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Straight Lies Paperback – April 1, 2009

4.4 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Grant and Chase Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A pair of petty crooks think they've lucked into the ultimate blackmail material in Byrnes's unwieldy latest. Chase LaMarca and Grant Lambert get information that gay icon Romeo Romero is actually straight, but their incompetent associate loses the incriminating videotape in a cab. Before LaMarca and Lambert can retrieve the tape, it falls into the hands of tabloid reporter Ian Hadley, who has blackmail on his mind, too. The gaggle go to extremes (and the Hamptons) to get what they want in this comedy of errors, and while the characters are charmingly inept, the coincidences that drive the plot are woefully absurd, and the setting is threadbare window dressing. The competing capers have some fun moments, but the plotting leaves much to be desired. (Apr.)
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From Booklist

In this caper heist, Byrnes (When the Stars Come Out, 2006) comes up with obstacles likely and improbable as Grant and his longtime lover, Chase, try to steal a compromising videotape of gay film legend Romeo Romero (who’s been out and proud for decades) making hot love in his hot tub to a hot, buxom blond. The actor’s legions of gay fans would reel from the revelation of their Romeo’s closeted heterosexuality, so blackmail’s the scheme. As the two small-time con men try to claw their way up the crime ladder, they add an assortment of larcenous misfits to their gang until it resembles a hilarious bad-dream team. They then fail to secure the tape, so decide to re-create the sex scenario. Of course, everything that can go wrong does, making all the scheming and strategizing that somewhat slow the action resolve into a laugh-out-loud endgame farce with definite switch-hit appeal. --Whitney Scott
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 330 pages
  • Publisher: Kensington; 1 Original edition (April 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0758228570
  • ISBN-13: 978-0758228574
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.9 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,091,892 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This novel is less "romance" than expected and probably funnier. First of all the two main characters, from the blurb and even from the cover I was expecting for them to be two young guys with big hopes and few means, and instead they are two partners in crime in a work and love relationship older than 15 years. So between them everything is easy, they know each other and their mutual faults. There is not much romance, meaning that there are not much love scenes (and never once we arrive to a sex scene) but between Chase and Grant there is for sure a love relationship. Here and there you can also have an hint that it was not always simple, that maybe sometime they had to overcome some obstacles in their path, but more or less they were successful in doing that, and I have never had the feeling that their relationship was in trouble.

Problem is that at more or less 40 years old, they are too old to continue to live on expedients, they maybe want to retire or arriving at least near that. And so when Jamie comes to them with a not so legal proposition, Grant sees the chance to hit the big one. Jamie filmed a famous gay actor and activist, Romeo Romero, having sex... with a woman. The tape is worth a lot, the problem is that Jamie lost it! In a cab! From that moment on Grant starts to plan a way to have it back and more he goes on, more people are involved and more I was trying to understand if, once everyone was paid back, something for Chase and Grant's retirement plan was still available.

As I said, the novel is more a comedy than a romance, and even if it deals with thieves and blackmails, for sure it's not a mystery or an adventure plot... probably the only mystery is how our heroes manage to not end up in a jail, since they didn't give me the idea to be real criminals.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Can an openly gay man be outed? Well, he can if he is only pretending to be gay in order to keep the remnants of his acting career alive while actually he has a soft spot for girls with big bosoms. When Romeo Romero is caught on tape with such a girl by one of his guests, and Grant Lambert and Chase La Marca hear about the fact and the existence of the tape (the whereabouts thereof are currently uknown) the adventure begins.
Grant and Chase are partners in more ways than one - they live together and break the law together. Their specialty are gentlemen with a taste for very young girls. They find their victims on the Internet and before the gentlemen know what is going on, they lose their cars and credit cards. Grant and Chase are small-time crooks who hope for a big break and blackmailing Romeo Romero seems to be a chance for such a break. But the cookie turns out to be a tough one so they will have to work very hard and ask all their friends to help to get to Romero's money.
Byrnes succeeds once again - the novel has a good pace, the characters are well drawn, the story is (almost) probable. This is not another candidate for the Pulitzer prize but a very good candidate for your beach/pool reading during summer holidays. It took my copy to Cyprus and I did not regret it.
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Format: Paperback
Partners in crime--and life--Grant and Chase survive in get-rick-quick schemes in which they manage to get money off unsuspecting people by any means possible. They want to pull off a big job that could let them retire in style. They realize there's a tape showing openly gay actor Romeo Romero having sex--with a woman! They decide to steal the tape and blackmail the star. However the tape is left in a New York City cab and things go out of control. Throw in a sleazy tabloid editor, two lesbians, an Internet stalker, an alcoholic ex-cop and a twinky and you have a very confusing and funny comedy.

I do have one big problem about this book. I love it but there are way too many characters to follow. I eventually got them straight (if you'll pardon the expression) but it was annoying. Still this moves quickly, has great characters and very funny (if totally improbable) situations. One-liners fly fast and furious and I hated having to put it down. Fast and funny--well worth reading.
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Format: Paperback
Rob Byrnes has done it again. "Straight Lies" is a hilarious adventure introducing us to con-men Chas and Grant and well as re-introducing a few previous characters we have met in Byrnes other books!

Great laughs and hilarity ensues when Chas and Grant plan the biggest caper of their "careers."

A great read! I look forward to more adventures of this mad-cap gang!
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Format: Hardcover
I was rather disappointed in this comic crime-heist caper novel. Each character seems to be a one-dimensional cartoon stereotype of what a gay person should be. I found the dialogue to be especially strained. If you heard the jokes in a movie or TV show, you would probably groan instead of laugh. And the narrative voice strains just too hard. I wanted to shout, "Stop with the sarcasm! It isn't working!"

I just wasn't able to suspend disbelief and go along with the impossibly improbable plot. Trying to blackmail a gay actor because you have proof that he is really not gay would be a clever premise...in a short story. At 330 pages, it just goes on for far too long.

The explanations of how the grifters work their scams seem very promising at first, but I never felt as if I got any payoff from what was going on.
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