Mr. Paradise A novel

Elmore Leonard, 1925-2013

Book - 2004

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New York : Morrow 2004.
1st ed
Physical Description
291 p.
Main Author
Elmore Leonard, 1925-2013 (-)
Review by Booklist Reviews

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. ((Reviewed November 15, 2003)) Copyright 2003 Booklist Reviews

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Leonard is in fine form, returning to the Detroit homicide scene with this gem of a novel (his 38th). Even while reluctantly agreeing to help her call-girl roommate, Chloe, entertain a client, Kelly Barr knows it's a bad idea. Her instinct is proven correct when she witnesses the murder of both Chloe and the older gentleman, Tony Paradiso (alias Mr. Paradise). To top things off, she is then forced by the killers to assume her friend's identity in an effort to recover an inheritance that Paradise left for Chloe. Enter Frank Delsa, a homicide lieutenant who quickly sees through both Kelly's assumed identity and the plot to recover the bequest. Complicating matters, Delsa, almost 40 and recently widowed, and Victoria Secret's model Kelly fall for each other, making the case personal. Leonard handles both aspects of the story with aplomb: the developing relationship is kept almost as interesting as the investigation of the case. A study in cool, gritty style, this is essential for all public libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 9/15/03.]-Craig Shufelt, Lane P.L., Oxford, OH Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Pompommed Chloe and friend Kelly are cheering along with a football tape for Chloe's elderly boyfriend when two hit men arrive. Leonard's latest has a one-day laydown on January 6. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

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. (Jan.) Forecast: With major ad/promo including a six-city author tour and simultaneous large print edition and cassette/CD audiobooks, this title will settle comfortably on national bestseller lists. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

“Sharp as an ice pick….You will love this excellent book.”—New York Times Book ReviewElmore Leonard is the undisputed master, the “King Daddy of crime writers” (Seattle Times), in the august company of the all-time greats of mystery/noir/crime fiction genre: John D. MacDonald, Dashiell Hammett, James M. Cain, et al. The creator of such unforgettable classics as Stick, Out of Sight, and Get Shorty—not to mention the character of U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens, lately of TV’s hit series Justified—Leonard is in fine form with Mr. Paradise. A riveting Detroit-based thriller enlivened by Leonard’s trademark razor-sharp dialogue, Mr. Paradise follows a smart Victoria’s Secret model’s attempt to score big after surviving a double murder in a millionaire’s mansion…with a lonely cop acting as spoiler.