Mr. Paradise

Mr. Paradise

Book - 2004
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"Sharp as an ice pick....You will love this excellent book."
--New York Times Book Review

Elmore 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.

Publisher: New York : Morrow, 2004.
ISBN: 9780060083953
0060083956
Characteristics: 291 p. ;,24 cm.

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j
jimg2000
Aug 30, 2017

“Isn’t he a barber?” “He has time to think about things.”
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Lloyd looks like a cross between Uncle Ben on the rice box and Redd Foxx.
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FRANK DELSA, THIRTY-EIGHT, acting lieutenant of Squad Seven, Homicide Section, Detroit Police Department, had been living by himself in this house on the far east side since his wife’s death…
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He had always a quiet tone of voice, answered your questions. It gave Jerome the feeling you could talk to him. Jerome believed he was Italian, dark eyes that were kinda sad, dark hair that looked like he combed with his fingers.
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Wendell had been wearing those soft Kangols as long as he’d been here, longer than Samuel L. Jackson had been wearing his backwards.

j
jimg2000
Aug 30, 2017

What’s a man thinking, he shoots another man thirteen times?” Delsa said, “What’re any of them thinking.”
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The man didn’t say another word. Went over to his big double-size easy chair full of pillows and sat down in front of his old TV console, like a piece of furniture in the living room.
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“He still got the bug up his ass.” “You’re the one put it there,” Lloyd said.
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“We had eight in the squad, five black, three white. Three of the eight women, but now we’re down, shorthanded.”
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A printed sheet with a fancy border of flowers, taped to the side of the cabinet—you had to get close to read—said: TOO OFTEN WE LOSE SIGHT OF LIFE’S SIMPLE PLEASURES. REMEMBER, WHEN SOMEONE ANNOYS YOU IT TAKES 42 MUSCLES IN YOUR FACE TO FROWN. BUT IT ONLY TAKES 4 MUSCLES TO EXTEND YOUR ARM AND BITCH-SLAP THE MOTHERFxCKER UPSIDE THE HEAD.
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“I thought this was a no-smoking building.” Delsa said, “Only if you get caught.”

j
jimg2000
Aug 30, 2017

Mr. Taylor could put on the dog and be accepted as a colorful character—no pun intended.
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“The advantage of the swing, Frank, you don’t get a backache, or rug burns when you have to do it on the floor.”
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“He sound educated?” “Take off the pinstripe suit,” Cleary said, “he hangs on a corner…”
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“Why’s some guy stick up a Seven-Eleven and whack the clerk? Answer that, it’s the same thing.”

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“I don’t know as that kind of girl has a family. I mean one she keeps in touch with. You know what I’m saying? Like she calls up and talks to her mama, tells her she’s turning tricks?...”
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“You’re crazy if you think I’ll help you.” “Uh-unh, I’m desperate, so I know you will.”
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“The man’s not out anything he isn’t already out. Understand?...”
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Frank, that girl’s no more in shock than I am. She’s stoned.

j
jimg2000
Aug 30, 2017

“She has on a pair of bikinis I couldn’t of got into when I was ten years old.
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“I’ve been meaning to ask you, Frank, if you watch any of the crime scene shows, like CSI. All this time I thought we worked for you. No, I see Homicide works for the techs.”
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You know why he quit the Bomb Squad? His girlfriend was afraid he’d get his hands blown off he’s taking some device apart, and she’d have to tend to him he goes to the toilet.
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…a client came to Avern complaining about drive-bys fucking up his business. “Man, nobody wants to walk in a crack house all shot up.”
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‘Jesus Christ, can’t you drink without getting smashed every time?’ She goes, ‘What would be the point?’ “

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“How well did you know her?” “Me? I kept checking Dad’s will,” Tony said, “waiting for her name to show up on a codicil. That’s how well I knew her.”
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My dad says he drinks because he misses her, but you know he’s been drinking all his life.

j
jimg2000
Aug 30, 2017

…he said the Stroh Brewery headquarters was right here. He said Stroh’s used to be the most popular beer in town but he never cared for it much. “You want history?” Kelly said. “The building I’m in used to be Parke-Davis, where aspirin was first made. I could use a couple right now.”
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She had to remind herself Frank Delsa was a homicide detective and quit thinking about his cool dark eyes and the quiet way he spoke.
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‘I learn something today. You can fit a Glock Forty up a guy’s nose.’
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Maureen not the most patient woman, high on energy, worked out with weights while Delsa watched television.

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Tony was a lawyer, so you had to accept the fact he was opinionated and full of shit. Delsa had never thought of him as a prick, though he probably was if you got to know him.

j
jimg2000
Aug 30, 2017

‘That man’s so tightened up I doubt we could pound a peanut up his ass with a jackhammer.’
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He told Maureen, swear to God, he had never cheated on her, not even thought about it in the nine years. She said, “ ’Cause you know I’d shoot her, the cxxt, whoever she is.”
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It’s okay if she’s a little smarter than you are. It didn’t hurt our marriage. If she’s a brain she wouldn’t marry a cop anyway.
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But even if he knew the odds were against him, he’d have to do it. It’s his nature to hustle.
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“He knows everything so you can’t tell him nothing.”
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Jay Leno was asking another nitwit who America fought in the American Revolution to gain our independence. The nitwit this time said, “Other Americans?” and laughed. He said, “Was it the South? The South Americans?”
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“I was only sixty, you’d of smelled my lust before we’s through the dining room.” Jackie said, “Takes a little longer now?”

j
jimg2000
Aug 30, 2017

“… you a hostile witness or you want to help us out here?” “Do I look hostile to you? I’m watching what happens,” Lloyd said, “like I’m at the movies.”
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It was amazing what criminals talked about and then were surprised when they got busted.
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He imagined Carl’s daddy had come up from Tennessee or someplace with all the ofays to work in a car factory and make a living.
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They’ll start with suits and dresses, get the audience sitting up, and then swing into activewear, ski and après-ski this year. They’ll show little black dresses for the cocktail look, and finish big with evening wear, opulent dresses.

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“…He says yeah, the Caucus Club is right there at the Congress Street entrance, where Barbra Streisand performed when she was eighteen, just starting out and sang ‘Happy Days Are Here Again’ but not upbeat, real slow, like she’s being ironic, and you know what Jerome says to Avern?” “ ‘Who’s Barbra Streisand?’…”

j
jimg2000
Aug 30, 2017

In less than eight more years he could retire on half pay. He’d be forty-five. Then what? Corporate security. He had taken prelaw at Wayne, kept putting off going to law school and now he didn’t care much for lawyers. What he knew was how to investigate a homicide, how to peel open a case and find out who was who, the ones lying to him and the ones telling him things he could use, until finally meeting the suspect and knowing he had him by the nuts, this arrogant guy who could not believe you’d ever take him down, and you present the evidence and watch his face, watch his fxck-you expression fade looking at twenty-five to life or life without parole. There was nothing like that moment.
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‘Those two go around like they’re wearing signs.’
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This deal was now way out of hand; he wasn’t shooting anybody ‘less they got paid.
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“You gonna live here?” “Gonna sell it and move to Puerto Rico, where you know what the weather’s gonna be every day you get out of bed.”

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j
jimg2000
Aug 30, 2017

Addicted to Elmore's stories as this is his 16th novel I read. One of three Elmore Detroit novels, along with “Unknown Man #89” and “Pagan Babies” optioned by Justified executive producers for TV series:

http://www.comingsoon.net/tv/news/883539-justified-producers-option-elmore-leonard-detroit-novels-for-series#PDduKOJcgEyKHETS.99

Like his other works, off-colored characters, some cops, dames and thugs crossed path in a crime or two that ended explosively with poetic justice.

b
bradleyhewittk
Jul 02, 2015

My latest Elmore Leonard read is the excellent 2004 novel Mr. Paradise. I found this one a little harder to get into initially. There are a lot of characters and moving parts to keep track of. I kept wondering how everything would connect, but, sure enough, everything comes together very nicely - well, not so nicely for some - in the end. I couldn't put it down once I got to the last 150 pages or so.

The story starts out with this old ex-lawyer named Tony Paradiso, aka "Mr. Paradise." Mr. Paradise is not a very nice guy. He likes to spend his remaining years drinking vodka and watching old University of Michigan football games with his Chloe, a lady-of-the-evening who he has employed to be his girlfriend in exchange for the tidy sum of $5000 a week. His other past-time is being a jerk to the people who work for him, which starts to get to his personal assistant Montez, who ends up putting a hit on Mr. Paradise.

Montez knows the old man intends to leave something for Chloe when he passes away. He also knows that whatever he has left can be retrieved from a safe deposit box by Chloe, and only Chloe. Unfortunately, Chloe ends up in the crossfire on the night of Mr. Paradise's, and passes away along with the old man.

This leaves Montez in a pickle. How can he get his hands on whatever Mr. Paradise left to Chloe now? Perhaps, he thinks, Chloe's friend Kelly, who looks remarkably similar to Chloe, can pose as her dead friend long enough to get her hands on the supposed fortune that Mr. Paradise has left for Chloe.

Overall, I would say that this wasn't my absolute favorite Elmore Leonard novel, but I'm of the opinion that even an average Elmore Leonard novel is better than many authors' best works. There's certainly more than enough excitement, suspense, and top-notch dialogue here to be worth your while.

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