Rum Punch Paperback – 2 Dec 2004
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"The greatest crime writer of our time, perhaps ever!"--The New York Times Book Review
From America's top writer of hardboiled crime, the novel that became Tarantino's hit film JACKIE BROWN.See all Product description
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`Rum Punch' is a deceptively simple book, but it takes skill to write about various characters and how they plan to double cross one another. Jackie and Max are the `heroes' of the piece and they work because bad guys like Ordell are so unlikable. Once again Leonard has been able to create a real feeling world full of deeply flawed characters; you do not who to trust. The fact that there is a compelling ending just adds to an already enjoyable crime romp.
Max Cherry is a bail bondsman, he underwrites the bail money put up for any type of remanded individual, taking a slice off the top as his fee and the risk of said individual making a run for it as his loss. Max has been in this game for many years and is as cute a cookie as Ordell will ever be.
Their paths cross, with Jackie Burke as the common factor when she is hauled over by the cops for ferrying money and drugs and Ordell wants her bailed. Throw in the police interest in sticking Ordell for gun running and wanting to get to him via Jackie, plus a smattering of fun, none-too-bright characters that Ordell uses for nefarious purposes, and we have the makings of a roller-coaster ride that Elmore Leonard exploits to the full.
Sharp, no-nonsense dialogue coupled with a tight story line and great characterisation produces a ripping yarn true to the genre. If you are stuck in an airport, riding a long train journey or just lounging in front of the fire, you will skip through this tale of bluff and double-cross in short order. EL at his best and for you to enjoy.
The rest of the novel is about how the agents set about trapping Ordell and how Max and Jackie, who are attracted to each other, enact plans of their own. It is a clever plot with quite of lot of violence, particularly in the closing sections. At the end not everything is resolved. There remains an ambiguity about whether Max and Jackie really do have a future together, or whether they go their separate ways, with Max continuing as a bondsman.
Once again, Elmore Leonard has created an exciting, fast-moving story with several sub-plots and many interesting characters, most prepared to kill without too much thought. Even the `heroes' have ambiguous ethical behaviour. There are no unbelievable coincidences and the like, just a clear story line told in a straightforward style with excellent crisp dialogue. It is a thoroughly enjoyable read.
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