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When The Women Come Out To Dance [Large Print] [Paperback]

Elmore Leonard
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Nov. 7 2002

In his more than three dozen books, Elmore Leonard has captured the imagination of millions of readers as few writers can. A literary icon praised by The New York Times Book Review as "the greatest crime writer of our time, perhaps ever," he has influenced many contemporary writers and is known for both the quality and the accessibility of his writing.

In this collection of new and recently published short fiction, Leonard demonstrates the superb characterizations, dead-on dialogue, vivid atmosphere, and driving plotting that have made him a household name. And once more this master of crime illustrates that the line between the law and the lawbreakers is not as firm as we might think.

Federal marshal Karen Sisco, from the bestselling novel Out of Sight, returns in "Karen Makes Out," once again inadvertently mixing pleasure with business. In "Fire in the Hole," Raylan Givens, last seen in Riding the Rap and Pronto, meets up with an old friend, but they're now on different sides of the law. In the title story, "When the Women Come Out to Dance," Mrs. Mahmood gets more than she bargains for when she conspires with her maid to end her unhappy marriage. In all nine stories -- each unique in their own right -- reluctant heroes and laid-back lowlifes struggle for power, survival, and their fifteen minutes of fame.

Vivid, hilarious, and unfailingly human, these stories ring true with Elmore Leonard's signature deadpan social observations and diabolical eye for the foibles of the good guys and the bad.


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From Amazon

What a treat! The nine stories in this collection--some never before published, others available only in anthologies or magazines-- demonstrate why Elmore Leonard has achieved both bestsellerdom and critical acclaim. Ranging in length from a four-page trifle to two novellas of 50-plus pages, these are gems of sly humor, suspense, and, above all, character. Most are in the contemporary crime-fiction vein that made Leonard famous, but a few are more contemplative set pieces, and there's one fine Old West story (Leonard was a Western writer before he became a crime king).

Longtime fans will recognize some familiar faces, including the U.S. marshals Raylan Givens, from 1993's Pronto and 1995's Riding the Rap, and Karen Sisco, from 1996's Out of Sight (played by J. Lo in the movie). But whether familiar or new, the people in these stories lunge off the page and seize you by the lapels. Nobody writes character and dialogue like Leonard. In fact, several tales feature some rural white-trash bad guys who are so utterly plausible that you'll look over your shoulder next time you drive a country road.

The short story format suits Leonard's stripped-down style beautifully. While one or two of the slimmer pieces feel a bit disposable, all nine are engaging, and the best are breathtakingly good--the crispest, best- plotted stuff Leonard has published in years. --Nicholas H. Allison --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Elmore Leonard's latest, When the Women Come Out to Dance, is a collection of short sketches that feature strong female characters in trouble. "Sparks" describes a flirtation between an insurance investigator and a widow who has apparently burned down her own mansion in the Hollywood hills. The riveting title piece involves a rich Pakistani surgeon's wife, a former stripper who's terrified that her playboy husband will have her killed once he gets bored with her. Hoping to knock him off first, she hires as a maid a Colombian woman rumored to have murdered her own abusive husband. "Fire in the Hole" finds two former co-workers pitted against one another in a deadly showdown: Boyd Crowder is a Bible-quoting neo-Nazi with a penchant for terrorist acts, and Raylan Givens is the U.S. marshal sent to shut him down. Leonard fans may wish for something meatier, but the razor-edged dialogue and brisk storytelling won't disappoint.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
They sat close to each other on the sofa, Canavan aware of Mrs. Harris' scent and her dark hair, parted to one side, she would hold away from her face to look at the map spread open on the coffee table. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Quality Entertainment Feb. 23 2004
Format:Paperback
I should qualify this review with the warning that this is my first experience reading Elmore Leonard. I cannot tell fans of his other 39 books and assorted screenplays how this compares with his general body of work. I can tell you how it stands on its own.
This is an interesting, varied collection of nine short stories. While all share a world where alcohol is a constant undercurrent and the characters have all seen better days, they are quite distinct from one another. There is a has-been baseball player working against himself for a chance at a decent job, two cancer patients connecting in a Florida retirement community, a former stripper trying to "lose" an abusive husband, an African American veteran of the Civil and Spanish American Wars facing racism, a cattle rustler trying to help a woman he finds abandoned on a remote outpost, a lawman returning to his hometown to rout someone he had known in his youth who is now leading a neo Nazi militia, and a Hollywood stuntman returning to his Oklahoma roots to reclaim the family ranch from thugs and exorcise the family curse at the same time. There is a Karen Sisco episode, too, featuring the US marshall character currently the subject of a television series.
Some of the stories read like sketches or treatments for screenplays. The Sisco story stands on its own, though it could easily have been a subplot from a novel or the television show. I thought the western stories were the most fully realized. All of the fictions turn on whether the good guy gets what he/she wants. The storytelling is of the cinematic variety, hinging on action riddled with reversals. Leonard uses words economically and every single one is well chosen, strong, vivid. In an era when typos and editing slips mar too many books, this edition (hardcover at least) is free of them and is also assembled with an attractive lay-out design.
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4.0 out of 5 stars World's Finest Nov. 17 2003
Format:Hardcover
Reading this book is a little like being in the Marvel Universe. Here we find characters from other Leonard novels. Karen Sisco from Out of Sight and the TV show is here. We find a preamble to Tishomingo Blues. Carl Webster, whom Leonard fans may recognize, is here as well.
I go back to Leonard whenever I wish to be reminded how to craft a good story. For anyone unfamiliar with Leonard's work, this is a good introduction. We get a good display of his range here. There is a western story, a story set in a retirement home, and oh yes, stories about criminals. Nobody writes stupid characters better than Elmore Leonard. These stories are funny, brutal, and quite enjoyable.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Candyman Feb. 3 2003
Format:Hardcover
Imagine nine pieces of the best candy you've ever eaten. You try to take your time, but find you eat them much too quickly. They are gone too soon. You wish there were more. And marvel at the skill of the candymaker.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Less Is More Jan. 21 2003
Format:Hardcover
Will somebody please let me know when a better writer than Elmore comes along? The short story is a difficult vehicle to create and resolve a mystery, yet the form proves no impediment for Mr. Leonard. In fact, next to some of his novels, I'd say less is more. The snappy dialogue, the characters'charisma, the heightened situations are all notable stylistic trademarks of Mr. Leonard. He does not let the reader down. I only wish there were another dozen stories to calm my greed for more.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Better waltz right past this dance! Jan. 12 2003
Format:Hardcover
Elmore Leonard has been called "the greatest crime writer of our time, perhaps ever" and "a contemporary Dashiell Hammett." The author of more than three dozen books, including Tishomingo Blues, Pronto, Riding the Rap, Out of Sight, Rum Punch, and Get Shorty, Leonard is a Grand Master Award winner of the Mystery Writers of America. He lives in Bloomfield Hills, Mich.,. a suburb of Detroit.
When the Women Come Out to Dance, Leonard's second collection of short stories (the first was The Tonto Woman & Other Western Stories), features nine cut-to-the-chase adventures populated by one-dimensional characters.
The British philosopher Bertrand Russell, in a reductionist mood, suggested that only one thing is necessary for a person to be happy: "How can you fail to enjoy life so long as the glands are in good working order? That is the only secret."

The characters in When the Women Come Out to Dance should be quite happy, for they are obsessed with glands (instant sex on demand) and guns (whether six-shooters or shotguns). Reeking with sex and violence, the stories deal with hot-blooded characters eager to "make love" and "make war."
Two of the best stories are also the longest: "Fire in the Hole" (56 pages) describes a cell of racist skinheads in Harlan County, Kentucky, and "Tenkiller" (60 pages) describes a family of white-trash squatters In Okmulgee, Oklahoma. The remaining seven tales average 16 pages each.
Here's a sample paragraph from "Fire in the Hole": "Gator teeth, spiked hair dyed blond and a tattoo on his chest, part of it showing the way his shirt hung open. He stood there looking Raylan over before saying, 'Who in the hell are you, the undertaker?
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