My review of Lou Berney's WHIPLASH RIVER appeared last week in Shelf Awareness. It is appearing here with their permission. I also think this is a great time to reprint it as today is Lou Berney's birthday. Happy Birthday, Lou!
Lou Berney’s follow-up to his debut, Gutshot Straight, finds Charles “Shake” Bouchon living his dream. He owns his own restaurant on a beach in Belize. Being in debut to the biggest drug dealer in the country wasn’t part of the plan but is a reality nonetheless. So the last thing Shake wants or needs is more drama. However, that’s exactly what he finds when a masked gunman walks into his restaurant one night and targets one of his guests. Shake does his best to defend his guest only to then find himself in the midst of a manhunt – and he’s the man being hunted.
Fans of Berney’s first crime caper found themselves waiting a few years for this follow-up, but few if any will find the wait disappointing. Whiplash River is non-stop action, humor, plot twists and even romance.
Berney adds a cast of new characters, all distinct and colorful, with a few veterans returning from Gutshot Straight. One of the outlying delights of this novel is travel. From the beaches of Belize to the Pyramids of Egypt, Berney illustrates his settings subtly yet powerfully. From the Mennonite village to the street packed with tourist traps, the geography enhances the chase, rather that slowing or impeding it.
While Whiplash River can definitely be enjoyed without the experience of reading Gutshot Straight, it can only be fully appreciated with that background. Since both novels are exceptionally fun reads, they’re both worth popping in your beach bag this summer!
Whiplash River is available in trade paperback (ISBN: 978-0062115287) from William Morrow. It is also available from HarperAudio as an audiobook (ISBN: 978-0062115294), narrated by Jeff Gerner. Gerner is no stranger to the crime fiction genre, but I'm sorry that Edoardo Ballerini didn't return for the second novel. He did such an outstanding job on Gutshot Straight.
As a bonus, I wanted to include the book trailer if you haven't seen it. This is quite possibly the best book trailer I've ever watched. And the disclaimer on the video at Lou's site is: "No yoga instructors were injured during the making of this video!" I love it! Enjoy!