Maximum Bob Mass Market Paperback – Jul 11 2002
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From Publishers Weekly
While Leonard's latest is darker than his usual fare, it is his pace, humor and ear are as suspenseful, dry and true as ever. This Literary Guild selection spent nine weeks on PW 's hardcover bestseller list.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Kirkus Reviews
Leonard returns to the Florida coastline for his weakest novel since Touch (1987)--a bumpily humorous but unfocused seriofarce about a probation officer and the eccentric judge she gets entangled with. As one of Leonard's very few heroines in 29 novels, spunky Kathy Baker of the Florida Dept. of Corrections blows a whiff of fresh air into the Leonard canon--as does the outspoken, aging hanging-judge Bob Gibbs--but not enough to put the spring into a slack plot that begins when skirt-chasing Gibbs takes a fancy to Kathy as she shows up in his courtroom with probation-violator Dale Crowe Junior. Gibbs throws the book at Dale, then asks former psychology-major Kathy out on a date under the guise of her talking to his wife, a former showgirl who seems to be possessed by the spirit of a 12-year-old 18th-century slave girl. Before Kathy can visit Gibbs, however, a hugh alligator appears on his property and sends his wife scurrying for northern climes. And that's just fine by Gibbs, who turns out to have imported the gator to get rid of his loony wife. But when Gibbs double-deals Dickey Campau, who brought the gator, Campau drives out to the judge's home and shoots up the house. Which is just as well, because the shots scare off Elvin Crowe, Dale's mean and flaky uncle, who's been hired by another of the judge's irate courtroom-victims, a crack-addicted M.D., to kill the judge. Caught up in the investigation into the gator-attack and shooting, Kathy matches up professionally and romantically with cool cop Gary Hammond--until a jarring note of raw violence takes out Gary and sets Kathy up for an anticlimactic confrontation with Elvin and the M.D. Nicely realized characters, the usual smart Leonard dialogue, a few moments of brisk high/low humor--but the meandering plot lacks drive, Gibbs rolls around like a loose wheel, and the whole affair seems more like a pale Carl Hiaasen imitation than true-blue Leonard: It's all a big disappointment after Leonard's crackling last, Get Shorty (1990). -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
The alligator, Dickey Campeau, Leanne, Earlene, Dr. Tommy, Wesley and Hector all add to the United Nations mish-mash of dysfunction, crime, love and humor.
The dialogue, always a Leonard strong suit, gets better and better. Unfortunately, the plot seems unfocused. It takes a long time to get up a head of steam. We keep floundering around the set-up. What's Elvin going to do? What's Gary going to do? Is Leanne coming home? Is there a second alligator? But then it speeds up and we are led to believe that now, finally, the thrilling climax . . . . only to discover that it slows down . . .to speed up. Tedious. And a lot of unanswered issues and characters.
That's why they give awards to film editing. There was none here.
Good for the charcters and the dialogue; poor for the story and the finale. Larry Scantlebury
These characters, and a copious serving of lowlifes, combine with Leonard's trademark dialogue to make for a colorful story. However, the plot just kind of meanders towards a conclusion and the prodigious final body count seems to reflect the author's desire to end the tale rather than any necessary mechanics of the plot.
Television, which is almost totally character and dialogue driven, and where lack of a coherent plot is to be expected, was an ideal medium for this collection of oddballs. Alas, the show disappeared quickly and though several folks in this intermittently amusing novel are memorable, it doesn't rank among Elmore Leonard's best efforts.
GRADE : B-
But, none of those qualities are excluded in any of Leonards novels.
So what is the matter? You come to expect all those things going into reading Elmore Leonard's books. Either because he has been recommended to you, or you have been a life long fan so you know what to expect. But, this book is still not the best of his bunch.
Why? For one, it simply is not memorable.
Sure, the judge is a memorable character and a year from now, if I try to explain this book to someone, Judge Gibbs will be the central memory. Of course the book is named after him, so he should stand-out in this book. Yet, all the other characters lack a certain spark that Leonard is known for. Any of the other supporting characters could wind up in his other books. It's almost like he is recycling old character ideas from previous books. Perhaps ones that never fit into another story, but he liked them so much he blended them all into this book.
Elmore Leonard is pure guilty pleasure. His books translate well into this era because of his ear for speech, his heart-racing pace and his understanding of the low-life in today's Jerry Springer/COPS society. It's no wonder than dozens of screen writers have emulated him in the past 20 years. Its not hard to see Leonard's influence in any of today's action/crime movies.
You may enjoy "Maximum Bob," as I did, but it won't be the Leonard novel that you will savor and re-read at a later date. 3 stars because it's still enjoyable, but not memorable.
Most recent customer reviews
I picked up MAXIMUM BOB, as I always enjoy E.L. I can get into his books in one short sitting, and I'm most often captivated by his characters, with their very human... Read morePublished on Sept. 1 2003
Judge Bob Gibbs, otherwise known as Maximum Bob, usually sentences anyone for to long. Now he may pay. Read morePublished on Oct. 29 2002 by Mac Blair
I read this book because I knew Leonard was a master of pacing and I wanted a refresher course. I wasn't expecting the tapestry of characters, the elegant choreography of the... Read morePublished on June 7 2001 by Jenny Crusie Smith
This was a departure from what I normally read, and I liked it in spite of myself. The characters and plotting were completely off the wall, and even when I didn't like how... Read morePublished on July 26 2000 by Christina P. Branson
This may be a lacklustre effort from Leonard, but lacklustre from him is damn good for anyone else. It might be the surreal elements in this one, which don't play out quite so... Read morePublished on June 8 2000 by David Baldwin
This is the first Leonard book that I have read, and it did not do much for me. I was expecting something along the lines of Hall or Hiaasen, but this did not come close. Read morePublished on Oct. 7 1999 by Frank (firstname.lastname@example.org)
After watching the TV series on ABC, I expected MAXIMUM BOB to be a very funny and very off beat dark comedy. Read morePublished on June 10 1999
Why does everyone think this guy is so good. Please tell me this is his worst book. Maybe my expectations were real high but the story wasn't all that great and the thing this... Read morePublished on May 16 1999 by Christopher B. Prentiss