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Be Cool Mass Market Paperback – January 25, 2005


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTorch; Reissue edition (January 25, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060082151
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060082154
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (94 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,109,576 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The film Get Shorty was a success on many fronts. It introduced a new style of hip gangster that revised the stereotype of the Godfather series. It also helped relaunch the career of John Travolta. And it brought Elmore Leonard's impressive body of fiction to larger public attention. In Hollywood, such a triumph usually spawns a sequel--a film that rehashes the great jokes and cool scenes of the first film, but with none of the panache that initially inspired audiences.

In the beginning of Be Cool, the sequel to the novel Get Shorty, readers are reminded that Chili Palmer--like his creator--scored a huge success with a gangster film (his was entitled Get Leo). But the sequel, Get Lost, was a predictable dud. Rather than follow that sordid story, however, Leonard takes Chili into a totally new direction. He places Chili on a murder investigation (in which he is a prime suspect) and then traces Chili's entry into the music business. Meanwhile, Leonard reveals a whole new cast of fresh, funny, and flaky characters to populate Chili's world, characters like Elliot the gigantic, gay, Samoan bodyguard who lives to be on the stage. Throughout, the voice of John Travolta rings in Chili's every speech (word has it that Travolta has already been cast to reprise the role) as Leonard pokes fun at the Hollywood apparatus and the task of a sequel writer.

Be Cool surpasses its original because it is so self-consciously a novel about sequels, about the sometimes cowardice that limits the creativity of the American film industry. It is hard to imagine how Leonard could top the multilayered satire/crime novel/exposé. One only hopes for a sequel. Fans of Be Cool might want to check out music from The Stone Coyotes, the band that served as Leonard's model in the book. --Patrick O'Kelley --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

In Get Shorty (1990), Leonard skewered the film industry in a rollicking crime read that became not only a bestselling book but also a megahit movie. This razor-sharp sequel veers from the venality, egomania and basic bad taste of the movies with the similar attributes of the pop-music business. After one hit (Get Leo) and one flop (Get Lost), Chili Palmer, former loan shark and now movie producer, thinks the record industry is fertile ground for his next flick. He hasn't lost touch with his old Brooklyn friends, though, and while lunching with one he witnesses his pal's mob-style murder. As he's not a serious suspect, Chili becomes friendly with the investigating LAPD detective. He has also become interested in Texas-bred singer Linda Moon and her effort to break into the biz, which puts him on the wrong side of her inept but murderous manager, Raji. When a Russian gangster is found shot dead in Chili's house, matters complicate further as Chili wades through a rogues' gallery including more Russians, a mob hit man, seriously criminal gangsta rappers, Raji's giant gay Samoan bodyguard and assorted other denizens of La La Land. Chili remains a compulsively appealing character throughout, retaining his immaculate cool in lethal situations as those around him wallow in pretension and hypocrisy. Leonard's plotting is as propulsive as ever and his desert-dry wit continues to flare at high heat. Nearly every sentence of this novel reads as if it's dipped in gold. This is a knockout work from a master crime writer: be cool, and relish it. Major ad/promo; simultaneous BDD audio; author tour.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Elmore Leonard wrote forty-five novels and nearly as many western and crime short stories across his highly successful career that spanned more than six decades. Some of his bestsellers include Road Dogs, Up in Honey's Room, The Hot Kid, Mr. Paradise, Tishomingo Blues, and the critically acclaimed collection of short stories Fire in the Hole. Many of his books have been made into movies, including Get Shorty, Out of Sight, and Rum Punch, which became Quentin Tarantino's Jackie Brown. Justified, the hit series from FX, is based on Leonard's character Raylan Givens, who appears in Riding the Rap, Pronto, Raylan and the short story "Fire in the Hole". He was a recipient of the National Book Foundation's Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, the Lifetime Achievement Award from PEN USA, and the Grand Master Award of the Mystery Writers of America. He was known to many as the 'Dickens of Detroit' and was a long-time resident of the Detroit area.

Customer Reviews

Another problem was the lack of witty dialogue, a Leonard trademark.
Bryan Schingle
Not as either believable or as rip-roaringly funny as Get Shorty was.... Be Cool follows Chili into the music industry in California.
R. Peterson
The plot seemed a bit contrived and there was no real tension in the book... none.
Erik J. Larsen

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Lee Greenway on December 1, 1999
Format: Hardcover
As a fan of Elmore Leonard, and particularly of his popular novel, Get Shorty, I eagerly anticipated the release of this continuation of the tale of Chili Palmer. Dismayed was I to discover, therefore, that Be Cool was so true to the original that it could have, in fact, been the same book. Don't get me wrong, I like Chili Palmer as much as the next guy, but Mr. Leonard seemed to have missed the fact that for a sequel to be successful, it must take beloved characters and place them in NEW situations. This time, we find the same Chili doing the same things he did in Get Shorty, albeit with a little less violence, only this time he's doing it in the music world instead of the movie world. Throughout the novel, I found myself getting a more than vague sense of deja vu - I've seen it all before. The book is not, of course, without a few shining moments. A distressingly macabre exchange between a myopic Jewish hitman and a jive-talking, ghetto blasting music producer concerning the best type of baseball bat when a skull is the target provides a great moment of typical Leonard black humor. Leonard's signature stylistic devices - flashback narration and wonderful use of dialect - are omnipresent throughout. Be Cool does have its advantages, but it's possible to save money - just put on an Aerosmith album and re-read Get Shorty. Sorry, folks, but we've been here and done this.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By R. Peterson on August 19, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Elmore Leonard, my favorite beach novelist, has put out another Chili Palmer novel (of "Get Shorty" fame). Not as either believable or as rip-roaringly funny as Get Shorty was.... Be Cool follows Chili into the music industry in California. The sequel to his famous movie (called, "Get Leo" in this book, although why, I don't know... we all know it's Get Shorty) was a bust, so he is onto searching for another story-line for another movie. As Elmore Leonard novels go, I thought this one was fairly weak... Leonard seemed out of his familiar surroundings and I miss, frankly, the bare-faced shysters, the loan sharks, the semi-mafiosos and the slick con-men of most of his other books. This novel didn't have the same wonderful surprising twists and turns... Chili's relationship with Elaine seemed forced, Linda Moon started out with some promise but Leonard is so busy trying to develop other characters (like the bizarre, huge Samoan homosexual body-guard) that we never feel we've completely 'gotten into' any of the characters. I will give Leonard a lot of credit however, for continuing to be the best at plot manipulation... how he has Chili manage the police, the Russian mafia, the record industry mafia, and just about everyone else so that he emerges with the usual clean nose, is a tribute to Leonard's abilities to think and write so complexly.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A. Ross HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 18, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This, the sequel to "Get Shorty," takes Chili Palmer from the world of film to the music industry. Although one of the book's themes is a very self-conscious attempt to comment on the nature of sequels, it falls pretty flat since it's just not that good. The behind the scenes music stuff comes off as very cliché and dated, and just doesn't work very well. There is the usual cast of wacky Leonard characters, some more entertaining than others--but as I feel about other of his books, wackiness alone doesn't cut it.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Jack McGuire on February 9, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I was amused by a previous review stating that a high school student had read "Be Cool" as an English assignment. That's great if your teaching a novel with zero character development, zero story, hell, practically no plot. And I've enjoyed some of Leonard's other books. And the most embarassing part is Leonard's take on present day rock 'n roll. I can see him desperately picking the brains of people he thinks might be "hep" to the current scene. He breaks the first rule of writing; write what you know about. This book was a mess. Were the blurb folks paid off?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 18, 1999
Format: Hardcover
The characters lacked character and substance, the setting was unbelievable. Since this was not listed as a farce I can only think the author was serious, if so he failed miserably. This is not the first Elmore Leonard book that I have bought and read, but it will be the last! As someone who reads a lot of books and as a matter of principle, finishes every book that I start, this book was a cahllenge to my principles.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By John Prairie on March 31, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Believe me, I'm a fan. And I know that every swing of the bat can't be a home run. Still, this one was a disappointment. Anybody just starting on the Leonard body of work should bypass this one in favor of almost any of his others. I give it two stars ( instead of one ) simply because Leonard can't write anything but snappy, engaging dialogue.
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13 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Peter Cas Jones on February 10, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I work in Hollywood as a runner, have for years. None of the characters in this book even vaguely resemble anybody I work with. Least of all Chili Palmer. Nor is Mr. Leonards dialog as spot-on as it used to be. Ryan's Rules was one of the greatest books I ever read. I've read it four or five times. Be Cool is at the opposite end of the spectrum. It gets worse. The dialog is so-so the characters are unbeleivable, and the action isn't real. In Ryans Rules the guys were robbing liquor stores and it was totally real, in Be Cool the one and only scene that doesn't cause a groan is the opening scene at Swingers restaurant where Tommy Athens is talking about the movie he wants Chili to make and Chili asks what's the movie about and Tommy Athens goes: "Me", now that's Holywood. On the other hand, when the 6 foot 6 Samoan barges into the studio exec womans office and bashes her TV with a baseball bat, anybody who's ever been anywhere near a studio lot will hoot with astonishment. This scene makes a deafening clunk. And then, after behaving like that, apparently we're supposed to beleive the big Samoan just strolls off the lot, because without a pass he wouldn't've been parking on the lot in the first place, where in real life the man would be getting treated like a king, as in Rodney. All I can say is give it up Mr. Leonard. You couldn't possibly need the money, could you? And if you don't you're embarrassing yourself.
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