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Gun Monkeys [Paperback]

Victor Gischler
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

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Book Description

December 2001
Charlie Swift is an old school kind of guy. Runs a tight ship. Respects his boss. Takes care of his mom and kid brother. And, he's a stone cold killer. When a fancy new-wave hood, hungry for the primo Orlando territory Charlie enforces, offs most of Charlie's boys in a bloody mob takeover, our man steps in to make things right. But when word gets out that his boss has gone missing and there's a traitor among his crew of gun monkeys, Charlie knows payback ain't gonna be easy. Shot up, boozed up, and beaten up, Charlie finds the toughest challenge he's ever had to face isn't snuffing out life, but preserving it.

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Product Description

From Library Journal

Unusual protagonists, a bantering tone, and dark humor characterize this hard-boiled mystery by first novelist Gischler. Narrator Charlie "the Hook" Swift is primary enforcer/hit man for crime boss Stan, but a crew from Miami tries to "squeeze" them out of business. When Stan's targets at a strip club turn out to have been policemen, things begin to go haywire: the rivals move in, killing Stan's guys, and Charlie winds up with a sought-after set of crooked ledgers. Violent action and murder continue, with money laundering, an understanding mom, and the FBI thrown in for good measure. For collections of noir crime fiction.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From the Publisher

2001 Edgar Award Nominee for "Best First Novel by an American Author"

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars a refreshingly new voice in noir crime fiction March 9 2004
By Larry
Format:Mass Market Paperback
It seems like every year one of the Edgar committees rescues from obscurity a previously unknown undiscovered work. Many times these works are true gems in the rough uncut state. The nominations tend to bring some prominence to authors most of whom would probably never have been heard from again. For example KJA Wishnia and Margaret Moseley. GUN MONKEYS is that kind of book and Victor Gischler is that kind of author.
Charlie Swift is a thug. He is a hit man for an Orlando gangster named Stan. When the leader of a rival gang wants to move into the territory, he calls for a hit on all of Stan's gang. The result is virtually all of Charlie's friends are killed in the attack. Stan, however, is missing and being the loyal soldier, Charlie devotes his energy into finding Stan and discovering what is going on. The path to the truth will be strewn with the blood of dead bodies.
Victor Gischler is a refreshingly new voice in noir crime fiction. Characters are tough, dialogue is gritty and the violence routine. Most important, he is a helluva good storyteller and his first effort never fails to entertain. The book is not perfect, however. There are several times the story proceeds in an endless fashion and it is quite evident the author didn't know where his characters were taking him. I would think that an editor from a large publisher would have identified and corrected that problem. Nonetheless, Victor Gischler has written an impressive book and one well worthy of Edgar recognition.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Tough as shoe leather with powder burns Sept. 17 2003
Format:Paperback
This guy Vic Gischler knows how to write prose that makes you keep reading, even when his main character's a professional killer. Let's say instead, especially when he's a professional killer. Charlie Swift is loyal to his boss, Stan, his mother, and his younger brother Danny and, as well, to his taxidermist girlfriend Marcie who also happens to be the widow of a guy Charlie had to put on ice.
Seems like Charlie's boss goes missing. Seems like other guys in Charlie's crew are getting wasted, as in permanently. Seems like another guy, Beggar Johnson, wants to take over Stan's turf. Charlie manages to miss getting wiped out himself and goes after the guys who killed his compadre Bob. He's got friends--Lou the New Guy and Jimmy the Fix principally. And he's got his wits. Which are pretty sharp judging by the story here.
OK, here's some sacrilege. Gischler claims to have read a lot of John McDonald and been heavily influenced by him, but for my money, he writes better than McDonald who in my opinion a lot of the time is hard to get through--clunky prose that's dated now. But VG's writing is smooth as silk and tough as shoe leather with powder burns.
Nice job.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Gruesome great read July 16 2002
Format:Paperback
Charlie Swift is one of old Stan's gun monkeys. He is killer, protector, enforcer for Stan, the head of the Orlando crime syndicate. When Miami crime boss, Beggar Johnson, decides that Stan has grown too old to milk Orlando crime for all its worth, a territorial battle begins. When Stan disappears and the rest of the gun monkeys are killed off or turned to the dark[er] side, Swift has to go it alone to fend off Beggar's goons, renegade FBI agents and others. The body count mounts chapter by chapter, and as ruthless a killer as Swift is, the reader begins to root for him due to his loyalty to his boss, family and new girl friend, as well as his sheer skill as a "detective" and vengeful killer.
This is indeed a noir novel of the first ilk. It's a fast, exciting, easy read and holds the reader's interest until the inevitable showdown between Swift and Mercury (his counterpart as Beggar Johnson's head gun monkey).
If you are squeamish about descriptions of bloody violence or about raw language, stay away from this one. Otherwise, it's a really entertaining romp of a pulp novel.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Another Great Pulp Novel from Uglytown Press May 19 2002
Format:Paperback
You just can't get good help these days, even when the job is something simple like whacking a midlevel hood named Rollo Kramer. Given his druthers, chief gun monkey Charlie Swift would never have picked the inept Blade Sanchez to accompany him on the job. But Charlie's boss Stan told Charlie to take Blade along as a favor to Miami crimeboss Beggar Johnson, and since
Charlie owes Stan for "every nickel hidden in [Charlie's] safe deposit box", Charlie doesn't see that he has much of a choice.
So begins "Gun Monkeys", Victor Gischler's instant noir classic from Uglytown Press. Charlie's day starts off bad and gets steadily worse as someone decides to make a move on the aging Stan's territory, a business decision that involves whacking most of Charlie's crew. The only bright spot
in the day is Charlie's budding relationship with Rollo's widow Marcie. The widow Kramer is a tough, foxy redhead with an eye for Charlie and a talent for taxidermy. The latter trait has the fortunate effect of making her less squeamish around dead bodies, which is a good thing, considering.
Charlie's attempts to find out what happened to Stan, even the score, and incidentally take care of his Mom and his kid brother, make for a great read. If you're a fan of the dark humor of "The Sopranos" or the tough talk of Richard Stark's "Parker" books, you'll love "Gun Monkeys."
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars WHAT A BOOK
Gun Monkeys is an action packed book about a hit man by the name of Charlie Swift. Charlie is to get ledger books that can bring a mob boss down, but everyone on his side starts... Read more
Published on April 1 2004 by richie
2.0 out of 5 stars Good, but illogical thriller
I agree with the reviewer below. This is an OK thriller, but the illogical actions of the "hero" ruin any realism. Read more
Published on Feb. 24 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Gischler is my new hero
One of the most impressive debuts I've ever read, Gun Monkeys is a return to the two-fisted days of Mickey Spillaine and Richard Stark, with an important twist-it's funny as... Read more
Published on Feb. 23 2004 by J. A. KONRATH
3.0 out of 5 stars Could have been terrific
This is a darn good read--a page turner from first to last. I like the premise and the writing so much I hope the author will correct the flaw in his next book. Read more
Published on Dec 31 2003 by mrarchiegoodwin
4.0 out of 5 stars Great First Novel
Gun Monkeys is a great first novel. I picked it up, intrigued by the name, and I didn't put it down till I'd read it from cover to cover. Read more
Published on Nov. 26 2003 by Gun Chimp
4.0 out of 5 stars Are we supposed to like this guy
It's hard not to. A professional killer works his way onto our good side, while being not so good himself. Enjoy.
Published on Aug. 4 2003 by John Bowes
5.0 out of 5 stars Gun Monkey Speaking
Gischler hasn't written detective fiction here, but criminal fiction. This is the kind of book neo-noir fans like, with its muscular prose, language of the day, and unadulterated... Read more
Published on Jan. 21 2003 by Doris Lane
4.0 out of 5 stars Wow111
If Victor can continue to churn out novels like GUN MONKEYS he will earn the title of "The new Elmore Leonard".
Published on Nov. 29 2002 by Kent Westmoreland
5.0 out of 5 stars exactly what you want from a crime novel
The first sentence of "Gun Monkeys" is a perfect distillation of everything I'm always looking for in a crime novel: grisly, curt and most of all laugh-out-loud funny,... Read more
Published on July 23 2002 by robert phillips
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Read
A very nice blend of Richard Stark, Elmore Leonard and Carl Hiaasen ... hopefully we'll be hearing more from Mr. Gischler.
Published on June 20 2002 by C. G. Howie
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