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Summary

Justin Chase is the perfect barkeep, tending bar as he lives his life, in a state of Zen serenity, until Birdie Grackle, a foul-mouthed alcoholic, walks into his bar and makes a startling confession.

Six years ago Justin’s life was ripped apart when he discovered his mother’s bludgeoned corpse. Now Justin’s father is serving a life sentence and Justin drowns his emotions in a pool of inner peace. But when Birdie claims he murdered Justin’s mother for cash, Justin is hurled back to the emotions, back to the past, and, most frightening of all, back to the father he tried to leave behind. Who hired Birdie Grackle to kill Justin's mother? As Justin pieces together the truth, a killing machine stalks Justin, leaving a trail of dead in his wake. Someone wants to bury the truth, and maybe Justin, too. Justin had better find some answers quick, because murder is just not Zen.

©2013 William Lashner (P)2013 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Charles Atkinson
  • 01-10-14

Pour me another!

This is my second Lashner novel, The Accounting being the first one. Despite the mediocre ratings from other readers, I hoped the depth of character I discovered in the hero of the Accounting would also be found in the Barkeep's heroes. I was not disappointed.

This novel is so much more than a great mystery. It's about redemption, new beginnings and facing the demons that chase us all. The heroes are everyday people who are placed in extraordinary situations.

Luke Daniels did great with most of the characters, but there were a few whose character along with the voice he gave them grated on my nerves. Nevertheless it was very close to a 4 star effort

This was a really fun book to read. It's very close to 5 star experience.

38 of 40 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Annette Mitchell
  • 24-10-15

Wow, what a read !!

This book was a total surprise for me. At the very beginning I didn't think I would enjoy it. After a slow start, for me that is, it captivated me and kept me enthralled. It kept me guessing until almost the very end. I think Mr. Lashner has gained another fan.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Lady S.
  • 25-07-15

Strangely entertaining

The premise of the story was good, there were lots of twists and ah ha moments. But the narration was off at times I couldn't tell when another charade was speaking because they all sounded the same and there was a bit too much mindless rambling. With all that being said it was a pretty good.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Richard Delman
  • 28-01-18

Likable, entertaining, not masterful.

I enjoyed this book. As above, it is not a masterpiece, but then, how many of those do we get? It is entertaining, which I think is what most of us want in a thriller. It is unusual. The protagonist, Justin Chase, is a bartender whose father, McKenzie, is in prison for murdering his mother, Eleanor. Justin deteriorated after the murder, and his life has never been the same. He had graduated from law school, but never passed the bar, and floated into a series of bartending jobs, having no serious relationships and no goals. The book sets up the goal of finding out whether his father really did kill his mother, and he finds this out at the end of the book. In the meantime, the book is populated by a cast of interesting characters: Mia, the D.A., Westbrook, the cop, a very bad man named Birdie Grackle (you read that right) and some friends of Justin's. As the book progresses, Justin hooks up with Annie Overstreet, who, in a fine Oedipal twist, was his father's girlfriend before he went to prison. Justin uses Zen techniques to try to fend off his feelings, particularly his mourning of his mother, but also his growing attachment to Annie.
The writing is good, but the performance of Luke Daniels is amazing. Mr. Daniels tries as hard as he can to make this one of the most memorable audiobooks you have heard, and he does a truly respectable job of it. He uses a tremendous range of voices, expressing the voices of characters, moods, different properties of speech, passions, and pretty much anything you can think of in a good narrator. I will now take serious looks at books that he narrates. He won't make you forget Frank Muller, and he's not Edoardo Ballerini, but he is doing his damned best, and that is good enough for me.
The book could have benefitted from some editing. It is too long. A number of the scenes do not advance the plot, which they should, a cardinal rule of all novels and particularly thrillers. The author needs to keep you interested and wondering whodunit.
This book is worth reading. It kept me entertained, and that is a fine thing these days. Winter can be cold and wet, even here in "sunny" California. Light a fire, pick up a blankie, and settle down in your favorite chair. Needless to say, only light a fire if you have a fireplace, or else you might have a scene from one of these thrillers.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Elizabeth
  • 02-12-15

Terrific

Wonderful narration... He captured the different characters - amazing
Great story - couldn't put it down
I finished it in a day

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Sarah
  • 29-10-15

Unusual Characters, Original Plot!

I thought the book was fabulous. I really liked the main character, a bartender who doesn't drink and follows the Tibetan Book of the Dead, the mentally challenged but endearing killer, the jaded former mistress of the imprisoned father. It was a good mystery with complex intrigue. One complaint - I thought the very annoying and disgusting old codger character went on with his rambling way too long, to the point where I had to fast forward a couple of times. The narrator did his voice much too well - an authentic Texas drunk accent which reminded me of people I have encountered here in the Lone Star State.

The detailed descriptions of the mixed drinks were a fun touch but I think this book might not be a good choice for recovering alcoholics.

I agree with other reviewers the ending was a little strange - and a bit weak compared to the rest of the book. Pretty satisfying outcomes all in all, however.

I definitely recommend this book. It was another one that caused me to sit in the driveway listening after I got home.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Linda
  • 17-07-15

Good every thing.

What made the experience of listening to The Barkeep the most enjoyable?

Luke Daniels.

What does Luke Daniels bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

He can bring the characters to life. He has quite a range of voices to offer. He is my favorite narrator next to Ray Porter.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes

Any additional comments?

No

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Kathrin
  • 01-02-15

The Narrator made the Story

The book started out slow. I was pretty lost the first couple of chapters and then the story started clicking.

I thought that the plot was really good and had just enough twist and turns. The fact that every character besides the barkeep is a complete drunk was a little distracting. Sometimes the dialogs didn't feel like they push the plot forward, just made the plot linger. Also the end was a little weird and I didn't care for it that much.

Overall, this book was a nice surprise. The narrator of the Audible made the story come to life.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Als185
  • 14-01-15

Enjoyed it!

Kept my attention and I found myself looking forward to listening. Enjoyed the twists. Worth the listen. Will look for more titles by this author.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Shela
  • 11-09-15

good book . great narrator

story line had just enough quirks in it to bring out an occational chuckle but held my interest easily. narrator brought the book to life. really enjoyed it.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful