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.
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....
60 of 64 people found this review helpful
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.
44 of 49 people found this review helpful
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.
26 of 30 people found this review helpful
I like the plot twists, it was the perfect read for a rainy afternoon or day at the beach. Violence as part of the scene but not too graphic or blown out. I would have given a higher performance rating but he mispronounced Sepulveda and La Cienega, both well known L.A. locals.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
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.
33 of 41 people found this review helpful
Audible's generous return policy too often makes me give up on a book before I should. Although listening to it this time, (I had forgotten I purchased it until I recognized the opening scene), it grabbed me from the beginning. So I have no idea why it was returned, I am only glad I finished it this time.
There are several storylines revolving around remarkable characters in uniquely perilous situations. The common thread is the anti-hero, a 64 year old, Romanian immigrant, small time gangster who owns a few night clubs and strip joints. He is decent enough to like, ruthless enough to fear. But when he mistakenly targets an innocent man as the theif who robbed him, all hell breaks lose.
Strip is sexy, fun, wildly suspenseful and worth whatever you pay for it.
6 of 7 people found this review helpful
I am a fan of Thomas Perry, and this book caught me off guard. I've let it set a couple of weeks before I write the review, and decided it is better than I thought.
Unlike his other books, there is no character I like-no one I rooted for-like the 'hit man' who is really a sympathetic soul forced to kill anyone who stands in his way! This book, on the other hand, is loaded with unlikeable characters. I didn't care what happened to any of them in this convoluted plot.
However, when Strip wrapped up, I took notice.
Michael Kramer is superb and voices all characters, male and female, distinctly and believably.
Get to the end. You'll see what I mean.
12 of 15 people found this review helpful
This novel presents a tableau of rather unique individuals not given enough attention by Perry to read true. A bigamist detective whose story falls flat. An Elmore Leonard type protagonist in witness protection who really should have been center stage, rather than an aging low-level gangster and strip-club owner. There's a sexy clubber cum homicidal gun moll, and the usual 2-dimensional thugs, thieves, and bodyguards from central casting. The worst part of listening to this novel, however, was the dialogue: pointless, rambling, and tedious, like a parody of a George Higgins novel. Are there no editors? Are there no fact checkers? Readers in L.A, have you ever heard of Sepul-VEE-da Boulevard? Or La Cien-AGA? Yet again I wonder about all the 5-star reviews for a very mediocre novel.
15 of 19 people found this review helpful
Thomas Perry is like no other author. Where other authors would turn left, he makes a U turn. His plotting is interesting, and his characters rarely act out of character.
This book is a great example of how you can take an unlikeable character (Kapic) and make him likable by the end of the book. But the twists at the end you don't see coming are awesome, and reflect the way the world actually works.
There are a few plot holes in this one that you can figure out on your own. I won't spoil the book by revealing them. They do not detract from the enjoyment of the book. The only thing I can say is I wish that we had more back-story on "Joe Carver."
This book is a good listen, and a good story.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
This is my first Thomas Perry book. I especially enjoyed the ending, although I wasn't sure where the story was headed till we got there. I agree with the reviewer who said that there were times he didn't know which character to pull for. Occasionally I had to remind myself what I already knew about a character. Look forward to another book by TP.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful