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When The Women Come Out To Dance: Stories [Paperback]

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

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.

From Library Journal

Never mind the official pub date; there's a one-day laydown on November 19.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

From Booklist

Leonard's bibliography in the front of this book may stretch two columns, but the quality of these short stories and novellas proves he's no forest-pulping fiction factory. Seven have been previously published, and two are new offerings. In the cleverly layered title story, a Colombian maid is hired by an unhappy plastic surgeon's wife for her presumed underworld connections; in the longer "Tenkiller," a stuntman who believes the women in his life are cursed to early graves comes home to Oklahoma to run squatters off his land--and perhaps reunite with his high-school sweetheart. With one exception ("Hanging Out at the Buena Vista," which feels like an afterthought), the stories are all firecrackers. Making an especially welcome return is "Chickasaw Charlie Hoke," about a washed-up career farm-league baseball player who has to strike out a casino boss to win a job as a "celebrity host." Leonard fans will recognize this story's setting (Tunica, Mississippi) from Tishomingo Blues [BKL D 1 01] and feisty Federal Marshal Karen Sisco in "Karen Makes Out" from Out of Sight (1996). Although certain recurring scenarios and themes are evident--friends or lovers on opposite sides of the law, and people who take the law into their own hands--Leonard explores these through highly original premises and fresh, three-dimensional characters. Especially noteworthy are the women in these tales, uniformly strong, funny, and complex. But perhaps Leonard's greatest accomplishment is in transforming a notoriously underread form--the short story--into something with mass appeal. Keir Graff
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

“If Leonard were a new kid instead of a past master, this fiction collection would make his name.” (People)

“Rummaging through Leonard’s attic via these nine stories revives some fond memories and turns up a couple of forgotten treasures.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“Elmore Leonard’s 39th book ...finds one of America’s most accomplished novelists presenting his most accomplished female characters in years.” (USA Today)

About the Author

Elmore Leonard has written more than three dozen books during his highly successful writing career, including the national bestsellers Mr. Paradise, Pagan Babies, and Get Shorty. Many of his novels have been made into movies, including Get Shorty, Out of Sight, Valdez Is Coming, and Rum Punch (as Quentin Tarantino's Jackie Brown). He has been named Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America and lives in Bloomfield Village, Michigan, with his wife.

From AudioFile

A gold-digger hires a Latina maid to off her rich, unpleasant husband. A down-and-out minor league pitcher goes for an unusual job interview. An insurance investigator probes a pot-smoking widow whose mansion has burned down under suspicious circumstances. These clever, perceptive, ironic short stories by the author of GET SHORTY and other crime classics boast stylistic verve and strong characterizations. Narrator Taye Diggs has a pleasant, calming sound that brings out the smoothness of the writing. He uses his considerable agility with accents to differentiate the dramatis personae, but otherwise leaves the prose to fend for itself. Others may find him subtle, but he is far too low-key for this reviewer's taste, playing so softly and limply as to miss all values but the punctuation. Y.R. © AudioFile 2003, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.
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