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Publisher's Summary

In this collection of new and recently published short fiction, Elmore Leonard demonstrates the superb characterizations, dead-on dialogue, vivid atmosphere, and driving plotting that have made him a household name. And once more this master of crime illustrates that the line between the law and the lawbreakers is not as firm as we might think. Federal marshal Karen Sisco, from the best-selling novel Out of Sight, returns in "Karen Makes Out," once again inadvertently mixing pleasure with business. In "Fire in the Hole," Raylan Givens, last seen in Riding the Rap and Pronto, meets up with an old friend, but they're now on different sides of the law. In the title story, "When the Women Come Out to Dance," Mrs. Mahmood gets more than she bargains for when she conspires with her maid to end her unhappy marriage. In all nine stories, each unique in their own right, reluctant heroes and laid-back lowlifes struggle for power, survival, and their fifteen minutes of fame. Vivid, hilarious, and unfailingly human, these stories ring true with Elmore Leonard's signature deadpan social observations and diabolical eye for the foibles of the good guys and the bad.
©2002 Elmore Leonard, Inc.; (P)2002 HarperCollinsPublishers, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

"The razor-edged dialogue and brisk storytelling won't disappoint." (Publishers Weekly)
"These clever, perceptive, ironic short stories by the author of Get Shorty and other crime classics boast stylistic verve and strong characterizations. Narrator Taye Diggs has a pleasant, calming sound that brings out the smoothness of the writing." (AudioFile)
"Especially noteworthy are the women in these tales, uniformly strong, funny, and complex. But perhaps Leonard's greatest accomplishment is in transforming a notoriously underread form, the short story, into something with mass appeal." (Booklist)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By John Mertus on 01-21-04

Typical Elmore

Once again, Elmore's wonderful prose makes you feel the places and the people with a stunning reality. Alas, third person descriptive style, although great for novels, is not best for short stories.

The stories are uneven: the best ones, such as Karen Makes Out, are great reads, but the bad ones, such as Ten Killer, just never reaches any level of excitement. I felt the Villains were too weak and the good guy lacking in motivation and style.

If you normally enjoy Elmore's realism, you should enjoy these stories

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7 of 9 people found this review helpful


By A+A on 01-06-05

Leonard's leftovers

Elmore Leonard's tough, cool heroes and dialogue don't compensate for how one-dimensional his characters are, or how his plots limp to unsatisfying conclusions. Because his showdowns are always between brave, smart heroes and stupid, feckless villains, all suspense is drained from the stories.

This collection feels tired and recycled, as though Leonard was trying to create a meal out of three-day-old leftovers. He drags in characters from his novels, but doesn't give them anything fresh to do.

In two of the longer stories, the hero comes back to his home town, reconnects with the formerly-married woman whom he longed for but never slept with in high school, and winds up in the woman's kitchen facing down the leader of a group of moronic, white-trash criminals. Sure, one villain is eating fried chicken, and the other just wants a cup of coffee, but that difference hardly makes the plots distinct.

In two other stories a woman commits a crime and is then blackmailed by a person who knows about it. Yep, that's supposed to be the clever denouement.

For far more inventive plots, try "Twisted," Jeffrey Deaver's fun collection of crime/suspense stories. Deaver really knows how to surprise you.

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4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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