The Upper Hand by Johnny Shaw

The Upper Hand

From Johnny Shaw, the Anthony Award–winning author of Big Maria, comes a wild tale about the wonderful things that bring a family together—larceny, deception, and revenge.Fifteen years ago, Axel, Gretchen, and Kurt Ucker lost their father. At the same time, they learned that he had secretly been a thief their whole lives—and left a fortune unaccounted for. Since then, the Uckers have lived a precarious existence. Their small town shunned an...

Details The Upper Hand

TitleThe Upper Hand
Release DateJul 3rd, 2018
PublisherThomas & Mercer
GenreMystery, Crime

Reviews The Upper Hand

  • Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
    3.5 starsI love Johnny Shaw's writing. If you haven't read him you need too. Yes, I'm bossy about it. Go read one of his Jimmy Veeder Fiasco's. They are the best! This one is still really good but I think that Bobby Maves from the Veeder books is my boyfriend. I judge accordingly. Axel, Gretchen, and Kurt Ucker lost their father at a young age. The whole town has made the family live under a cloud of suspicion because daddy turned out to be a thi...
  • Kemper
    I received a free copy for review from the author.Having a group of thieves and con men as your extended family sounds kind of cool, but you’d better keep your hand on your wallet at the reunions.The three Ucker kids have drifted apart since their father died and was shown to be a thief. Axel has a good job at a bank, but his hobby is drawing up elaborate plans for robberies that he never pulls. Gretchen makes her living by stealing valuable co...
  • Dan Schwent
    When their mother dies and leaves everything to a televangelist, Axel, Kurt, and Gretchen Ucker are left out in the cold. A long lost aunt, Mother Ucker, shows up and introduces them to their long dead father's family, a family of con artists and thieves. The Uckers soon set their sights on Reverend Floom, the man their mother left everything to...Even though I'm getting to the point where I refuse almost every ARC, I got this from Netgalley afte...
  • James Thane
    Johnny Shaw is a very, very funny guy, as anyone who has read his Jimmy Veeder "Fiascos" can attest. He was also the creator of the magazine Blood & Tacos, the first volume of which includes what remains one of the most hilarious short stories of all time, featuring Chingon, "The World's Deadliest Mexican."Shaw's new book, The Upper Hand, features the Uckers, a dysfunctional family the likes of which you have never met. Two brothers and a sister-...
  • Dave
    Shaw’s the Upper Hand 🤚 is a hilarious offbeat journey into the world of con artists, confidence men, bunco artists, and televangelists. It explores family dynamics as three mismatched siblings ( the Uckers) who are thieves and dweebs in a lost town at the edge of the California desert join together to pull a con on a long lost uncle who stole their inheritance right under their noses. Punk bands, real estate swindles, touring preachers, liv...
  • Tim
    I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley to read and review.THE UPPER HAND by Johnny Shaw is his 6th full length novel, of which 3 are in the much-loved “Jimmy Veeder Fiasco” series (definitely among my favorites), and the excellent novel “Big Maria”.Axel Ucker is the brother of Gretchen and Kurt, a family with a difficult past after the death of their father years before due to his involvement in the commission...
  • Randy
    What a rip-snorting rollercoaster ride of a story! One family's legacy of con-men and women full of quirky characters and just the right amount of humor to go along with the twists and turns of an edge of your seat thriller. Nobody can trust the Ucker family....not even the Uckers! Great book!
  • Kevin Beck
    An interesting story though I didn't enjoy it nearly as much as either "Big Maria" or the "Jimmy Veeder" books. This story reminded me more of "Floodgate" with a darker theme and way less humor than the books I liked. "Big Maria" might be the funniest book I have ever read.
  • Laura
    This is a fun read and a realistic view into the world of a gritty bottom feeding crime family. I loved this book for its realism and how the author crafted such amazing realistic charcters throughout the story. The author has a talent for writing crime drama and this is one of the best I have read. This is the story of a journey into the world of con artists, confidence men, scam artists, and even televangelists. It delves into family dynamics a...
  • Alex Carbo
    My god is Johnny Shaw a hell of a storyteller.Think Ocean's Eleven meets Matchstick men. Only with dumber people.A conmen/women comedy where the forthright repartee of the 3 main characters (The Uckers Brothers and sister) is only matched by their tunnel vision in a world where everyone wants to con them out of something.I went through the whole novel in one sitting, which doesn't happen often given my slow reading habits and lack of time, but to...
  • Susan
    Axel was conned and dumped. Gretchen is a low level thief. And Kurt is the proverbial slacker son who still lives at home and is part of a Viking metal band. Add to this a deceased father who ruined the family's name in the community and a mother who leaves everything to a televangelist. Doesn't sound like the start of the humorous and campy book that this is, but it is! The three siblings decide they need to get back what they feel was stolen wi...
  • Sarah Tregear
    Never read anything by Johnny Shaw before but I will now. Some great lines in this which although is a crime book it is ultimately about family. The Uckers are disfunctional family. Axel has just split up with a girlfriend and is left with a house he can’t afford. Gretchen is a thief (she’s the only one following the family career) and Kurt is in a Viking metal band. Their mother dies and leaves everything to a tv evangelist and they are welc...
  • Norma
    As much as I was happy to win this book from Goodreads, I couldnt get into it. Im sure its a good read but not in my interest category perhaps. The main character had too many issues going on ,that it dragged getting to the other characters lives.I gave up on the third chapter. I beleive its a mystery with a good storyline , and that may have held my intrest because Im not into a mystery unless its a romanc enovel.
  • Meg
    The main characters in the book have a last name of "Ucker", and that is just the start of the hijinks that ensue. With its crazy and twisted storyline, this book would brighten even the dreariest day. I snickered so loudly that my family wondered what I was doing. I highly recommend this book. I received my copy as part of the Goodreads Giveaway program.
  • Darcey Tomasino
    Please, please, please let this be a seriesI LOVE Johnny Shaw's books. His sense of humor is gold, if you don't have a stick up your a**. I laughed out loud at least two dozen times while reading this. Gold.
  • Bob Troy
    Makes me laugh, like REALLY laughThe writing, dialog, description and plot is great. I don't know what I found funnier, the dialog back and forth between characters, the descriptions or the scenarios they found themselves in but this book gave me belly laughs.
  • Kathleen Gray
    A crazy family of criminals. There's a lot going on in this fast read about the Ucker family and their effort to regain the fortune their father stole and their mother gave away. It's a fast, sometimes silly, read that might make a good movie. Thanks to net galley for the ARC.
  • Jack Keener
    An awesome read!I am a fan of Mr. Shaw's work! His characters and story lines are absolutely engrossing! Do yourselves a favor and check out his books. You will not be disappointed.
  • Doreen Ashbrook
    I found this book to be decadently funny. Hard to imagine a family who's business is thievery and crime, but it was rather entrancing. Interesting (if weird) characters, and an unusual plot. Fun!
  • Karen Smith
    Loved this book. The writing was tight with characters who were diverse and personable—even the ones you loved to hate! The story is well paced and witty. I’ll be reading more Johnny Shaw!
  • Leslie
    I love Johnny Shaw storiesI love his characters...flawed, quirky, weird, lovable. I love his dialogues. I love his ingenious plots. I have loved every book I have read by him.
  • Tom Hailand
    Great bookMy only complaint is that it was/is too short! I'm sure the Uckers will return for a whole new shananagins
  • Renee
    Three stooges crime capers. Funnyish