Mr. Paradise Hardcover – Jan 13 2004
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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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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 Ott
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Top Customer Reviews
What a dull place this world would be without Elmore Leonard to liven things up.
In the peerless Leonard's blackly comic crime thrillers, felons argue over trifling details, police walk the walk and talk the talk, hired assassins have consciences, and no one is near as clever as they think.
It's entertainment for entertainment's sake, a three-ring circus of amorality, with the bestselling author of Out of Sight, Tishomingo Blues and almost three dozen other novels as the ultimate ringmaster.
After earning a grand master award from the Mystery Writers of America, Leonard, 78, could almost be excused for sleepwalking his way through a few efforts.
Indeed, his latest fiction, Mr. Paradise, is a leisurely stroll in the park for a man of his talents, a slight tale of murder and confusion, almost a romantic comedy rather than a gritty homicide novel. But while the plot may be minor, Leonard is by no means resting on his laurels.
Mr. Paradise is Tony Paradiso, an elderly Detroit defence attorney who satisfies his peccadillos by hiring prostitutes to perform cheerleading routines while he views old Michigan football games.
Unfortunately, the finale of one such evening leaves two dead bodies, two bewildered hit-men, a wily witness, and one frustrated detective with too much on his plate.
As with any Leonard opus, the real draw for fans and newcomers alike is his dialogue, big, crunchy riffs that read like the poetry of the jaded and dispossessed.Read more ›
As is customary in Leonard's work, "Mr. Paradise" entwines the lives of various mismatched characters, adds some hidden agendas, some dumb moves and lets the plot unfold. In this case, the formula produces something more like an episode of "Cops" with unrelated events, people who come-and-go and a wish for more answers.
More than once I could not suspend my disbelief, asking myself "why doesn't he (or she) just...?". The purpose and relationship of several characters eluded me often. And I still don't know what the "chainsaw" subplot was for.
Mr. Leonard has written many superior crime and caper novels. This time he lost his touch.
With "Mr. Paradise" Leonard returns to Detroit and environs. Anthony Paradiso (Mr. Paradise) is an 80+ retired lawyer who gets his jollies from watching reruns of old University of Michigan football games. But, what's a Wolverine game without cheerleaders?
For $5,000 a month Paradiso hires escort Chloe Robinette to provide the sis-boom-bahs as only she can. All is well until the evening Chloe invites her friend, Kelly Barr (who is equally lithe and lovely) to join the fun. Before half time two hit men have broken in and done in Paradiso and Chloe.
Kelly assumes Chloe's identity to gain access to the late lawyer's safety deposit box. Enter Frank Delsa, determined Detroit homicide detective. He falls for Kelly and she falls for him........or, would she rather have the contents of the safety deposit box?
If you know Leonard you can guess how this ends, but what a treat it is getting there!
Whodunnit? Well, Delsa first has to figure out who got it. The young hired girlfriend? Or her lookalike friend who came to the house that night and just happened to be upstairs at the time of Mr. Paradise's accelerated exit from this world.
It's a good police story. Characters drift in and out, each adding a little bit of necessary information to the story. None of them will ever win a Nobel Prize, but they kind of remind me of Daman Runyon's people; the dumb folks who think they are smart and wind up wearing orange jumpsuits or buying the Brooklyn Bridge.
The story moves nicely; the few loose ends don't rattle too much and there's a pleasant ending, at least for Frank Delsa.
It's a fun read, a good story.
Most recent customer reviews
In the world of Elmore Leonard, everyone has an angle. The more corrupt the person, the dumber the angle. Read morePublished on Dec 6 2008 by Donald Mitchell
Martin Amis has likened Elmore Leonard to Charles Dickens, but I doubt "Mr. Paradise" was the book to spawn the comparison. Read morePublished on July 2 2004 by Peter F Cook
With precision writing on the same level as McCrae's BARK OF THE DOGWOOD and a story equal to Leonard's TISHOMINGO BLUES, MR. PARADISE is one great read. Read morePublished on June 18 2004
Kelly and Chloe are roommates. Kelly is a model and Chloe is the playmate of an elderly rich man named Tony Paradiso. Mr. Read morePublished on June 4 2004 by Brenda
Ok - so this isn't Leonards best book, but an good book by Leonard is not something to miss. Everything everyone else has mentioned, the dialogue, the the feel of the Detroit... Read morePublished on May 30 2004
I have been a fan of Elmore Leonard for a very long time, his style of writing is fabulous. Unfortuately, not just any one can get away with reading them for audio books. Read morePublished on May 12 2004 by Claudia Carson
Elmore Leonard is, without a doubt, the coolest author around. I love to read his books simply because his writing style is so unique; he isn't one of these robotic authors who... Read morePublished on May 5 2004 by Dani
When you listen to Mr. Leonard's dialogue, you smell cigarette smoke, hear rap music from young 'gangstas' as they drive by, see slippery lawyers with too much old fashioned... Read morePublished on May 1 2004 by Larry Scantlebury
No, this may not be Leonard's best work, but that isn't a criticism at all. His "average" work outshines nearly any other on the market today, and his dialogue continues to be... Read morePublished on April 29 2004 by bill runyon