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Tishomingo Blues [Paperback]

Elmore Leonard
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Book Description

6 Feb 2003
Dennis Lenehan is a class act. A high diver, turned pro in 79, who's fetched up at the Tishomingo Lodge & Casino near the Mighty Mississippi, diving from an eighty-foot-high platform into a tank with just nine feet of water. All to entertain the guests. Except that Dennis just loves his job. Too bad then that his pleasure is spoiled when one day he witnesses a killing from his position high up in the sky. Pretty soon Dennis is deep in trouble as some cool dudes from up north attempt to muscle in on the local Dixie Mafia - moonshiners, bootleggers, truck-hijackers and amphetamine manufacturers - and decide that Dennis has just what it takes to run a racket.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; paperback / softback edition (6 Feb 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141009861
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141009865
  • Product Dimensions: 19.4 x 12.8 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,530,119 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Elmore Leonard was born in New Orleans on 11 October 1925. He wrote forty-five books during his phenomenal career, including the bestsellers Mr Paradise, Tishomingo Blues, Be Cool and The Hot Kid. Many have been made into successful movies, including Get Shorty with John Travolta, Out of Sight with George Clooney and Rum Punch, which became Tarantino's Jackie Brown. He is the recipient of the Cartier Diamond Dagger Award and the PEN USA Lifetime Achievement Award. He died on 20 August 2013 in Detroit.

Product Description


By now just about everyone knows that a visit to Leonard country is at least going to be a trip. With cool dudes. And whipcrack dialogue. And angles, lots of angles. Tishimongo Blues, aficionados will be relieved to hear, is all that and more. When professional high diver Dennis Lenahan arrives at the Tishomingo Lodge and Casino, in Tunica, Miss., and sets up his 80-foot ladder and nine-foot deep pool, almost the first thing he sees is Floyd Showers getting taken out. Five bullets, neat, but noisy. Next he meets Robert Taylor, a blues-loving operator just down from Detroit, and Dennis starts to get sucked into a whole other lawless world of gangsters, girls and Civil War re-enactments. As weird a slice of Americana as you could wish for. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

Vintage Elmore Leonard - a searing tale of gambling, gangsters, hidden agendas and a whole heap of trouble from the virtuoso of American crime fiction. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Leonard's best to date 20 Nov 2003
Let me qualify this firstly by saying I've read a fair bit of Elmore, I started with Bandits, moved through Freaky Deaky and Get Shorty, to Cuba Libra, Out of Sight, Glitz, Be Cool and Riding the Rap. Tishomingo is easily the best of the lot for me. A great central character, Dennis, with an interesting back story as a high diver, is paired up with a shady out of towner called Robert and helps him take over the business interests of the Southern Mafia. As you would expect, the dialogue and characterization are typically excellent; well drawn heroes and villains and their molls spitting out barbed language that sounds so fresh and real it's hard to believe Elmore hasn't been out on the streets with these actual people and recorded it.
Naturally the plot contains as many satisfying twists as ever, but what really made this one stand out for me above all the rest of Elmore's work was the sheer joy he seems to have taken in writing it. He clearly loves talking about old blues and civil war re-enactments from the way he goes into such detail about them, which makes it much more interesting for the reader. The locations are lush and vividly depicted, the action tense, and the conclusion hugely satisfying. If you're a fan already, get this. If you're a newcomer to Elmore, this will convert you. I hear it's going to be filmed as well, pray Soderbergh or Sonnenfeld gets it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ***** CLASS ***** 15 Jun 2007
Elmore Leonard writes character driven stories where the good and bad guys are not always obvious, because they are human. He also doesn't spoon feed to you the plot or insult your intelligence with a need to explain every move or motive, unlike the likes of Dan Brown, John Grisham etc.

This is the first Elmore Leonard novel I ever read and at first I found the book a little hard to get into because it isn't immediately obvious what it is about but that is also much of it's charm. It is a narrative built plot, with the characters building the story bit by bit. I loved not knowing where it was going. I found this book highly original and I loved the humour and loved the characters. It kept me interested all the way through as i feverishly turned page after page after page. Highly recommended!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great story 23 May 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Tishomingo Blues has you routing for the bad guys - not the really bad guys, the good (ish) bad guys. It's a great story, well told and very filmic in style. Brief details added to the way someone talks or does something gives a very clear visual image. There are rather too many characters to keep track of all of them, but the important ones are well differentiated and the others are just supporting cast.
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5.0 out of 5 stars "At his best, RIP" 21 Oct 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
realy enjoyed this, read a few of his books now, but this elmore at his best, he will be sorely missed
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4.0 out of 5 stars Civil War Reenactment in the South 10 Jun 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A very different book about drug barons and the gangsters. The reference to jazz was interesting. The high diving entertainment was a diversion. I feel this book is more relevant to Americans than to Europeans.
It gives an in-sight into what life is like is the small southern towns. The Civil War is difficult to follow unless one knows the generals involved in the skirmish/battle that is re-enacted.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Leonard loses his way 8 Nov 2007
By T. Burkard VINE VOICE
Despite a slow start, this book builds up to a pacey finish, and as usual, Leonard's dialogue and his feel for his characters is spot on. It's a damn good read, but it leaves a nasty taste. The main character is Robert Taylor, a black gangsta who grew up on the streets of Detroit selling drugs, went to Oakland University, and went back to become a drug baron. The plot is implausible: why would a man who controlled the drugs trade in major American cities give a damn about taking over a rural county in Mississippi? But leave that aside--such is the pace of Leonard's fiction that little problems like that hardly count.

Ostensibly, the main character is Dennis Lenahan, an exhibition diver. He is just a foil for Robert Taylor, whose wit and verve are supposed to win the reader's admiration, if not sympathy. But Taylor isn't just a drug dealer--he has a monstrous ego which can only be satisfied by manipulating fools and cretins. The climax of the book--where he gets his enemies to kill each other--is an old Elmore Leonard set piece. But in this case, it is particularly nasty because Taylor is just doing it because he can do it.

Past Elmore Leonard works have been distinctly realistic and, in a way, moral. His villians are always believable, and most of them are cretinous thugs whose stupidity is their downfall. His heroes may be flawed, but they always had an essential decency to them. This started changing with 'Get Shorty'-- Chili Palmer was a loan shark, and not altogether nice. But we could live with that, because he was so clever (unlike most of Leonard's previous heroes). My guess is that Leonard has lost his bearings because of the immense popularity of Chili Palmer, and his success in Hollywood.
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