Whiplash River: A Novel
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Whiplash River: A Novel

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3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  245 ratings  ·  62 reviews
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 Shak...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published July 10th 2012 by William Morrow Paperbacks
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Jamie
Ten hours flat, start to finish. Ten hours and I stopped to eat lunch and to eat dinner and that was the problem! Both were food that took both hands and how could I eat but also keep reading?

If I really, really liked Gutshot Straight, I loved loved loved this one. This guy is— hang with me here— the William Gay to Elmore Leonard’s Cormac McCarthy. At first glance, he’s got Elmore’s language, he’s onto the master’s tricks. But any look closer and it’s not even close to imitation. It’s not even h...more
Melanie
I'm physically exhausted after reading this hellish good follow-up spree all the way to the pyramids.

Love the 'Shakes & Gina' team and all the new brazen, crazy, loveable characters - zowee Meg aka Peppermint Patty, big smile Evelyn, chatty Harry and batshit Babb. Tough Meg deserves to lead next and maybe Jasper can help a gal out.

Back to being exhausted: the reader is never in on the con and you can't guess quick enough, the author has so many balls in the air and he's a consummate juggler...more
Daniel Villines
From cover to cover, Whiplash River is completely entertaining. It grabs your attention from the start with an exotic destination that happens to be one my favorite places: the Caribbean. Then the book pulls you in, willingly, with its wonderful characters. Each one is different and unique, but more to the point, each one is real in terms of their individual hopes, regrets, and personalities. There are no favorites, which makes switching between storylines a real pleasure. As you leave one chara...more
Carol
Jul 16, 2012 Carol rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: crime
I thoroughly enjoyed Whiplash River by Lou Berney. It made me gasp and smile. It’s a romp, a caper, a slightly mad-cap thriller.

Opening line:

The view from the veranda was a killer.

A sugar-sand beach, palm trees, the Caribbean glittering beneath a full moon. A wooden pier curved out over the water, with a thatch-covered palapa perched at the end. Straight off a postcard.

Shake had bought the Sunset Breeze more than two years ago. You’d think he wouldn’t even notice the view any more, but he did. E...more
Pamela
I wanted to give this book 3 or maybe even 4 stars. It was funny, witty, the plot of over the top (in a good way), and the characters silly yet believable.

One little problem. A problem that started out as little more than a niggle then finally came crashing down, un-suspending my 'suspension of belief.'

Google. That was the problem. (view spoiler)...more
Pattianne
Jan 19, 2014 Pattianne marked it as to-read
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...more
Kara Jorges
I loved Lou Berney's first novel, Gutshot Straight, so I was thrilled when I saw he had written another. I was even happier when I realized this book also starred Shake Bouchon, ex-wheelman for the Armenian mob. Shake apparently decided to start living quietly and bought himself a bar in Belize. Life would be great, if it wasn't for the fact that he owes cocaine runner Baby Jesus several thousand dollars he can't pay back. Then his bar gets shot up when someone tries to kill one of his customers...more
Joe Young
A remarkable action packed story with a basically "Good Man" career criminal wheel man, Charles "Shake" Bouchon, who has paid his price and is trying to go straight as a highly leveraged restaurant owner in Belize. Characters abound filling out the story with an assortment of memorable, strange people ranging from a FBI Special Agent taking her vacation in Belize to try to squeeze Shake for damning info on the Armenian Mob to a loving pair of "Would Be" assassins trying to earn their credentials...more
Yvonne
4.5 StarsThis was a lot better than I was expecting. It's also the second book in a series which I didn't realize until I was partway done with it. Shake Bouchon has served a couple of prison terms and used to run with the Armenian Mob. Now he wants to settle down and live a more peaceful life in Belize so he purchases a restaurant there. The trouble is he's not attracting enough business, he's only got one staff member who knows what she's doing and he made the mistake of borrowing the money fo...more
A.
I have to admit that I had a hard time warming up to a criminal as the main character. He is described as too nice a guy for the life he's led and not nice enough for any other. He is charming and even sincere. He has done some prison time and he just seems to keep getting tangled in the seedy side of life, such as when he takes a lone from the Belize drug lord to get his restaurant going. These bad occurrences just seem to happen TO him without his purposefully seeking them out. He was a well d...more
Luanne Ollivier
Whiplash River is the second book for Lou Berney. It picks up the story of 'Shake' Bouchon, the lead character from Berney's first book - Gutshot Straight.

Now I hadn't read the first book, but had no problem getting caught up in Shake's story. He's an ex con who has pursued and captured his dream of owning a restaurant in Belize. At last, he can live a nice quiet life on the up and up, earning his money legitimately. Except....he borrowed the money for the restaurant from local crime boss Baby J...more
Lori L (She Treads Softly)
Whiplash River by Lou Berney is one fun, crazy adventure. Charles "Shake" Bouchon has supposedly left his life of crime behind to pursue his dream of opening a restaurant in Belize, which was, unfortunately, financed through a risky loan from Baby Jesus, the head of a local drug smuggling operation. Suddenly Shake's dream literally explodes and he finds himself on the run with a senior citizen, Harry Quinn, whose mysterious past seems to be just another long story waiting to be told.

Shake saved...more
KG
Wow! I really like these characters (especially the repeat characters, Shake and Gina, from "Gutshot Straight"). I like this author's writing style. I like the dialogue (although, it wasn't quite as clever and pithy throughout the ENTIRE novel, as it was in "Gutshot Straight"). I like they way the story is almost spontaneous, in places - - you just don't see certain plot-twists coming. And, I like the overall fun and casual attitude of the prose. Some of the characters are pretty despicable peop...more
Julie
I received this book in a Goodreads giveaway. There is an understanding that a review will be written and published (somewhere) but it isn't a requirement.

I didn't read "Gutshot Straight," the first Shake Bouchon book, but I didn't feel that was detrimental to the enjoyment of this book. And I really did enjoy it; it's a fun romp with interesting characters and it's well told.
The author starts the rollercoaster ride straight from the beginning and it doesn't let up. There are twists and turns th...more
Kathleen Huben
Whiplash River is second in Lou Berney's series featuring former getaway driver, Charles "Shake" Bourchon. I've read and thoroughly enjoyed both books and do believe it really helps to have read Gutshot Straight before Whiplash River.
Bourchon is the classic "criminal with a sense of honor" - a basically good guy who's taken a couple of wrong turns but still has a strong sense of "right and wrong" (he would never turn in any of his former associates to lighten his sentencing), and is now attempt...more
Kathy Davie
Second in the Shake* suspense series revolving around an ex-wheelman who has the hardest time going straight.

* This is my name for the two books about Shake Bouchon.

My Take
Technically, I suppose this is a suspenseful story, annnddd it has a healthy dose of some unhealthy romance. Talk about dysfunctional…but it does seem to work for them. It's the kind of situation that will make you shake your head in disbelief.

Whiplash River is somewhere between the roller coaster of a ride that was Gutshot S...more
Elizabeth A.
“Simple and safe. Is that what you want? How much fun would that be?” – Harrigan Quinn

Actually, simple and safe is precisely what Charles “Shake” Bouchon wants. Having lived a life of crime, including two stints in the joint and serving as a wheelman for the Armenian mob, Shake is ready to settle down. In fact, he’s managed to secure his dream, owning a restaurant in Belize.

Alas, simple and safe is not in the cards for Shake. For starters, he had to borrow money from local drug lord Baby Jesus i...more
Lisa
Shake Bouchon was livin’ the dream.

For years, he’d been a wheelman for the Armenian mob, but he’d gotten away clean. He bought restaurant on the beach in Belize, where he hoped to start fresh. The location was postcard-perfect, sea breezes and tiki torches and tourists with credit cards. Should have been everything he needed for a perfect retirement in Lou Berney’s Whiplash River.

Unfortunately, the dream has a mortgage. Shake owes an arm and a leg and possibly other vital organs to a local gangs...more
Victoria
Wow! What a fun sequel! When this arrived today, I had a sinking suspicion that I would end up staying up very late to finish it in one sitting. My prediction came true, but at least at the moment, it feels completely worth it (tomorrow morning at work, this may be a different story...)! I had just a terrific time reading this great continuation in the story of Charles “Shake” Bouchon.

The book opens with Shake in his dream restaurant about three years after the events that took place in Gutshot...more
Donald
I really enjoyed this novel. This is the second book to feature Shake Bouchon and Gina Clement, two con artists with a history. (I hadn’t read the first book of the series, Gutshot Straight, but didn’t need to. Author Lou Berney does a good job filling in first-time readers nicely, while also giving gentle reminders to fans of the first novel.) Shake is now trying to live a clean life running a restaurant in Belize. But the need for cash and the appearance of a man named Quinn (not to mention th...more
Paul
Whiplash River takes the reader on a wild ride from the beach paradise of Belize to Cairo Egypt. The adventure begins when a masked gunman tries to kill a diner in Shake Bouchon's seaside restaurant, and from then on the adventure never stops. Readers of the author's first book Gutshot Straight will remember Shake and will be happy to know that his girlfriend from that book Gina is in this one as well. The man the gunman was trying to kill is named Quinn and after Shake spends some time with Qui...more
Mark
A strong and enjoyable follow-up to the debut novel Gutshot Straight. This is well paced and well written, and still heavily influenced by Leonard and Hiassen, in the genre I would call 'crimedy.'

It's a few years after Shake Bouchon's last adventure, and he has followed up on his dream to open a restaurant in Belize. Within a few pages of the opening scene, he's up to his eyeballs in trouble; the restaurant is a pile of ashes, he owes money to the deadly Baby Jesus that he can't hope to repay,...more
Alejandra
I enjoyed this book and I flew through it. It's action packed with adventure, excitement and danger. A good weekend or vacation read. I recommend to those who like James Bond type movies :)
This book had a couple story lines that all came together in the end, maybe a bit unbelievably random the way they took place. A little choppy, perhaps. But they did all fold together and were quite nice.
I think the character of Evelyn is a complete waste of space. Nothing about her was necessary, especially...more
Rebecca
I liked Whiplash River. It was fast and funny. It was part thriller, part action and part heist book. The characters were quirky and interesting while still being believable. Berney manages to take some familiar elements; the slightly bumbling would be sidekick, the woman cop out to prove something, the ex-con trying to go good, the heist that keeps spinning further and further out of control and keep them from being derivative, cliché and stale. It has a good pace and enough action and surprise...more
Joy
When former American gangster for the Armenians, Charlie, or Shake as he prefers to go by, decides to start life over again, he picks Belize. A nice coastal town with a beach, a breeze, and a restaurant all his own. No chance of finding trouble here. But trouble finds Shake in Whiplash River by Lou Berney. A loan shark drug lord named Baby Jesus, an elderly man with a hit out on him, a lovely FBI agent, a former flame, and a couple with guns for hire keep this story running on all cylinders. It'...more
Dan
Charles "Shake" Bouchon wants to settle down and get away from the life of crime that has been a part of most of life. He buys a restaurant in Belize, thinking that would be a great way to relax and get away from his past. Unfortunately, the restaurant business is not easy and Shake ends up owing the local cocaine smuggler a lot of money. Then someone start shooting at ones of his customers, his restaurant gets burnt to the ground and everyone seems to be after him, including the FBI.

This one is...more
Allison
Compares itself to "Ocean's 11" at one point. Not far off the mark. Witty and entertaining with a multi-layered storyline. I'd recommend this to those who enjoy a good caper.
Sandi
Just as fun as the previous book in the series. I am big fan of comic capers and this really delivered with a fast and furious plot and quirky characters.
Diane
Whiplash River picks up a few years after the end of Berney's first book Gutshot Straight: A Novel. "Shake" is living alone, running a beautiful oceanfront restuarant in Belize. Sounds as if life is perfect, right? Not so fast because this is a Lou Berney book. I can't talk about the novel without giving something away, so I will say if you are a fan of Carl Hiaasen or Tim Dorsey or off-the-wall, crime novels that tend to go sideways, you will enjoy Lou Berney's novels. He has wonderful pacing a...more
Doug
Charles "Shake" Bouchon is a former driver for an Armenian gang who gets busted, does time and when he gets out decides to change his ways. He goes to Belize and falls in love with the island and decides to buy a restaurant. All does not always go well in paradise and soon his business is failing, he is in debt to a loan shark/drug lord and people are trying to kill him. A couple of good lines from this book.
"You can't cling to the past, because no matter how tightly you hold on, it is already...more
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Lou Berney is the author of the novels Gutshot Straight (2010), named one of Booklist's Top 10 Debut Crime Novels, and Whiplash River (2012), nominated for an Edgar Award. He has written feature screenplays and created TV pilots for, among others, Warner Brothers, Paramount, Focus Features, ABC, and Fox. His short fiction has appeared in publications such as The New Yorker, Ploughshares, the New E...more
More about Lou Berney...
Gutshot Straight The Long and Faraway Gone: A Novel

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