New York Times Notable Book of the Year
Los Angeles Times Best Book
Synopses & Reviews
Dennis Lenahan the high diver would tell people that if you put a fifty-cent piece on the floor and looked down at it, that's what the tank looked like from the top of that eighty-foot steel ladder.
Dennis is a daredevil and the girls love him. Things are going along okay with his gig at the Tishomingo Lodge &Casino in Tunica, Mississippi, "the Casino Capital of the South," until the day he looks down from the high-dive platform and witnesses a mob hit -- Dixie style. The killer looks up and says, "Let's see you dive." Suddenly, being a daredevil has lost its kick.
Turns out there was a second witness, Robert Taylor from Detroit, who carries a picture of his great-granddaddy's lynching along with a gun in a briefcase and listens to Marvin Pontiac while cruising the back roads of Mississippi in his black Jaguar. Robert works for a man from up north who has come to play General Grant in a Civil War battle reenactment, but like Dennis, Robert has a death-defying act of his own: he's sleeping with his boss's wife.
Thirty-seven miles from Tunica is the famous "crossroads" where Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil for a style of funky blues that had never been heard before. Robert Taylor is about to introduce Dennis to a "crossroads" of his own. He has a secret agenda for taking on the Cornbread Cosa Nostra and wants Dennis in on it.
To complicate matters are the women. Some are dressed in hoop skirts, and all of them have plans of their own. Vernice lures Dennis with the whitest thighs he's ever seen. Diane comes to do a story on him and wants to take him to Memphis. And still another comes along to give Dennis the surprise of his life. But it's the scams Robert Taylor plays, drawing Dennis into his game, that move the action through all kinds of unexpected twists and turns. Before he knows it, Dennis has agreed to join Robert in the battle reenactment, which leads to a showdown between the bad guys and the really bad guys.
Tishomingo Blues rings true with the bestselling author's dead-on dialogue, capturing the flavor and rhythms of the South, and finds him plotting at his unpredictable best.
"What's most impressive...is Leonard's ability to get inside a world, respecting the details yet always sensitive to the comic possibilities....Pure entertainment." Bill Ott, Booklist (Starred Review)
"[A]t least half the pleasure of reading a Leonard novel is watching the plot unfold. Most of the other half of the fun is the dialogue, which sometimes makes your ears tingle with the demotic music of it all. There's plenty of that here." Alan Cheuse, San Francisco Chronicle Book Review
"Leonard makes us consider the possibility that, even if murder is often the outcome, the slapstick bunglings of a collection of rapacious and homicidal boneheads make for fine entertainment." Marc Smirnoff, Washington Post Book World
"In Leonard's 37th novel, the characters pop off the page, the dialog sizzles, and the plot keeps the reader guessing until the very end. Highly recommended." Library Journal
Daredevil Dennis Lenahan has brought his act to the Tishomingo Lodge & Casino in Tunica, Mississippi diving off an eighty-foot ladder into nine feet of water for the amusement of gamblers, gangsters, and luscious belles. His riskiest feat, however, was witnessing a Dixie-style mob execution while atop his diving platform.
Robert Taylor saw the hit also. A blues-loving Detroit hustler touring the Southland in a black Jaguar, Taylor's got his own secret agenda re the "Cornbread Cosa Nostra," and he wants Dennis in on the game. But there's a lot more in Robert Taylor's pocket than a photo of his lynched great-grandfather. And high-diver Dennis could be about to take a long, fatal fall right into a mess of hoop skirts, Civil War play-acting...and more trouble than he ever dreamed possible.
“Leonard delivers a certifiable masterpiece of such twisted ingenuity that he transcends even his own bad self….Tishomingo Blues is that good.”
Crime fiction Grand Master Elmore Leonard heads to the Deep South for a bracing dose of Tishomingo Blues—a wild, Leonard-esque ride featuring gamblers, mobsters, murderers, high divers, and Civil War re-enactors that the New York Times Book Review calls, “Leonards best work since Get Shorty.” Sparkling with trademark “Dutch” Leonard dialogue so sharp it could cut you, Tishomingo Blues is classic mystery, mayhem, and gritty noir fun from “the coolest, hottest thriller writer in America” (Chicago Tribune).
About the Author
Elmore Leonard has written more than forty books during his highly successful writing career, including the bestsellers Road Dogs, Up in Honey's Room, The Hot Kid, Mr. Paradise, Tishomingo Blues, and the 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, Out of Sight, and Be Cool. Justified, the hit series from FX, is based on Leonard's character Raylan Givens, who appears in Riding the Rap, Pronto, the short story "Fire in the Hole," and Raylan. Leonard is the recipient of the National Book Foundation's Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, the Lifetime Achievement Award from PEN USA, and the Grand Master Award of the Mystery Writers of America. He lives in Bloomfield Village, Michigan.