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Tishomingo Blues Paperback – 6 Feb 2003
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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.
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 out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product description
Top customer reviews
If you use audible, the version read by Jeff Harding is superb.
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.
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!
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. Robert Taylor is arguably a much more sinister character than Chili Palmer, but it's clear that Leonard fell in love with his own creation.
As a Detroit native, I want to like Leonard, and he almost deserves his reputation as the "Dickens of Detroit". But after this book, I'm not going to rush out and buy his next release.
Throw in drugs, historical war reinactments and the sub-plot involving the slave trade, and you have a colourful melting pot of goings-on which are bound to result in more bodies being scattered around. Are those blanks in those Remington rifles?
I cannot say whether this is classic Leonard, because I don't know enough about his work, but I'm looking forward to reading more!