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Whiplash River: A Novel Paperback – July 10, 2012

4.4 out of 5 stars 109 customer reviews
Book 2 of 3 in the Shake Series

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Editorial Reviews


“Berney takes his rightful place as heir to Elmore Leonard with this witty and nimble comedic thriller . . . the exotic locales are vibrant, the supporting cast larger than life, and the plot hums along without a wasted page.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))

“Berney’s plot makes as many sharp turns as San Francisco’s famously curvy Lombard Street. His characters . . . are brilliantly drawn . . . the dialogue is crisp and often funny . . . Whiplash River should be a contender for this year’s [Booklist’s Best Crime Novels] list.” (Booklist (starred review))

“In this entertaining sequel to Gutshot Straight, Berney has a great time tweaking the familiar . . . featuring a number of great set pieces, snappy dialogue, and colorful characters, the plot hums along like a mosquito cloud over a puddle.” (Publishers Weekly, staff pick for Best Summer Books 2012)

“Berney blends equal parts action and humor, topped with the right amount of romance, for a summer read that’s a firecracker . . . fun, clever and well-written fiction with protagonists you can really root for.” (Oklahoma Gazette)

“A non-stop comedy-thriller-romance that Elmore Leonard would proudly keep on his nightstand . . . Shake gets entangled with a mysterious older character, his former girlfriend Gina, a persistent FBI agent and a gunman you’ll root for -- all with dialogue that ricochets faster than the bullets.” (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

“Some writers can make me laugh and some can make me gasp, but Lou Berney can make me do both at the same time, and then get me all misty, too. Whiplash River belongs at the very top of the bestseller list.” (Timothy Hallinan, author of The Queen of Patpong)

“Slick, sleek, and wildly entertaining, Whiplash River is pure pleasure. I’m a snob for prose, and these words sing, managing to be at once lean and evocative, confident and wry. Lou Berney is that kind of annoyingly skilled stylist who makes everything look easy.” (Marcus Sakey, author of The Two Deaths of Daniel Hayes and host of the Travel Channel's Hidden City)

“A delirious caper in the spirit of Hiaasen and Leonard.” (The Barnes & Noble Review)

“You don’t have to have read GUTSHOT STRAIGHT to thoroughly enjoy WHIPLASH RIVER, but you’ll want to, simply to savor more of Berney’s work and characters while you’re waiting for what hopefully will be next year’s installment.” (Bookreporter.com)

“Whiplash River is nonstop action, filled with humor, plot twists and even romance . . a hilarious crime caper spanning the globe.” (Shelf Awareness)

“Wonderfully flawed characters . . . Berney keeps you guessing until the very last chapter. Fun, exciting and deadly, Whiplash River is not to be missed.” (SheKnows.com)

“If you like crime fiction, do yourself a favor and read Lou Berney’s thrilling, funny and whipsmart novel Whiplash River. Then, if you haven’t read its predecessor, Gutshot Straight, Berney’s debut novel, read that one too.” (Virginian Pilot)

“This witty, comedic tale is filled with romance, mystery and intrigue. A good caper with well-developed characters, Whiplash River is a winding adventure.” (Express Milwaukee)

“This is pure breezy reading — a fun little crime novel that will pass the time as you lounge out on beaches or by pools this summer.” (Bookgasm)

“Fast, furious, with characters that spike higher than the scatterbrain action, Berney has a hit on his hands with Whiplash River. Ferociously funny, endearingly romantic, annoyingly buzzed, slapstick and chaotic.” (The Review Broads blog)

“Whiplash River recalls the best of the off-the-wall crime fiction impresarios - Elmore Leonard, Carl Hiaasen, James W. Hall, Robert Ferrigno, Tim Dorsey - while establishing its own unique orbit in the noir universe.” (Iron Mountain Daily News)

From the Back Cover

Having left his life of crime behind, former getaway driver Charles "Shake" Bouchon has finally realized the dream of owning his own restaurant in Belize. Unfortunately, to do so he's had to go deep in debt to a murderous local drug lord named Baby Jesus. And when Shake thwarts an attempted hit on an elderly customer named Quinn, things go from bad to worse.

Next thing Shake knows, his restaurant's gone up in flames and he's on the run from Baby Jesus, two freelance assassins, and a beautiful but ferocious FBI agent. Out of options, Shake has to turn to the mysterious Quinn for help. Suddenly Shake's up to his neck in a dangerous score that he'll never pull off unless he can convince an even more dangerous ex-girlfriend to join him.

Edgar Award Nominee for Best Paperback Original Novel

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; First Edition edition (July 10, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062115286
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062115287
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (109 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #396,602 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Billz VINE VOICE on June 2, 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Whiplash River is one of those surprises you get in novels every now and again. The story centers around 'Shake' an ex-con who was called 'Vanilla Milk Shake' in the prison yard and the nickname 'Shake' stuck. But Shake wants to go straight, and so he buys a restaurant in Belize--a little country about the size of Massachusetts tucked in the upper right corner of Central America between Mexico and Guatemala. That's the starting point for a non-stop adventure populated with interesting characters in and out of Shake's life. There's the pair of shooters--Meg and Terry. Meg is a freckled faced pint-sized wannabe killer reminiscent of the Peanuts character Peppermint Patty. Her big galoot boyfriend Terry is trying to keep her happy, and after a bungled attempt to shoot a would-be victim in Shake's restaurant, he whines, "But I ran out of bullets." Shake's struggling restaurant is peopled by Idaba (a Mayan woman who looks to be chiseled from an ancient tomb), and a cook and waiter who are always fighting. Given all the problems in starting a restaurant, Shake had to borrow money to get the restaurant off the ground from the local drug kingpin who goes by the name of 'Baby Jesus.' Naturally, Baby Jesus is not understanding at all if Shake cannot make the payments on the juice loan.

Into Shake's menagerie comes white-haired ex-diplomatic corps blowhard named Quinn and a fetching FBI agent, Evelyn. After saving Quinn's life (and having second thoughts about the wisdom of doing so) Shake is cornered by Evelyn who's on vacation but wants to grill Shake about his former association with the Armenian mob in LA.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Before reading Whiplash River I had never heard of author Lou Berney, but it was so fun and entertaining a read that the first thing I did after finishing it was order his previous book starring character, Charles "Shake" Bouchon--"Gunshot Straight."

Berney holds the reader's attention rock-solid in this quick 307-page action-packed adventure mystery through interesting, well-developed, mysterious and entertaining characters and setting ranging from the Caribbean to San Francisco to Egypt in a plot-driven ride that will have you thinking, smiling and wondering how "Shake" is going to get out of the messes he finds himself in while being hunted by FBI Special Agent Evelyn Holly, mobsters, goons and hired killers.

If Berney's other books are this entertaining, I will read all of them.

Folks, I don't know how else to say it except, THIS WAS REALLY A FAST AND FUN BOOK TO READ!

Read it, you will be glad you did! My best guess is that you will find it as entertaining as I did!

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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
You don't have to be a poker player (I'm not) to love (I do) Whiplash River: A Novel and Gutshot Straight: A Novel by Lou Berney. And you may be wondering why I'm reviewing both novels here, the reason being that WHIPLASH RIVER is the sequel to GUTSHOT STRAIGHT.

GUTSHOT STRAIGHT opens in a California prison where our protagonist, Shake Bouchon, has just dropped his winning flush in a poker game with another inmate and is collecting his winnings. He is also about to become a free man after serving fifteen months for not "dime-ing" on his former boss, the pakhan of the Armenian mob in L.A., Alexandra Ilandryan, that is if the Black con who just lost the poker game doesn't murder him first.

Once out of prison Shake has a chance at a new beginning - to give up his life of small crime driving for the mob, to go straight and to fulfill his dream of settling down and opening up his own restaurant. And thus the ingenious plot building of Lou Berney begins... intersecting the story lines of Shake Bouchon and an eclectic cast of characters on a collision course of exciting plot twists.

Many of the characters we are introduced to in GUTSHOT STRAIGHT reappear in WHIPLASH RIVER (that is if they are still alive or not incarcerated by then). All of them are stunning and memorable and a lot of fun to follow.

WHIPLASH RIVER opens two years after GUNSHOT STRAIGHT ends, in Belize where Shake finally is the chef/owner of his own restaurant.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The Charles "Shake" Bouchon book, Gutshot Straight, was a fresh Bahama breeze that easily took me into a gut-level fast-lane crime story. When as I saw Lou Berney had authored a another "Shake" story, my longed-for ride with the getaway driver was just another click away.
Whiplash River started with a killer view of a sugar-sand beach, palm trees, the Caribbean glittering behind a full moon. A wooden pier curved out over the water, with a thatch-covered palapa perched at the far end. Straight off a post card. By God, there was Shake, the new owner of a the Sunset Breeze restaurant, sitting pretty, with just such a post card view. Unfortunately, a shift in the atmosphere is coming, and his restaurant has begun suffering from those resulting winds of change, just now blowing across the tropical Ambergris Caye in Belize. Shake's new adventure is starting to form, like the tell-tale beginnings of a coming hurricane. First, there's that loan on the restaurant provided by the notorious drug lord, Baby Jesus, that's just now falling behind. Then there is that bull-dog of a FBI agent, a striking beauty for her age, a deadly shooter, whose aim is to get Shake coughing up some information on the Armenian mob(from Gutshot Straight). Then there's an old gentleman, a never-ending-storied-telling intelligence legend, whose providence may be the most dangerous of all the ill winds staring to shake down that picture perfect post card illusion, that Shake Bouchon's new life style was just developing.
The writing is signature Lou Berney/The light came slanting in early, spreading like it had dropped and spilled on the polished ironwood floor. But perhaps best of all is his humor and high speeding plot that bring a special romance to this dance.
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