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Guy Noir and the Straight Skinny

3.18  ·  Rating details ·  425 ratings  ·  93 reviews
Famous radio private eye Guy Noir leaps from A Prairie Home Companion to the pageOn the 12th floor of the Acme Building, on a cold February day in St. Paul, Guy Noir looks down the barrel of a loaded revolver in the hands of geezer gangster Joey Roast Beef who is demanding to hear what lucrative scheme Guy is cooking up with stripper-turned-women's-studies-professor Naomi ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published May 1st 2012 by Penguin Books (first published March 27th 2012)
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Oct 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: keillor
I have been listening to Garrison Keillor on the radio since I was 14 years old. Whether I was leaving a baby sitting job or my waitressing jobs, or finally driving home from my first "real" job which was a one hour commute, I always could find Keillor and Prairie Home Companion (PHC) on the radio.

In this book I can hear the voices of Guy Noir and other characters. But I found it strange since Guy is still in the 1940s that it seems odd that he receives "text messages." And I also think his inti
May 26, 2012 rated it did not like it
Let me say at the outset that I am a huge Garrison Keillor fan. But, this book was tedious! I quit midway through. I couldn't force myself to finish it. Too much Guy Noir! From now on I'll just appreciate Guy on the radio.
Donna Davis
Dec 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: humorous
I am almost always a sucker for the humor of Garrison Keillor. I have seen some reviewers recommend that one listen to his broadcasts rather than read the material here. If you have time and really like his work (and it won't go on indefinitely, folks), consider doing both. As for me, I have seen or heard enough of his broadcasts that I can hear his voice delivering the material as I read it.

One thing about the radio show is that everything he says goes by so quickly. Sometimes I felt as if I ha
Sep 08, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: humor
Alert! If you're thinking about reading this, don't. Listen to it. I was astounded to see that this had been published in book form along with the audio version. This material-- an extended version of a long-running radio bit about a hard-boiled detective-- pretty much requires the sound effects, music, and multiple actors to make it palatable. There are plenty of good one liners. Recommended for PHC fans.
Jul 04, 2012 rated it liked it
I'm giving this three stars for grammatical prowess. I love Keillor's stories and characters--usually, but the Characters in Guy Noir are unlikable and downright papthetic. The stream-of-consciousness style is distracting, the characters egomaniacal, and the entire thing seemed shockingly sexist. I was waiting for the joke to be over, but alas, the joke was on me. I will say, for somone who writes and loves good writing, some of the puns, jokes and dialog (particularly that on the subject of gra ...more
Nov 30, 2014 rated it it was ok
I'm rounding a 2.5 down. I liked it enough to finish, and I certainly liked parts of it, but overall, the book was just mediocre. I'll reiterate the notion that this book should be listened to, rather than read, but even then the old-timey-radio-drama bit sometimes felt a bit tedious and overdone. Some of the monologues were glorious, though, and the author has a couple of brilliant knocks against (or perhaps sympathy for) middle school teachers. But, in the end, listening to a whole book of thi ...more
Gary Land
Jan 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
In this humorous take on the hard-boiled detective novel, one of my favorite genres, Garrison Keillor sends Guy Noir on a romp through the main elements of the genre--bad guys with crazy names, beautiful women, guns stuck in one's face or back, and get-rich schemes (this time a weight loss cure via tapeworms). If one is reading this for the mystery the book will be disappointing, but if you are looking for humor and have some knowledge of the conventions of the hard-boiled school, the book is a ...more
Feb 07, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Liked the performances, plot is pretty weak. But I enjoyed the humor and the running organ and piano in the background. It's an absolute throwback to the radio dramas of the past. Some of the politics are a bit on the conservative side, but just let that go and it's a fun listen. Also, make sure you listen to the audiobook. The slow moving story and dropped plot devices just won't be the same unless you hear the sound effects and the different voices from the actors.
Larry Cunningham
Jul 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Classic Garrison Keillor. I've been a fan of Prairie Home Companion for many years, especially the Guy Noir segments. I'm also a big fan of the classic hard-bitten detective novels from authors like Dashiell Hammett, and the movies based on them. I get the feeling that Mr. Keillor had nearly as much fun writing this send-up as I had reading it.
Sep 24, 2012 rated it it was ok
If this book helps to prove anything, it's that the Guy Noir character works best in radio shorts rather than on the printed page. Still, if the plot itself gave no thrills (other than questionable thrills of a cheap, sensual nature), Keillor's prose somewhat makes up for this lapse, especially in the hilarious and involved verb-tense digression in Chapter 8.
Sep 02, 2012 rated it it was ok
Those who love Guy Noir from Garrison Keillor's NPR show will appreciate the verbal legerdemain of the gravelly detective. I was surprized at his foray's into Guy's sexual proclivities with many different women. It got a little slow in some parts, but the literary quips, which make the book fun to read, are laced throughout the show. I like the radio show better.
May 26, 2012 rated it did not like it
I did not actually finish this book. As of 5/26/2012, I'm about half way through it and I can't deal with it any more. Normally, I'm a fan of Keillor but for some reason this one rubs me the wrong way. It feels so inane and I don't care for the characters. Noir is slimey, his crime-boss enemy is just sad and the woman feels like a deliberate sexist joke. Too bad.
Oct 31, 2014 rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this book, but it wasn't my cup of tea.
Dave Hay
Jul 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio
I have previously tried a Garrison Keller novel, and it was one of only 2 books I could not finish. Sooo looong winded, story not developing much. It is like Mr Keller tries to be dry funny to much. This, however, was a wonderful surprise. I started by thinking that I should have not tried another Keller, and warmed up to the book. In the end I thought it was a great little tale, funny enough that I almost wanted it not to end. I even tried to find another Guy Noir title, but failed . For anyone ...more
Jun 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a fun take on the hard-boiled detective genre. Very different from the other Keillor I've read. It wears a bit thin in a few spots and there's a bit much "get off my lawn," but it's still fun overall.
Josh Krysak
Jan 07, 2019 rated it liked it
*2.5 I’m giving this a mercy 2.5 because I adore Garrison Keillor and despite the monotony, I still chuckled at some of his screwball characterizations and his cleverness. That said, Guy Noir needs to remain a radio show sketch - he just doesn’t translate to the page all that well.
Stefan McElvain
Aug 22, 2017 rated it liked it
Not for me--too tongue in cheek, but if you like slap-stick detective novels you should read this. A quick read.
Nancy McKibben
Dec 16, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Garrison Keillor fans and readers who like parodies
Recommended to Nancy by: a library display
Shelves: humor, reviewed

Guy Noir and the Straight Skinny
By Garrison Keillor

The way I see it, either you like Garrison Keillor or you don’t. If you are a fan, you will like this book, as it is vintage Keillor, or at least vintage Keillor in the guise of alter-ego Guy Noir, a wise-cracking gumshoe from the days of Dragnet and The Shadow, transplanted to contemporary Minneapolis/St. Paul. I liked the book better than I like the Guy Noir radio bits on A Prairie Home Companion; I thought it was funnier. Keillor begins, in G
Aug 16, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: mysteries
This story is straight from the annals of the Prairie Home Campanion radio show. It features the detective Guy Noir and friends in what amounts to a printed edition of the radio skit. There are lots of word play with the characters' names, etc. As the story opens, Guy is again part of a get rich quick scheme. He, along with Naomi Fallopian, are planning to use tape worms as a weight reduction program. Of course, others want in on the profits. They include ganagsters as well as a corrupt FDA insp ...more
Jun 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book is written in the style of a 1930's detective movie. It reminds of Dashiell Hammett but much more sexual. Very clever use of language but the story is running a little thin in the middle. Guy Noir, the detective, is old, fat and broke. An old flame enters his life and he is given the opportunity to help her out with her get rich scheme and get thin in the bargain. Women begin falling at his feet and so goes loads of money. The conflict is that someone else wants in on the scheme,and th ...more
Guy Noir has always been one of my favorite parts of PHC. I listened to this book, and heard some of my favorite parts - the noir descriptions of the dames (i.e. her dress was so tight he could read the embroidery on her underwear - it said Tuesday.), the tongue-twisting monologues, etc.

I could not eat while listening to this book, because the descriptions of the tapeworms made me feel ill and lose my appetite.

I don't think there were as many jokes and humorous moments as I've heard in other Guy
Jul 11, 2012 rated it liked it
I listened to this on Playway HD and the over all production quality was fantastic, however the story left a lot to be desired, it felt much too long and consisted of too many descriptions of the women in Guy Noir's life.

The ending however was a sweet and gentle love letter to Kelior's loyal fans and the late Tom Keith, his sound effects man of many years.

Sue Scott and Tim Russell were at the top of their form, playing everyone from an 80 year old gangster named Joey Roast Beef and Sugar O' To
Beth Huddleston
Jun 13, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
I grew up on Garrison Keillor's Prairie Home Companion radio show on NPR, so when I saw a whole book for Guy Noir, I just snatched it up.

Of course what I loved about Guy Noir in my youth sure was eye-opening for my adult eyes. Women just fling themselves at him. He can get an dame he wants except the one he wants.

In the Straight Skinny, Guy Noir gets a business opportunity he cannot possibly refuse (more due to his low bank account and the pretty woman selling it to him than anything else). It
Jan 22, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: humor
I have read a couple of Lake Wobegon books and when I saw that Keillor had written a Guy Noir novel, I couldn't wait to read this book. I guess my expectations were too high. I was expecting a "spoof" on the old private eye novels of old and that it would contain the usual Keillor humor. I quickly realized that my expectations were way off base. I was disappointed with the plot. There was no suspense but plenty of tapeworms and meaningless sex. I am giving this two stars because there was enough ...more
Shane McDaniel
I can't imaging having read this over listening to it. The power of Guy Noir is hearing it and that's a large value add here; hearing Garrison, Tim and Sue act out the story rather than Garrison just reading it.

However this long form story perhaps shows the value of getting Guy Noir in short segments on Prairie Home Companion. The story was stretched and it lacked a lot the one off humorous moments you get in the weekly show. The sex and body jokes were stretched quite thin and was too much fill
May 12, 2012 rated it it was ok
This was kind of disappointing. Guy is caught up in a weight loss scheme involving tapeworms (how do the queen tapeworms survive in a plastic bag for weeks?), has several bad guys after his head and once he sheds the pounds several women after his body. The numerous characters are hard to keep track of and the cliches become tedious. One of the attractions of Guy Noir is the audio presentation, the voice of Garrison Keillor and the sound effects. Those attractions are not present in a novel and ...more
Jul 18, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like the feature film version of a TV show, this 4 hour episode is just more of the fun and a tad more risque than the broadcast Guy Noir. Love the description of a pierced character as having fallen face first into a tackle box. I'm not sure if the print version would have been as entertaining as the audio which has all the colorful characterizations, silly sound effects and honky tonk piano of PHC.
May 29, 2012 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: readers in search of empty calories
Shelves: gifteduponme
While there were a few chuckles along the way, particularly those having to do with "Los Pampas Casa Campaneros" and the discombobulated old radio host trying to find his show at the Fitzgerald theater, overall this story feels lazy and self-indulgent. As a novel, this just flat out doesn't work. It has more the feel of a serial which might appear on a radio show such as "A Prairie Home Companion".
Nov 18, 2014 rated it it was ok
Here's what I learned while listening to this audio book: I only like Guy Noir in very small doses. The last hour or so I mostly just half-listened and tried to figure out what I'd be listening to next.

I've got Pontoon: A Novel of Lake Wobegon which I grabbed from Audible, too. I'm pretty sure I'll enjoy it much more since I'm a fan of Lake Wobegon stories.
Oct 16, 2012 rated it liked it
Not a book to read for plot (it's weird and doesn't always make a lot sense). But the trip is well worth Keillor is amusing throughout--I chuckled out loud throughout...your enjoyment might depend on how funny you find Keillor's meditation on farts, but I find them pretty funny so there you have it.
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Garrison Keillor (born Gary Edward Keillor on August 7, 1942 in Anoka, Minnesota) is an American author, storyteller, humorist, columnist, musician, satirist, and radio personality. He is known as host of the Minnesota Public Radio show "A Prairie Home Companion".

Keillor was born in Anoka, Minnesota, the son of Grace Ruth (née Denham) and John Philip Keillor, who was a carpenter and postal worker.