Top critical review
Not as good as previous Leonard novels...
on August 19, 2000
Elmore Leonard, my favorite beach novelist, has put out another Chili Palmer novel (of "Get Shorty" fame). Not as either believable or as rip-roaringly funny as Get Shorty was.... Be Cool follows Chili into the music industry in California. The sequel to his famous movie (called, "Get Leo" in this book, although why, I don't know... we all know it's Get Shorty) was a bust, so he is onto searching for another story-line for another movie. As Elmore Leonard novels go, I thought this one was fairly weak... Leonard seemed out of his familiar surroundings and I miss, frankly, the bare-faced shysters, the loan sharks, the semi-mafiosos and the slick con-men of most of his other books. This novel didn't have the same wonderful surprising twists and turns... Chili's relationship with Elaine seemed forced, Linda Moon started out with some promise but Leonard is so busy trying to develop other characters (like the bizarre, huge Samoan homosexual body-guard) that we never feel we've completely 'gotten into' any of the characters. I will give Leonard a lot of credit however, for continuing to be the best at plot manipulation... how he has Chili manage the police, the Russian mafia, the record industry mafia, and just about everyone else so that he emerges with the usual clean nose, is a tribute to Leonard's abilities to think and write so complexly.