Lou Berney Books In Order

Publication Order of Shake Books

Gutshot Straight (2009) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Whiplash River (2012) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Long and Faraway Gone (2015) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Double Barrel Bluff (2017) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Lou Berney has been nominated for two Edgar awards for his novels, and his stuff has been published in Ploughshares, The New Yorker, and an anthology done by Pushcart Prize. He has also penned a book of short stories, and he has been published in many popular and respected publications. In addition to writing fiction, he has also written movie scripts (only one, the independently produced “Angels Sing”, a family friendly television movie has been produced, that was based on the novel “When Angels Sing” by Turk Pipkin) and pilots for different television networks. “Angels Sing” is a lot more different than the other things that he writes; his other stuff is a lot more violent, and is found in the crime genre. He cites various reasons for these projects not materializing and becoming real things. He teaches a program known as Red Earth MFA at Oklahoma City University. From the time he was twelve until the age of nineteen, he was fired from about nine jobs for various different reasons. These include: grill cook, photo dark room attendant, junior high summer league pitching coach, apartment complex maintenance, and newspaper delivery boy. Since then, Berney has not been fired from a single job.

“Gutshot Straight” is the first book starring Charles “Shake” Bouchon. Bouchon is a professional wheel man. The novel was published in 2010. The man is too nice for the field that he works in, but is not nice enough to do anything else. When Alexandra Illandryan, his former lover and boss and member of the Armenian mob in Los Angeles, asks him to do an errand he does it. He has to deliver a package to someone in Las Vegas and get a briefcase. The package is a housewife with two kids, the wholesome Gina, who has angered a three hundred pound murderous strip club owner name Dick “The Whale” Moby. He sets her free and the pair go to Panama, with the hope that they can sell what is in the briefcase. He must out maneuver not one, but two crime bosses, an Armenian thug, and a billionaire swindler. Shake finds out that Gina is not as wholesome as he first thought.

Fans of the novel enjoyed Berney’s writing, saying that it was a great story filled with surprises, suspense, as well as humor, and characters with depth. The novel gives every reader all that they could possibly ask from a novel. Some have compared Berney’s work to Carl Hiaasan and Elmore Leonard. Some enjoyed how fun the novel was to read, how much they were able to enjoy the experience without rolling their eyes, the way that you can get through the whole book very quickly, and how little Lou Berney wastes his words. Some have called Berney an author to watch because of this book and the way it is his debut novel. The novel pulls readers in and does not let go of them until they have read the entire novel. Reading just one novel by Berney, it does not matter which, will make you a fan, rabid for more books by him.

Some felt that the novel should have had more to it in the way of depth or detail, that it was not anything more than just an entertaining read. Some did not like the way the novel featured too much sex in it and the whole idea of whether or not Gina and Shake would end up together was a little tacked on, to some. Some readers found the novel to be nothing but a guilty pleasure read and nothing more.

“Whiplash River” is the second book starring Charles “Shake” Bouchon. The novel was published in 2012. Shake has decided to reform his old ways and go straight. This means starting a restaurant in Belize; which is something that is a lot harder than he thought it would be, and finds himself owing money to Baby Jesus, who is a murderous drug lord that has a cherub like face. He learns that no good deed goes unpunished, when he stops an assassination from happening in his restaurant. His restaurant gets burned to the ground and he is sent on the run by both Baby Jesus and a beautiful, relentless agent from the FBI. Quinn may just be his biggest headache for the moment. Quinn is a mysterious older man who Shake saved once. He needs the help of an old friend if he is serious about pulling of a big heist.

Some readers enjoyed the book and said that they were able to finish the book in about ten hours. Fans found that the book was deserving of all of the praise that he has been getting for his work. The novel takes readers on a thrill ride that is complete with great dialogue, well written characters, and leaves them ready for more. This novel was over the top (in a good way) and gave readers the feeling that they would enjoy opening the book when they returned to it. Some felt that it lived up to Elmore Leonard’s rule of making the sequel better than the first installment in a series.

Some found that while it was a nice escape from more serious reading that the novel was not all that deep. Some felt that most of the ideas in the novel are left unexplored and are not fleshed out very well. Some found this novel to be nothing but a silly caper novel and not as serious. Some did not like all of the jump cuts in the novel, feeling that it took a lot away from the flow of the novel.

Berney’s novel “The Long and Faraway Gone” won the Edgar Award for the Best Paperback Original in 2016. The novel made it on Amazon’s Best Book list of Mystery and Thriller and Literature and Fiction categories. It has also won the Oklahoma Book Award and the ALA Reading List Award. “Gutshot Straight” was nominated for a Barry Award for Best Debut in 2011 and made Booklist’s Top Ten Crime Debuts. “Whiplash River” was also nominated for an Edgar and an Anthony Award for Best Paperback Original in 2013.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Lou Berney