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Mr. Paradiseby Elmore Leonard
"[Leonard's] best novel since Out of Sight....Leonard has a feel for the wisecracking, no-nonsense quickness that drew lovers together in the romantic film comedies of the '30s....A reviewer who has written about more than one Leonard novel risks repeating himself because Leonard is so consistent. Maybe you've heard it before...but I'd be falling down on the job if I didn't say — once again — that Leonard has perhaps the most finely developed instinct for writing within the voices of his characters in contemporary American fiction....The plots of Leonard's books don't unfold with the breathlessness of thrillers but with a sense of inevitability that's derived from farce." Charles Taylor, Salon.com (read the entire Salon.com review)
Synopses & Reviews
Roommates Kelly and Chloe are enjoying their lives and their downtown Detroit loft just fine. Kelly is a Victoria's Secret catalog model. Chloe is an escort, until she decides to ditch her varied clientele in favor of a steady gig as girlfriend to eighty-four-year-old retired lawyer Tony Paradiso, a.k.a. Mr. Paradise.
Evenings at Mr. Paradise's house, there's always an old Michigan football game on TV. And when Chloe's around, there's a cheerleader, too, complete with pleated skirt and blue-and-gold pompoms. One night Chloe convinces Kelly to join in the fun, along with Montez Taylor, Tony's smooth-talking right-hand man.
But things go awry and before the end of the evening there will be two corpses, two angry hit men, one switch of identity, a safe-deposit box full of loot up for grabs, and, fast on the scene, detective Frank Delsa, who now has a double homicide — and a beautiful, willful witness — to add to his already heavy caseload.
With a cool cast, snappy dialogue, and all the twists and turns fans crave, Mr. Paradise is Elmore Leonard at home in Detroit and sharper than ever.
"[A] violent, hard-boiled, streetwise brand of romantic comedy....Leonard virtually invented this genre with Stick, and he's been doing it effortlessly ever since. Pure entertainment." Bill Ott, Booklist
"[A] wonderfully rich, authentically human cast....The prose, as expected from Leonard, is perfect....Brilliantly constructed, wise and tough, this book, like so many recent Leonards, offers a master class in how to write a novel." Publishers Weekly
"While reading Mr. Paradise, one is serenely happy just to be reading it. Afterward, though, one may think back a little and note a few loose ends....It is unputdownable, packed with excruciating suspense and I couldn't stop reading it." The Washington Post
"Mr. Paradise is filled with ironic quotation marks, though he doesn't put them on the page. Tone is everything....[An] excellent book." Ann Beattie, The New York Times Book Review
"I've gone on record suggesting that the next time the members of the Swedish Academy think about giving the Nobel Prize for literature to an American, they take a look at Elmore Leonard. Mr. Paradise...doesn't give me any reason to change my mind." Frank Wilson, Philadelphia Inquirer
"Not a whole lot [happens], by the standard of better recent Leonard books like Tishomingo Blues....But Mr. Leonard still sets the gold standard for crime-related patter." Janet Maslin, The New York Times Book Review
"Leonard...entangles [his story] with lowlifes who are a lot less interesting than his romantic leads. This time, in fact, the hero and heroine have a pretty easy time of it. Nice for them, anyway." Kirkus Reviews
"Leonard is in fine form...with this gem of a novel....Leonard handles both aspects of the story with aplomb: the developing relationship is kept almost as interesting as the investigation of the case. A study in cool, gritty style..." Library Journal
"Mr. Paradise is a perfect crime caper from a master, exactly that, and what more do you want?" Marta Salij, Detroit Free Press
"[A] flaccid nonmystery that seems amateurish even for a first-time author. Luckily, with 38 books preceding this one, there's enough old Leonard to go around until his next effort, which we (dare we say it?) assume will be better. (Grade: C)" Entertainment Weekly
"With a talent that makes it all look so easy, Leonard pulls the reader immediately into his world with his trademark brilliant dialogue, shady characters, sneaky plot twists and unerring faith that...most people will really mess things up." Michele Ross, Cleveland Plain Dealer
"Mr. Paradise, the 38th novel from the 78-year-old master, is his worst since...well, you have to go back a long way....Look, Leonard at his worst is better than 98 of 100 other authors at their best." Portland Oregonian
"Mr. Paradise is probably not Leonard's best work, but it's still far better than most current popular fiction. He reaches down to the gritty underside of American cities and finds humor, compassion and even love, without ever indulging in a trace of sentimentality." Houston Chronicle
"The criminals are ruthless but distressingly normal. They are often humorously careless or stupid....It's a nasty, funny story, a great way to pass a day." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
"A more than characteristically satisfying Leonard-like mix of mayhem, tart dialogue, dark humor, and trick-footed grammar." Boston Herald
In his first Detroit homicide book in more than 20 years, the New York Times bestselling author mixes football, two corpses, two angry hit men, a safe deposit box full of loot, an overworked detective, and a beautiful witness for a fabulous read.
“Sharp as an ice pick….You will love this excellent book.”
—New York Times Book Review
Elmore Leonard is the undisputed master, the “King Daddy of crime writers” (Seattle Times), in the august company of the all-time greats of mystery/noir/crime fiction genre: John D. MacDonald, Dashiell Hammett, James M. Cain, et al. The creator of such unforgettable classics as Stick, Out of Sight, and Get Shorty—not to mention the character of U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens, lately of TVs hit series Justified—Leonard is in fine form with Mr. Paradise. A riveting Detroit-based thriller enlivened by Leonards trademark razor-sharp dialogue, Mr. Paradise follows a smart Victorias Secret models attempt to score big after surviving a double murder in a millionaires mansion…with a lonely cop acting as spoiler.
In hindsight, Victoria's Secret model Kelly Barr thinks maybe it wasn't such a great idea to accompany her callgirl roommate Chloe to Tony Paradiso's house. The wealthy, eighty-four-year-old retired Motor City lawyer's idea of fun was innocent enough: watching old Michigan football games on TV while a sexy companion shakes her pom-poms and prances around topless in a U of M cheerleader's outfit. On this particular night, though, two killers decide to get into the action, leaving Chloe and "Mr. Paradise" dead in the old man's living room while Kelly is elsewhere with Tony's right-hand man. There is a bright spot, an opportunity for a very profitable score, provided that Kelly can convince the cops she's somebody else. But Homicide Detective Frank Delsa isn't stupid, even if he is lonely, good-hearted...and about to sign up for more trouble than he ever bargained for.
About the Author
Elmore Leonard has written more than three dozen books during his highly successful writing career, including the bestsellers Tishomingo Blues, Be Cool, Get Shorty, and Rum Punch, and his most recent critically acclaimed collection of short stories, When the Women Come Out to Dance. Many of his books have been made into movies, including Get Shorty and Out of Sight. He is the recipient of the Grand Master Award of the Mystery Writers of America. He lives with his wife, Christine, in Bloomfield Village, Michigan.
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