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Mr. Majestyk [Mass Market Paperback]

3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
THIS MORNING they were here for the melons: about sixty of them waiting patiently by the two stake trucks and the old blue-painted school bus. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.0 out of 5 stars
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3.0 out of 5 stars Well worth the 90 minutes it takes to read. April 3 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Of course this book doesn't stack up against most other Leonard novels because it is after all a novelization, and a brief one at that. However, Mr. Majestyk makes for an enjoyable read given the right circumstances and certainly makes for a lot of fun. Tuck this one in your pocket on your way to the beach or the DMV and enjoy it for what it is.
Mr. Majestyk is an interesting read considering that it dodges many of the pitfalls of your typical macho story yet still delivers the goods. First of all, it is the antagonist who wants revenge instead of the other way around. Instead of a simple revenge story (Mr. subliminal now utters "Kill Bill") where the hero/heroine kills everyone that tried to screw them over, Mr Majestyk must stand up to the powerful Frank Renda, who is of course hellbent on revenge. Secondly, Leonard makes interesting use of Majestyk's previous run-in with the law. Instead of your typical story about a guy that tries to go straight but the street life pulls him back in for one big score (um can you say After Hours? and every other novel from the 80's?), Majestyk was actually a straight guy all along. Since Majestyk has no credibility with the authorities, he must cover his own bacon.
Overall, this book is a straight-up story that should be enjoyed for it's simplicity alone. I read it in between Desperation and the Regulators, two very long Stephen King books, and it made for a nice little break. Chances are fellow readers, what you take away from Mr. Majestyk is what you started with. Just make sure to spit out the seeds.
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2.0 out of 5 stars The Tenor Clears His Throat Jan. 11 2004
By Slokes
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Elmore Leonard is the king of crime fiction. We know this because the covers of all his paperbacks say so, and it's so. Nelson DeMille, Ed McBain, Joseph Wambaugh, and others all have their points, but no one has consistently produced the level of crime fiction that Leonard has over the course of five decades now.
"Mr. Majestyk" isn't part of that legacy. It's a sturdy, muscle-minded, no-frills crime story that 100 other guys could have churned out in the 1970s, and many did. The idea of a peaceable loner coming up against dark criminal forces, only to be revealed as more formidable than any of his adversaries banked on, was old then and older now. Characterization is limited. The atmosphere is arid as a sun-baked arroyo. Most surprisingly for Leonard, the dialogue is long on brawn and short on brains. "Shut up, %**$^@#" is about the best the normally loquacious Leonard seems able, or interested, in presenting.
A good review elsewhere on this page notes the book was actually written after the movie, which became a Charles Bronson vehicle after Clint Eastwood dropped out. You can kind of smell that star positioning behind the unpromising premise of a melon farmer who runs into trouble while hiring migrant workers in the American Southwest. Dirty Harry wanted to show he wasn't all about gunning down minorities, and apparently Chuck Bronson felt the same (though this movie came out just before "Death Wish" did during the same year, 1974).
The novel doesn't shed much light in the migrant worker situation, or try to. Nor does it offer much insight into the Vietnam vet, Majestyk's previous line of work. It spends its short span setting up Majestyk's unenviable situation.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Fast Paced Melon Picking April 20 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Mr. Majestyk, an interesting name for a vietnam vet turned Melon Picker. Actually, forget Mr. Majestyk was ever in Vietnam, it isn't that critical to the story. If you knew that Mr. Majestyk was a hunter, then his hard nose attitude would still make sense.
All of that however, is an aside. Mr. Majestyk tells the story of a man that has escaped the world of Vietnam and attempts to raise a melon crop. He hires migrant workers to bring his crop in, including the love interest of the story, Nancy. And as others have put it, the job must get done.
However, where there is a job, organized is usually not far behind in Leonard's novels. Even in the American Southwest. For Mr. Majestyk, it starts with a two bit hood named Bobby Kopas that tries to muscle in his own crew to pick the product in Majestyk's fields. With a punch and a shot gun, Majestyk drives them off and starts the whole ball rolling.
After getting arrested for assaulting Kopas, Majestyk gets involved with a prison break with a Mafia Hitman named Frank Renda. The rest of the novel centers around Renda's planned revenge against Majestyk.
I just found out this morning, after having completed the novel, that Mr. Majestyk was also a movie in 1974. I'm not certain which came first - the novel or the movie. However, Leonard wrote them both. The movie stars Charles Bronson, who I can see playing Mr. Majestyk, but I think someone like Clint Eastwood, or a larger actor would have matched my image from the novel better.
Again, I digress. I guess I'm not surprised this book is also a movie. Unlike Leonard's more recent novels, Mr. Majestyk is much more action oriented than dialogue driven. That is kind of disappointing because Leonard's dialogue is the best.
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