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Killshot Paperback – Mar 3 1999


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Paperback, Mar 3 1999
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Paperbacks; Reissue edition (March 3 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688166385
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688166380
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 1.8 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 227 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,078,394 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Crime fiction doesn't get any better than Leonard's new thriller, which, while it breaks no new ground, is a welcome retreat to his more direct style of classics such as 52 Pickup and Unknown Man #89 . When Carmen Colson and her ironworker husband Wayne stumble onto an extortion scheme run by Armand Degas, half Ojibway Indian, half French Canadian hit man, and his temporary partner Richie Nix, a talkative sociopath, the two killers set out to eliminate them, hiding out with Nix's girlfriend Donna, a former prison guard who collects stuffed animals and believes that Elvis is alive. In detailing the killers' relentless pursuit of the terrified couple, Leonard builds suspense with a deft, master hand, inducing an instant--and sustained--response of sweating hands and a racing heart. Even the most jaded reader will be swept along on the roller coaster of impending violence punctuated by heart-stopping crises. As always, Leonard writes with a natural ear for offbeat speech and a terrific sense of locale, moving the action from Toronto to Detroit and into Michigan and Ohio, telling the story almost totally through the thoughts and dialogue of the characters. In the Colsons, Leonard presents a more mature and realistic portrayal of a relationship than he has in the past, and he stirs up an uncomfortable fondness for the cruel but mellowing hit man Degas, all the while drawing the reader deeply into these ordinary lives. A bravura performance. Literary Guild dual main selection.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

In this fine adaptation of Leonard's best-selling novel, Wayne and Carmen Colson's quiet life shatters following their involvement in a failed extortion scheme. To escape from hit man Arman "Blackbird" Degas and his sidekick Richie Nix, the Colsons enter the Federal Witness Protection Program. They soon find out the program contains as many predators as does the underworld. As with all of Leonard's (Cuba Libre, Audio Reviews, LJ 6/15/98) works, it is his character development and dialog that propel the simple plot toward its chilling conclusion. Bruce Boxleitner's reading adds a special effect to the story, and the adaptation captures all the power of the original novel. Highly recommended for all collections containing Leonard's past works.?Stephen L. Hupp, Urbana Univ. Lib, OH
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 11 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Elmore Leonard strikes again with Killshot. Killshot, one of Leonard's best books, greatly emphasizes Leonard's outstanding writing talent. The story is of a hitman named Armand Degas, aka Blackbird. Armand has a chance encounter with an ex-con named Richie Nix, when Nix hijacks Armand's car. The two become partners, although Armand is clearly the leader. While on a job in Michigan, the duo encounters Wayne Colson and his wife Carmen, witnesses to the crime. Armand and Richie need to eliminate these witnesses.
The chase that follows is one of the most suspensful and exciting sequences of events that I have ever read in any book, ending in an awe-inspiring climax that will leave you with sweaty palms and a pounding heart. Leonard capitalizes on his outstanding characterization in Killshot, making it seem like you have known Armand Degas since you were in second grade. Leonard does a superb job of painting the picture of a criminal's life, making Killshot a hard book to put down.
Killshot is one of the most well written books that I have ever read, one of Leonard's best (not an easy thing to be!) This book proves that Elmore Leonard is indeed the undisputed king of crime writing.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
The theme of this book is one that Elmore Leonard uses often, and nearly always to great effect - a romantic couple is swept innocently into the world of crime and has to discover heretofore-unknown resources to save themselves.
The reason this works so well for Leonard is that it lets him write to two of his great strengths. First, of course, is the world of criminals and cops. His criminals are always incredibly well drawn and always very distinct and three-dimensional. I have never read it anywhere, but I would guess that Quentin Tarantino must have been a big Leonard fan in his developmental years. His screen killers bear the hallmarks of Leonard characters; i.e. impassioned conversations about everyday things (like the two hit men in Pulp Fiction discussing McDonald's Big Macs) while dwelling in the sub-culture of crime and violence.
The second and less-commented-on strength Leonard has is the ability to portray the tugs and pulls of a male/female relationship with such effortless accuracy. In the interplay of the novel's husband and wife team, the subtle, aggravating, thrilling differences between man and woman are expertly rendered with a few classic, Leonard strokes. Also, Leonard is also the master at local color and authentic detail. His research and detail always has the feel of easy, unforced truth.
But let's face it; crime is what makes Leonard tick - the deal, the scam - and the men and women licking their chops over money and guns. It is certainly all here in this book. Here, it's an extortion scheme combining the efforts of an aging, nearly burned out hit man (Armand Degas) and a clever, hyperactive sociopath (Richie Nix). As always, Leonard develops his characters with subtle, concise power.
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Format: Paperback
From 'Split Images' to 'Get Shorty', a run encompassing about ten books, Elmore Leonard could do no wrong -- every one of these titles is compelling. 'Killshot' ranks as the best (perhaps tying with 'Split Images') book of this period. The plotting is clever in that it is put at the service of the characters -- action unfolds from character, rather than being imposed on it. And the prose, especially the dialogue, is pitch-perfect. (Compare Leonard's dialogue with that of James Ellroy, and see why Leonard is still regarded as the master.) What makes Leonard's books so enjoyable, however, is the amount of arcane information he's able to put into his story without ever making it feel crammed. He's written about graphology, Mississippi rivermen, high-steel construction, and Elvis Presley conspiracies (all 'Killshot'); leprosy and embalming ('Bandits'); St Francis of Assisi ('Touch' and 'Bandits'); the overthrow of Trujillo in the Dominican Republic ('Split Images', 'Cat Chaser'); photography and the Secret Service ('LaBrava'); casino operations ('Glitz'); hippie politics ('Freaky Deaky'); and countless other subjects. His facility for making these things interesting almost defies belief. Surrender yourself to 'Killshot', especially the redoubtable Carmen Colson, and find your plams getting sweaty, your mouth dry, and your heart racing. You'll laugh a lot, too.
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Format: Paperback
"Killshot" is a fast-paced, edgy and action-filled novel with strong emphasis on character, which is what one expects from Elmore Leonard. Leonard effectively paints telling portraits complete with physical details, emotions and mannerisms, and he never short-changes on plot or suspense. This book hums along. The killers are reprehensible, but Leonard makes them human, with their own particular vulnerabilities. Richie Nix is a sociopath seeing people only as objects to be used or eliminated. The Bird is somewhat more empathetic, but a cold, bloodless professional killer nonetheless. Carmen and Wayne Colson are a married couple who get caught up in a shakedown scam by mistake, and they end up having the two killers on their trail. Leonard does an outstanding job with minor characters as well giving them pivotal roles, especially Donna, the woman who becomes a lover to both killers, and the egotistical deputy sheriff. While the reader might find him or herself rooting more against the evilness of Richie or Bird, rather than for any compelling traits in the Colson's, there is more than enough tension inherent in "Killshot" to make this a very good read.
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