'Sharp as an ice pick . . . You will love this excellent book' New York Times 'Mr. Paradise is a perfect crime caper from a master . . . what more do you want?' Detroit Free Press Tony Paradiso - aka Mr Paradise - gets his kicks from watching old football games on TV accompanied by live entertainment: sexy cheerleaders shaking their pom-poms and doing rah-rah routines for his viewing pleasure. But for Chloe Robinette, playing dress-up doesn't end so well when she's caught in the crossfire of a contract hit. There are ...
'Sharp as an ice pick . . . You will love this excellent book' New York Times 'Mr. Paradise is a perfect crime caper from a master . . . what more do you want?' Detroit Free Press Tony Paradiso - aka Mr Paradise - gets his kicks from watching old football games on TV accompanied by live entertainment: sexy cheerleaders shaking their pom-poms and doing rah-rah routines for his viewing pleasure. But for Chloe Robinette, playing dress-up doesn't end so well when she's caught in the crossfire of a contract hit. There are witnesses to the murders - Paradiso's right-hand man, Montez Taylor, and Chloe's roommate Kelly - but neither is giving too much away. Because Montez and Kelly have a score in mind, a big payoff from Mr Paradise's estate - if only Kelly can convince the cops she's someone else... 'Glittering black comedy, a razor-sharp cast of crooks and con men. Very funny, exceedingly tough . . . told in a dialogue sharp enough to draw blood' Literary Review
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Elmore Leonard (1925 -- 1913) returned to Detroit with his 2004 novel, "Mr. Paradise", his first set in the Motor City in over 20 years. Dedicated to the Detroit Police Homicide Section, the novel is a tribute to the fortitude of the police in their daily performance of their dangerous, thankless task.
"Mr. Paradise" is a heavily plotted novel full of murder, drugs, betrayals, sex, and greed. The book also is full of a wealth of characters, most of them slimy but some of them, particularly the police, good guys indeed.
The book gives a feel of the work of a homicide section in a large violent city with several difficult murders occupying a small police unit at any given moment. The book revolves around the murder of the title character, an 84-year old retired lawyer Tony Paradiso who goes by the name of the title of the book. Mr Paradise and his paid lady friend, a $900 an hour hooker, are gunned down in his home one evening. For the reader the book is not who-done-it, as the crime is described in detail. Instead the reader follows the police and the characters as the violent story unravels.
There are two sexy women involved in the story, the hooker who meets her demise with Mr Paradise and her friend, Kelly, a fashion model, who escapes. Other important characters include Paradise's two African American servants, the killers, a crooked lawyer who works both sides of the law, and the homicide unit. The story of the good guys focuses on detective Frank Delsa, 38, who has lost his wife, also on the police force, to cancer. Delsa is the silent, methodical type of hero who keeps his head.
The killing of Paradise and his paramour is almost enough for one book. Leonard clutters his story by combining it with many other murders, some of them highly gruesome. The story can be hard to follow until the reader figures what Leonard is about. The work of the police and the patient activities of Delsa are the focus of the book in Mr. Paradise's killing and in the other crimes in the book which involve some thoroughly unattractive individuals.
With so much crassness in human nature on display, there is also a sense of vulnerability and the need for love as Delsa is attracted to the woman who survives the Paradise killing. He must deal with his duty as an office in handling the witness, and possible accomplice, and his growing feelings and loneliness following his wife's death.
The story is told with sharp observations of the streets and sounds of Detroit. The descriptions of bars, streets, characters are particularized and immediate. Leonard's way with dialogue has become famous and is on display in this novel. With all the mayhem and brutal behavior, the story has humor and a lightness of touch.
The opening chapters of the book jump around and are difficult to follow. The story becomes more focused and tied together as it proceeds. I found it helpful to return to the opening sections after completing the book.
This is a gritty novel about a gritty city. It has a focus on the law and on the tough heroism of the police. The book will appeal to Elmore Leonard's many admirers.
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