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.
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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 OttCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved