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Guy Noir and the Straight Skinny

3.16  ·  Rating details ·  477 ratings  ·  102 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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Average rating 3.16  · 
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 ·  477 ratings  ·  102 reviews

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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Oct 31, 2014 rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this book, but it wasn't my cup of tea.
Ray Campbell
May 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2020
I always enjoyed A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor. I was sad when he was accused of sexual impropriety, but consider him a casualty of liberal overreach. While actual humans are maimed, raped and killed with no response from the righteous, a woman who claims he touched her undergarment when putting his arm around her in a pose for a picture not only got him fired, but expunged from NPR and his legacy deleted. I consider myself a conservative person, but not so much so that I have n ...more
Tony Kornkven
Aug 22, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor
I decided to listen to this story because I think Guy Noir stories are better heard then read. The sound effects and voice cast add life to a story that would otherwise fall flat due to its length. When I'd listen to the Guy Noir stories on A Prairie Home Companion they were short skits and the humor was stronger. The dry humor is still present but can get lost in all the filler this story contains. The Straight Skinny is also a departure from other Guy Noir stories because it has a more PG-13 f ...more
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
Tracy Laaveg
Jul 12, 2020 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Pastor Trike
Feb 07, 2019 rated it it was ok
Hmmm... This is a tough one for me to review. For many years I have been a huge Garrison Keillor fan. Like many others, I was saddened to hear of the allegations against him. This book did not help in my impression of him. It is so sexualized and really makes me think that the man has a serious problem. I cannot recommend this book to anyone. It is really quite sad.
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.
Feb 18, 2019 rated it it was ok
2.5-3 I think this may have worked better as part of the radio show. It is very witty and I appreciated many puns used. I also liked his updating of poems--such as forgive me for I took the body from the icebox. It is fun, but requires patience and isn't for everyone.
Michael Paynter
Apr 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Move over Sam Spade, Dick Tracy, and Sherlock comes Guy Noir, the private eye from the Acme Building in Saint Paul, Minnesota, who solves the case, but not always in the best way. Good read for the detective noir fan, as well as any Garrison Keillor fan.
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.
Sarah Rosenthal
May 24, 2019 rated it did not like it
Not even worth one star.
John Weaver
Jan 07, 2020 rated it liked it
I picked this up as an interlude to some of the heavier reading I have been doing. Great Garrison Keillor prose
Jan 08, 2020 rated it it was ok
Some good spots of humor mostly at the beginning.
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: reviewed, humor

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
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
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
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
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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.

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