Laurence Shames’ funny, elegantly written, and hip thrillers have topped best-seller lists across the country, and earned him a leading role as a writer of “Florida noir” with Elmore Leonard and Carl Hiaasen. When Island Frigate advertising rep Suki Sperakis decides to write an exposé on the Key West black market, she is strangled and left for dead in the trunk of a car sinking slowly into the Gulf of Mexico. Soon her only chance at survival rests on the senile Sam Katz and octogenarian ex-mobster Bert the Shirt who must infiltrate the Russian Mafia posing as a gay couple from New York. Will Bert and Sam succeed, or is Suki doomed to once again sleep with the fishes? Richard Ferrone brings every character to life—from the cigar-smoking Island Frigate editor to a man named Pineapple who lives in a fiberglass hotdog—to help make Mangrove Squeeze one of Shames’ sharpest, tangiest, and most engaging audiobooks to date.
©1998 Laurence Shames (P)1998 Recorded Books, LLC
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"Wise, endearing and incredibly funny."
I read Laurence Shames's books when they came out in print about twenty years ago, and I loved them then. The audio version, at least of this book, is even better. Shames is one of a very few authors who can sustain a funny book throughout its length. The cast of characters is just wonderful: Aaron Katz, the brand-new B and B owner and refugee from NYC, his increasingly deaf dad Sam, a retired mobster named Bert the Shirt, who constantly carries around an ancient, wheezing Chihuahua, two guys named Fred and Pineapple who live in a big hot dog, etc. Your villains are several Russian Mafia guys with very Russian-sounding names, including a bizarrely buffed up guy named Tarzan Abramovitz. The heroine, Sookie Sperakis, is a fully drawn woman, and the romance between Aaron and Sookie is touching and real. The setting is Key West, where anything goes. The narrator, Richard Ferrone, is spectacular. His voicing of Bert the Shirt is so funny that you listen keenly for every word. This is not great literature: that is not what Shames was shooting for. It is fun. At the time there was a group of Florida writers who were all talented and some funny: Carl Hiassen, Randy Wayne White and a few others. Shames stopped writing, I believe, when he ran out of gags. This takes courage, as a huge number of writers just keep pumping it out, long after their inspiration is gone. Get this book. You will LOL, ROFL and LYour AO. (Ask a teenager for translations if you need them.)
"So much fun!"
So far this year, Mangrove Squeeze ranks in the top ten. It was such a fresh 'read' from the setting (Key West) to the unique characters. The dramatic part of the book is interesting enough to create a nice little puzzle (which I like). It is the sweetness of certain characters mixed with the screwball and 'sour' characters that give this book is charm.
Anything by Carl Hiaasen (like Skinny Dip) or Randy Wayne White - but so much better.
What a performance! Mr. Ferrone is a master of characterization, making the words come alive.
This book made me laugh out loud.
Charming and colourful, this book is definitely worth reading.
"Likable, not exciting"
Good writing, with nuance in the character details and real humor. Plot well-crafted, and narrator wonderful. It's worth listening to in a pinch, with the only problem being, it never lifts off into gripping. I was always aware I was listening to someone's writing, rather than being absorbed in the story itself. I was stuck at the window pane, instead of being able to see through the window.
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