an American Author" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Dell (November 4, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440241286
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440241287
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.6 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #896,629 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Vandermeer on July 16, 2002
Format: Paperback
Charlie Swift is one of old Stan's gun monkeys. He is killer, protector, enforcer for Stan, the head of the Orlando crime syndicate. When Miami crime boss, Beggar Johnson, decides that Stan has grown too old to milk Orlando crime for all its worth, a territorial battle begins. When Stan disappears and the rest of the gun monkeys are killed off or turned to the dark[er] side, Swift has to go it alone to fend off Beggar's goons, renegade FBI agents and others. The body count mounts chapter by chapter, and as ruthless a killer as Swift is, the reader begins to root for him due to his loyalty to his boss, family and new girl friend, as well as his sheer skill as a "detective" and vengeful killer.
This is indeed a noir novel of the first ilk. It's a fast, exciting, easy read and holds the reader's interest until the inevitable showdown between Swift and Mercury (his counterpart as Beggar Johnson's head gun monkey).
If you are squeamish about descriptions of bloody violence or about raw language, stay away from this one. Otherwise, it's a really entertaining romp of a pulp novel.
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Format: Paperback
This guy Vic Gischler knows how to write prose that makes you keep reading, even when his main character's a professional killer. Let's say instead, especially when he's a professional killer. Charlie Swift is loyal to his boss, Stan, his mother, and his younger brother Danny and, as well, to his taxidermist girlfriend Marcie who also happens to be the widow of a guy Charlie had to put on ice.
Seems like Charlie's boss goes missing. Seems like other guys in Charlie's crew are getting wasted, as in permanently. Seems like another guy, Beggar Johnson, wants to take over Stan's turf. Charlie manages to miss getting wiped out himself and goes after the guys who killed his compadre Bob. He's got friends--Lou the New Guy and Jimmy the Fix principally. And he's got his wits. Which are pretty sharp judging by the story here.
OK, here's some sacrilege. Gischler claims to have read a lot of John McDonald and been heavily influenced by him, but for my money, he writes better than McDonald who in my opinion a lot of the time is hard to get through--clunky prose that's dated now. But VG's writing is smooth as silk and tough as shoe leather with powder burns.
Nice job.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
You just can't get good help these days, even when the job is something simple like whacking a midlevel hood named Rollo Kramer. Given his druthers, chief gun monkey Charlie Swift would never have picked the inept Blade Sanchez to accompany him on the job. But Charlie's boss Stan told Charlie to take Blade along as a favor to Miami crimeboss Beggar Johnson, and since
Charlie owes Stan for "every nickel hidden in [Charlie's] safe deposit box", Charlie doesn't see that he has much of a choice.
So begins "Gun Monkeys", Victor Gischler's instant noir classic from Uglytown Press. Charlie's day starts off bad and gets steadily worse as someone decides to make a move on the aging Stan's territory, a business decision that involves whacking most of Charlie's crew. The only bright spot
in the day is Charlie's budding relationship with Rollo's widow Marcie. The widow Kramer is a tough, foxy redhead with an eye for Charlie and a talent for taxidermy. The latter trait has the fortunate effect of making her less squeamish around dead bodies, which is a good thing, considering.
Charlie's attempts to find out what happened to Stan, even the score, and incidentally take care of his Mom and his kid brother, make for a great read. If you're a fan of the dark humor of "The Sopranos" or the tough talk of Richard Stark's "Parker" books, you'll love "Gun Monkeys."
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Format: Paperback
The first sentence of "Gun Monkeys" is a perfect distillation of everything I'm always looking for in a crime novel: grisly, curt and most of all laugh-out-loud funny, without ever lapsing into cuteness. I've been recommending it to everyone I know who cares about this kind of book.
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Format: Paperback
Gischler hasn't written detective fiction here, but criminal fiction. This is the kind of book neo-noir fans like, with its muscular prose, language of the day, and unadulterated violence. Charlie Swift is so tough he's not ashamed to take care of his mother or be loyal to his boss. So he lives out of a suitcase and works out of a tin box trailer called the Monkey Cage, Charlie's got a bulging safe deposit box and he owes it all to one man: Stan the Man.

The opening sentence: "I turned the Chrysler onto the Florida Turnpike with Rollo Kramer's headless body in the trunk, and all the time I'm thinking I should've put some plastic down."
Charlie Swift, gun monkey, speaking.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
One of the most impressive debuts I've ever read, Gun Monkeys is a return to the two-fisted days of Mickey Spillaine and Richard Stark, with an important twist-it's funny as hell.
The tone of the book is summed up in the very first line: "I turned the Chrysler onto the Florida Turnpike with Rollo Kramer's headless body in the trunk, and all the time I'm thinking I should've put some plastic down."
If you believe, like I do, that this line is the perfect way to start a book, then buy Gun Monkeys right now. It's noir on nitrous oxide, and will keep you guessing, and laughing, from page one to the slam-bang finale.
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