An aging but formidable strip-club owner, Claudiu "Manco" Kapak, has been robbed by a masked gunman as he placed his cash receipts in a bank's night-deposit box. Enraged, he sends his half-dozen security men out to find a suspect who is spending lots of cash and is new enough to Los Angeles not to know he was robbing a gangster.
Their search leads them to Joe Carver, an innocent but hardly defenseless newcomer who evades capture and sets out to make Kapak wish he'd chosen someone else.
Meanwhile, the real culprit, Jefferson Davis Falkins, and his new girlfriend, Carrie, seem to believe they've found a whole new profession: robbing Manco Kapak. Lieutenant Nick Slosser, the police detective in charge of the puzzling and increasingly violent case, has his own troubles, including worries about how he's going to afford to send the oldest child of each of his two bigamous marriages to college without making their mothers suspicious.
As this odd series of difficulties explodes into a triple killing, Carver finds himself in the middle of a brewing gang war over Kapak's little empire, while Falkins and Carrie journey into territory more strange and violent than either had imagined.
©2010 Thomas Perry (P)2010 Tantor
“Perry's exquisite timing and finesse provide near perfect endings to the multiple story lines and make this escapist reading at its best.” (Publishers Weekly)
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"Great book overall"
I loved the many little stories within the story. I also loved how the author was able to humanize the bad guys. Perry made the reader understand each character and sympathize or even empathize with some of the baddies.
From reading comments on other Perry novels it appears that he tends to stop his stories abruptly. This story was similar in that respect but I was okay with it because everything came together - and he allowed the reader to make his/her own ending on a couple of subplots. Overall a great read. One small issue was the fact that the narrator mispronounced a number of the Los Angeles street names which can be annoying to a local. For example, imagine the street name Sepulveda in the wrong hands. LOL.
"Better and Better"
I have always been a Thomas Perry fan. He writes formulaically and that is not a knock if done well. But how an author can produce novels for 18 years and scripts for years before that and suddenly step up his game like this is beyond me. This is uber Elmore Leonard but even better than the beloved Elmore. "Strip" is so good on many levels.
There is Karma. People get what they deserve and even if this doesn't happen in real life, it is tremendously satisfying. But what do the characters in "Strip" deserve, exactly? You think you know when you start out. There is the innocent man under attack, the nasty small-time gangster, the thief, his put-upon girlfriend, a bodyguard, a collection of hoods. Good guys-Bad guys, right? Not so fast. Perry lovingly unveils these characters until you become very fond of some people you assumed you would despise-- and then they disappoint you, these fleshed-out characters that you have become invested in. And then, Karma.
And the unpredictability! You just don't know what is going to happen, and that is rare in a book in the crime genre. When something does happen, it is so logical, but so startling, and, in one case, horrible, that by the end of the book you are full of delicious tension.
Back to Elmore Leonard, or Lawrence Block, or the late Donald Westlake; this is absolutely in the same league, and one of the reasons is the dialog. Hyper realistic dialog as people say what they would say if they were just a little bit smarter and sharper than they would really be. I appreciate an author who amazes me. If I were sharper myself I could go on about Perry being a master chameleon as far as writing style, but I really don't understand sometimes just why something tastes so good; I just know it's delicious.
The narration is excellent except for the mispronunciation of street and place names.
Riveting to the last paragraph. Memorable. Rereadable.
"Marvelous romp thru colorful LA gangsterland."
Mr. Perry can write. You know from the first chapter that this is true. The clash between two Hummers and a large construction crane is just perfect. The clash between Joe Carver and Manka Kapak is also just perfect. Michael Kramer is also a great narrator. This book has everything going for it. Perry sends the plot through hoops and fast turns. The gangsters are terrific. Joe Carver is a hero with full dimensions. Richard Spence, Kapak's right-hand-man, is also a clever creation, cool and smart, smarter than his boss but clever enough to hide that and take orders from Kapak. Even the cops are complicated. Lt. Schlosser's life becomes so unusual that you will never ever be able to predict where it goes. The plot keeps accelerating. This is not a page-turner in the usual Clancy mode. You will be drawn into the lives of these people, even though many of them are people who many of us might think of as low-lifes. Even the so-called minor characters like Jefferson Davis and Melisande Carr are sharply drawn and wildly interesting. You will feel Manka Kapak's life closing in on him, and yet you will not be able to predict any aspect of the end of the book, which throws you through several surprises. I heartily recommend this book. I can't imagine a listener to this genre being disappointed by it. It provides a dozen hours of great entertainment. I look forward to more of the work of both Mr. Perry and Mr. Kramer.
"Not A Waste Of Time But..."
This is like a collection of short stories...Maybe even comic book stories. Each is interesting and they do hang together... And it's not really boring. But I kept expecting something greater than the sum of these parts would happen and less did. There are so many books to listen to and I'm a tad disappointed that I spent this much of it on "Strip".
Still it made my morning gym visits less uncomfortable and wasn't bad company during household chores. Not sure that's a great recommendation though. Plus there are brothers in this plot and Michael Kramer seemed stymied over how to make their tongues seem different enough to keep track. On the other hand they, like most of these characters, really weren't much deeper than comic book characters so, maybe he didn't care about them, so... neither did I.
On balance? Pass on this one. It's not a waste of time but....
What a fun listen!! Quirky characters all around! Any one of them could have become the main character in a series but put them all together, add some black humor, and let Thomas Perry's imagination take the lead and its magic!
Michael Kramer's performance adds so much! All his voices are right on target and his deadpan delivery gives an electric jolt to the story's humor and violence.
Of course it helps if your sense of humor slightly sick
"A worthy companion to the Jane Whitefield novels"
I've read most of Perry's novels. The Whitefield novels stood head and shoulders above the rest ... until "Strip". The plot twists and turns, holding the reader's interest... the characters are interesting and well-developed.
"Small time gangster, meets his match"
I could relate to the different characters and their personnal problems with life in general A very believible story
One does not come to mind at the moment but I did enjoy the story line
I liked Spence and the boss who was living in the past
Yes, after the big shootout and the two girls were let go even though they should have been terminated
Well, I gues there won't be a second book to let us know how it all turned out, IF you write one MR Perry I will gladly read it.
"Great book, made a long trip pass un-noticed"
Great carecters, did not know which one to root for the most. Very likeable people even if the lines were blured between good and bad. Had a long trip to drive and it was like i was transported to my destanation.
"First rate--more twists and turns than a maze"
It took me a long time to warm up to Perry, as I didn't like the one Butcher's Boy book I read, for lack of personality, humor or cleverness. This book, however, has it all. Twists of fate turn into convoluted disasters born of mistaken impressions and identities. Although read in somewhat of a monotone, the narrator was perfect--understated irony. And, these unwitting villains/victims have personality and perseverance. It is a thoroughly enjoyable romp worthy of O'Henry. I'm now a Perry fan!
"I really wanted to like this story...."
I was even upset when one reviewer gave the story a negative review. The story started great. It captured my attention, and I was eager to continue.
About partway through the story, it felt like the story was written by another author. Some of the scenarios were really far-fetched, and the dialogue became very stilted. I began skipping portions of the book.
Overall the narrator was very good, but the story was not.
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