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Mr. Paradise [Hardcover]

Elmore Leonard
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Jan. 13 2004 Leonard, Elmore

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.

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Product Details

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Fifteen years after his last Detroit novel, Killshot, Leonard (whose most recent effort was Tishomingo Blues) returns to Motor City for another exemplary crime thriller. Chloe Robinette, an escort, is on a $5,000 monthly retainer from wealthy, retired octogenarian lawyer Anthony Paradiso; her duties include dancing topless in a cheerleader's outfit for him as he watches videos of old University of Michigan football games. On a night she persuades her roommate, Kelly Barr, a Victoria's Secret model, to join her in the dancing, Chloe and Paradiso, aka Mr. Paradise, are shot dead in Paradiso's mansion by two middle-aged white thugs. The hit has been set up by Paradiso's right-hand man, Montez Taylor, who's angry at Paradiso for cutting him out of his will; Montez then asks the shocked Kelly to impersonate Chloe in order to scam valuables from Paradiso's safe deposit box, to which Chloe had a key. Enter Frank Delsa, a Detroit homicide cop, who smells a rat and falls for Kelly while sorting matters out. She falls for him, too, but will the hit men and/or Montez take her out, since she can identify them as conspirators? Like the best crime thrillers-which means like most of Leonard's work-this novel is character-driven, and in its wonderfully rich, authentically human cast the story finds its surprises. The prose, as expected from Leonard, is perfect-in 304 pages, there's not a word that doesn't belong exactly where he's placed it. Brilliantly constructed, wise and tough, this book, like so many recent Leonards, offers a master class in how to write a novel.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

It's time for Elmore Leonard to be outted. He is not a noir writer and hasn't been one since his early Detroit novels (City Primeval). What he does write is a violent, hard-boiled, streetwise brand of romantic comedy, usually starring a hero and heroine who, through an unfailing ability to think on their feet, find their way out of an outlandish mess. Happily-ever-aftering, unimaginable in real noir, remains a tempting if hard-won possibility in Leonard's world. So it is in this tale of a Detroit cop who falls for a sort-of suspect in the double murder of a high-class hooker and an elderly millionaire who likes to watch tapes of University of Michigan football games while a couple of twentysomething beauties, clad in cheerleader outfits, perform cheers with dirty lyrics. Harmless enough, until the game is interrupted by two slow-witted hitmen who kill the millionaire and one of the cheerleaders and--in a quintessential Leonard moment--steal a bottle of vodka. It's left for Detroit cop Frank Delsa to solve the murder and fall in love with cheerleader number two, who can't quite decide if she's committed to the cop or to getting her hands on whatever might be inside the millionaire's safety-deposit box. There's the matter of the loose-cannon hitmen, too, but Frank and his cheerleader think very well on their feet, and if they can just catch a break, might be in line for a little happily-ever-aftering of their own. Leonard virtually invented this genre with Stick (1983), and he's been doing it effortlessly ever since. Pure entertainment. Bill Ott
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
LATE AFTERNOON CHLOE AND KELLY WERE having cocktails at the Rattlesnake Club, the two seated on the far side of the dining room by themselves: Chloe talking, Kelly listening, Chloe trying to get Kelly to help her entertain Anthony Paradiso, an eighty-four-year-old guy who was paying her five thousand a week to be his girlfriend. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
In the world of Elmore Leonard, everyone has an angle. The more corrupt the person, the dumber the angle. The role of the police is usually to simply pick up the pieces after the baddies do themselves in.

The best Elmore Leonard books put you at the heart of these schemes and leave you shaking your head about how anyone could be so dumb.

In Mr. Paradise, the viewpoint angle shifts slightly . . . and not for the better. The heroine of the story is lingerie model (Victoria's Secret) Kelly Barr. Kelly is as close to being an innocent as you get in Leonard's world.

Kelly is drawn into the action because the woman she rooms with, Chloe, is the $5,000 a week "girl friend" for eighty-four year-old lawyer, Tony Paradiso, who likes to be called Mr. Paradise. Tony likes to have topless cheerleaders in U Michigan outfits doing dirty chants and dances while the Wolverines win on videotape. Chloe persuades Kelly to come along with the easy money, and Kelly's life will never be the same.

Before the night is over there are two dead bodies and Kelly's life expectancy has never looked worse. How will she respond?

This book could have been called "Seduction of the Somewhat Innocent" and that would have captured its theme better. Kelly is not only put in harm's way . . . she also has her very soul tempted.

The good news for Kelly is that Detective Frank Delsa would like to take her home to meet Mama, and he helps her deal with temptation.

The premise for this story would have been terrific if it had been a short story . . . or if the book had centered on one of the villains (such as attorney Avern Cohn). But as it is put together, it's a boy-meets-girl, boy-falls-for-girl story against the backdrop of criminal cretins. That wouldn't be my first choice for reading material. I plan to check out the Elmore Leonard crime plots a little more carefully in the future before I invest the time to read his latest.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Mr. Paradise� is a Reader�s Purgatory July 2 2004
Martin Amis has likened Elmore Leonard to Charles Dickens, but I doubt "Mr. Paradise" was the book to spawn the comparison. Leonard's writing can range from hilarious to just-plain cool, but in his latest novel he seems content to alternate between boring and forced. Leonard's prose is snappy as always, but it's like a high school kid who knows how to mix a good martini-you can't help but admire the facility, but something seems to be missing.... What's mostly missing in "Mr. Paradise" is a plot.
In fact, the plot is so stripped down that I can hardly even gloss it here, for fear of spoiling it-suffice it to say there are two very desirable, shallow, and available young woman, an identity switch, a murder, and a hard-boiled, widowed, sensitive-on-the-inside-cop...wait, wait. I may have already said too much.
Leonard's characterizations (which, at times in the past, have been cuttingly sharp) are deader on the page here than the book's corpus delicti (one of the aforementioned women whose identity is switched, said switching being, as a plot maneuver, incredibly facile, but as a make-the-reader-confused maneuver it works wonders-the two women are entirely indistinguishable in character and affect (actually, this stays pretty much the same even after one of them is dead). Maybe Leonard is making a trenchant critique of the interchangeability spawned by our consumer culture, but somehow I doubt it. If so, how come the reeking-of-authorial-avatar cop falls so hard for one? (No you dirty birds, not the dead one! (although, come to think of it, that would have gone a long way toward jazzing up the plot).
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4.0 out of 5 stars DETROIT ROUGH June 4 2004
By Brenda
Format:Audio Cassette
Kelly and Chloe are roommates. Kelly is a model and Chloe is the playmate of an elderly rich man named Tony Paradiso. Mr. Paradise, as she calls him, talks with a cruel mouth but promises to take care of Chloe with an insurance policy. His son hates Chloe and would fight for anything left to her in the Will.
Mr. Paradise likes to see Chole play cheerleader. One night, Chloe brings Kelly along. Unfortunately, for the ladies, Mr. Paradise gets generous with their company and splits them up. When two hit men arrive, expecting to find an old man having a quiet night, only to discover a cheerleader entertaining him with her pom-poms, they are not happy. The hit takes place, but isn't seen for what it was suppose to be - a home invasion. And this, folks, is just the beginning.
Leading the police investigation is Detective Frank Delsa. He's suspicious about the crime scene. He has a female witness acting odd, a fast-talking bodyguard and he is attracted to the beautiful witness.
Believe it or not, I've avoided Elmore Leonard's work. Being a skeptic of over-praised authors, I've dodged it for a long time, but it was the TV show Karen Sisco that changed my mind about listening to this audio book.
Mr. Paradise is the first Detroit mystery for me, and I can tell you it's not for sissies. It's rated R with plenty of cringing points. Forget walking and talking tough, these characters "breathe" tough, including the women. The dialogue is short and sweet and the storyline moves quickly. Very entertaining. It's worth a second listen. Remember to use the headphones.
Actor Robert Foster is the reader. He also plays Marshall Sisco on the TV show Karen Sisco. Foster is a smooth reader, and does a good job of delivering exactly what Leonard's characters are, Detroit rough.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Precision and more
With precision writing on the same level as McCrae's BARK OF THE DOGWOOD and a story equal to Leonard's TISHOMINGO BLUES, MR. PARADISE is one great read. Read more
Published on June 18 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Book - Great Narration
Ok - so this isn't Leonards best book, but an good book by Leonard is not something to miss. Everything everyone else has mentioned, the dialogue, the the feel of the Detroit... Read more
Published on May 30 2004
4.0 out of 5 stars Who is the reader?
I have been a fan of Elmore Leonard for a very long time, his style of writing is fabulous. Unfortuately, not just any one can get away with reading them for audio books. Read more
Published on May 12 2004 by Claudia Carson
4.0 out of 5 stars Cool book by one cool author
Elmore Leonard is, without a doubt, the coolest author around. I love to read his books simply because his writing style is so unique; he isn't one of these robotic authors who... Read more
Published on May 5 2004 by Dani
4.0 out of 5 stars Still takes you where you want to go . . .no further
When you listen to Mr. Leonard's dialogue, you smell cigarette smoke, hear rap music from young 'gangstas' as they drive by, see slippery lawyers with too much old fashioned... Read more
Published on May 1 2004 by Larry Scantlebury
4.0 out of 5 stars Still Solid
No, this may not be Leonard's best work, but that isn't a criticism at all. His "average" work outshines nearly any other on the market today, and his dialogue continues to be... Read more
Published on April 29 2004 by bill runyon
2.0 out of 5 stars No "Dutch" Treat
Elmore Leonard has written masterpieces in both the western and crime genres. Sadly, "Mr. Paradise" isn't one of them. Yes, he is peerless when it comes to dialogue. Read more
Published on April 22 2004 by MacTonite
Academy Award nominee Robert Forster is just the man to deliver the snappy phrasing and cool dialogue that has won Elmore Leonard legions of fans. Read more
Published on April 14 2004 by Gail Cooke
Academy Award nominee Robert Forster is just the man to deliver the snappy phrasing and cool dialogue that has won Elmore Leonard legions of fans. Read more
Published on April 14 2004 by Gail Cooke
3.0 out of 5 stars Needs to Climb out of this...
I've been a huge fan of Leonard for years, even going so far as to read his Western novels and short stories (which are excellent). Read more
Published on April 12 2004 by Bill Sanders
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