Wednesday, November 11, 2009
CBR Book #5: Rum Punch by Elmore Leonard
Jackie Burke is forty-four years old, married three times, and stuck in a dead-end job as an airline stewardess for Islands Air. Jackie begins bringing money from Freeport to California for Ordell Robbie, the man to see about getting a gun in Palm Beach. ATF agent Ray Nicolet and FDLE agent Faron Tyler want to bring in Ordell Robbie. Ordell wants to be sure that his business isn't threatened in any way so he goes to see bail bondsman Max Cherry about bonding out one of his associates. Ordell hopes that this associate will stay quiet and is willing to make sure he stays that way permanently. Add in Ordell's recently released convict buddy Louis Gara, Ordell's stable of women, $550,000 and you have Rum Punch.
Yes, this is the book that Quentin Tarantino adapted for his movie Jackie Brown. As I read the book, I could never picture Leonard's characters as anything other than their big screen counterparts. I knew what was coming in the book since Tarantino remained faithful to the plot lines. However, the book was still engrossing and a quick, fun read. Leonard moves from one character's point of view to another with ease, allowing the reader some insight to motives and the ability of characters to understand what is happening around them. It's also a bit funny to get a glimpse of the way a character sees his or herself and how the other characters perceive them.
This is the first Elmore Leonard book that I've ever read. I'm guessing that his other novels are fast-paced, well-characterized reads and I plan to revisit him in the future. I'm hoping to wait until after the Cannonball Read's conclusion, but I'll see what happens when I'm desperate to read something that isn't stupid like, um, your mom's face. (Note to self, don't write reviews when tired. Jackass.)