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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unstoppable Elmore
For the first 80 pages or so, I wondered if the octogenarian Leonard could still get it up - like his alter-ego hero, Xavier does in this wonderful thriller. Unlike the usual streamlined books he has always produced, the opening chapters leaped back and forth in time. 'Jesus', I murmured - 'this is not working for me.' Then everything clicked and the thriller did what his...
Published on 22 Nov 2011 by The Outsider

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not Elmore's best
Have read virtually all of Elmore Leonard's novels over the years but this one just didn't grip me. The usual colourful characters and snappy dialogue are there but the plot is very one dimentional with no real surprises.
Elmore's novels are often slim on plot and rich in characterisation but this one just didn't do it for me i'm afraid. Enjoyed his previous two...
Published on 22 Oct 2011 by J. D. Naylor


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Oh How the mighty have fallen, 24 Nov 2011
This review is from: Djibouti (Paperback)
I have been a fan of Elmore leonard for several years and read ALL his books. However, I am really disappointed in his last 2 Roads Dogs and Djibouti. Whilst thet retain some of his clipped dialogue and characterisation its all very clique'd and turgid. He seems to be writing a screenplay rather than a novel as we follow the action through the playback of a video camera. I know the old boy is 89 or something now and am afraid to say he seems to have lost that indefinable "thing" that made his books so great, unput downable and fun. Maybe its just me getting older? but I find it all rather nauseating and a pastiche of his previous work.Oh well it was good while it lasted. sorry elmore but maybe you should rest and enjoy your old age in quiet.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not Elmore's best, 22 Oct 2011
By 
J. D. Naylor "jazzfan" (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Djibouti (Paperback)
Have read virtually all of Elmore Leonard's novels over the years but this one just didn't grip me. The usual colourful characters and snappy dialogue are there but the plot is very one dimentional with no real surprises.
Elmore's novels are often slim on plot and rich in characterisation but this one just didn't do it for me i'm afraid. Enjoyed his previous two novels,which, despite being in his eighties were still excellent efforts from the great man.
One miss out of many,many hits in a long and distinguished career.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dull stuff, 7 Mar 2012
This review is from: Djibouti (Paperback)
I adore EL's work but this was a dud and a half. Many glorious settings - all very colourful and lush but two-dimensional all the same. I found the villain, hero and heroine equally forgettable. Wasn't too keen on the previous couple of books, either, for similar reasons.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A hard act to follow, 29 Nov 2012
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This review is from: Djibouti (Paperback)
Have read at least half of his books. Found this novel lacking the flow and ease of EL's usual writing and struggled more than ever with the slang in the dialogues. The opening chapters are OK. The objective is to shoot a documentary about Somali pirates. One learns about the prime movers, white Dara (36) and black Xavier (72), her fixer and cameraman, both from New Orleans. Dara is famous: three docs, three major prizes. This one has to become a hit too.
Chapter 5 marks a turning point, when >3 weeks later they are back in a luxury hotel in Djibouti and argue about the 12 hours of material they shot. Some 60-80 confusing, tedious, jarring pages follow full of flashbacks and flash forwards about how to turn what they have into a doc. This part truly discourages further reading. But persistent readers are treated to a mongrel of a book full of strengths and weaknesses about (1) an al-Qaida plot to explode a huge LNG-tanker in a Louisiana port, or in Djibouti itself; (2) a well-connected Texas billionaire testing his model girlfriend, following the tanker in their yacht; (3) Afro-American al-Qaida warrior James Russell, a.k.a. Jama Raisuli, cornered in Somalia and Djibouti. Etc., etc., because EL is a master of subplots.

What kept me alert and reading was what was brewing between Dara and slim, old, 6/6 tall Xavier, who staked his fee + expenses on the outcome of a bet with Dara about his virility... The novel improves beyond the halfway point, but loses credibility with EL creating a Somali named Kwame (a purely Ghanaian first name) and a Djibouti Chief of Police who starts talking slang like Xavier. For real fans only.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unstoppable Elmore, 22 Nov 2011
This review is from: Djibouti (Paperback)
For the first 80 pages or so, I wondered if the octogenarian Leonard could still get it up - like his alter-ego hero, Xavier does in this wonderful thriller. Unlike the usual streamlined books he has always produced, the opening chapters leaped back and forth in time. 'Jesus', I murmured - 'this is not working for me.' Then everything clicked and the thriller did what his thrillers always do. It was funny, unexpected, complex, simple, had fabulous characters and kept you reading like your hands are glued to the book.

Post Get Shorty, everything Leonard writes seems like a movie. He loves playing with 'Hollywood reality' and Djibouti delivers this feeling as well as that book and Out of Sight. So... what happens? A documentary film maker called Dara is shooting a film on piracy in and around Djibouti. She gets in over head with an al Queda plot to blow up a tanker carrying LNG (liquified natural gas). Her cameraman is Xavier, a 73 year old tall, lanky black American (unlike the 83 year old tall, lanky white Leonard) - and they become the heroes/ lovers of the story. Jama Ruseuli (James Russell)makes for a super-fine villain, killing everyone in sight as the American ex-con Muslim convert tasked to blow up the ship. Leonard seems to be able to magic up these nuts and make them so real you feel you know them.

Leonard's plot motors forward at a fantastic pace. His writing is beautiful, spare and compelling. The characters are all beautifully drawn individuals, the descriptions perfect models of economy and the story compelling to the very end. The only incredible thing is the winter/spring romance between the principals, but this is so obviously a Leonard fantasy that you'll forgive him.

This is far better than the more serious al Queda novels, like the Terrorist by John Updike, and others I have read. It's got the touch of a master.

Fabulous writer, fabulous thriller. Read it and try to stop.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Going out a with a bang, 11 Mar 2014
By 
Stephen Hudson "Steve Hudson" (Keynsham) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Djibouti (Paperback)
This was Elmore Leonard's last book before his recent death. I am a long term fan and was hoping for something worthy of him, to stand as an epitaph. This succeeds in that. This might not be one of the classic Leonard thrillers but it's a typically fast, funny and violent story, with the crackling dialogue that was Leonard's hallmark.

The story weaves together the paths of a female documentary maker and her 72-her old male assistant, a Somali pirate, a British/Arab wheeler-dealer, a billionaire American crackpot and an American al Qaeda operative. They're all interested in different ways in a huge tanker full of liquid gas, and the struggle to reach their various conflicting goals gets more frantic and more desperate as the book unfolds.

The book isn't without flaws - there are a lot of big characters crammed in a short book, which makes one or two of them a bit superficial by Leonard's standards, and I didn't buy the sexual relationship between the documentary film maker and her aged assistant - but I loved this book, which made me very happy that one of the great modern American writers ended on a suitably high note.
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5.0 out of 5 stars "is this how it ends" "we must be close to it.", 16 Oct 2013
By 
London Rat (London, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Djibouti (Kindle Edition)
Prophetic words from the master. His last book. Dealing with Al Qaeda, criminals, odd couples, boats and that Elmore Leonard dialogue that just carries you along at speed and excited. We'll miss him.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Rave reviews of Leonard prompted me, 8 Oct 2013
By 
Mrs. Shirley O. Nicholas (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Djibouti (Paperback)
Difficult to get to grips with language, plot not too bad, but certainly doesn't warrant rave reviews this author received. Not a patch on Grisham or Wilbur Smith.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Bang up to date, 30 Sep 2013
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This review is from: Djibouti (Kindle Edition)
This really was an excellent book. I had to check the inside cover to see when it was written as it was so up to date. The story was excellent and as always the characters were believable (and in some cases lovable). As always though it is the dialogue which really makes the book.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Ghost written?, 13 Sep 2012
By 
C. G. Fewtrell "chrisfewtrell" (Manchester uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Djibouti (Paperback)
I love Elmore Leonard. When people ask me my favourite author, more often than not, his name is the one I find leaping to the tip of my tongue. So it pains me to write this, almost as much as it pained me to read Djibouti. And it did pain me, immensely. The two main characters, the ones who would normally be the focus of our sympathy, the ones we will be rooting for right to the end, I wanted to kill within a few pages. Their dialogue was horrendous, driving the story by telling each other what they'd seen when they'd been together at the events they were describing? Ugh. The story, which could have been good, was weak, the plot rediculous, the twists contrived, the characters cyphers. It was as though someone who had never read an Elmore Leonard novel had decided to write a parody, and incredibly, someone had agreed to publish it. Now I'm afraid all the people I've been urging for years to read the master's work, will decide now is the time and will pick up this awful mess. Thank God Justified is there to counterbalance the damage this book could do to a giant's reputation. Sorry Mr Leonard. Fire your editor.
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Djibouti
Djibouti by Elmore Leonard (Paperback - 13 Oct 2011)
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