When The Women Come Out To Dance Paperback – Large Print, Nov 7 2002
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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.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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?Read more ›
Karen Sisco's back and better than ever. An arrogant FBI guy tells her the new boyfriend Carl she just got it on with has been robbing banks. She doesn't want to believe it, but when Karen finds out what's going on Carl doesn't stand a chance. George Clooney can play Carl in the movie, but this Karen is way too cool for J Lo.
A black Spanish American War veteran named Bo Catlett is getting guff from a bigoted redneck whose brother was killed in the war. I missed the connection to the character of the same name in 'Get Shorty', though there has to be one. After a few historical corrections as to how good the RoughRiders really were, it builds to a showdown where Bo points his saber at the redneck inviting him to go for his gun.
On top of all this Leonard saves the best for last with the story of Ben Webster, fourth generation of family that owns an Oklahoma ranch.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
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. Read morePublished on Nov. 17 2003 by JR Pinto
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. Read morePublished on Feb. 3 2003 by John Bowes
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... Read morePublished on Jan. 21 2003 by D. Sean Brickell
If you are a fan of Elmore Leonard's novels, you will enjoy this collection. In his novels, the essence of the characters is revealed by what they say and how they say it. Read morePublished on Jan. 1 2003
Others have already sung the praises of most of the stories in this collection. I want to correct an oversight. Read morePublished on Jan. 1 2003 by Jonathan Rickard