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Get Shorty: A Novel Paperback – November 29, 2011

3.9 out of 5 stars 98 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Taking his latest fictive turn in Hollywood, Leonard, whose oeuvre includes screenplays as well as such bestselling novels as Glitz and Freaky Deaky , adds insider knowledge to his signature humor in this roundly satisfying behind-the-scenes tour of filmdom. Slightly disaffected Chili Palmer, a small-time loan shark with big-time style, is a vintage Leonard hero. Following a bad debt from Miami to Las Vegas and on to Beverly Hills, Chili hooks up with Harry Zimm, once a leading director of grade-B horror flicks, now trying to make a comeback. While succumbing to the siren call of celluloid, Chili also narrows in on the bad debt, in the process running up against a sharp-dressing hood with whose money Harry has played too loose. In Leonard's seamless handling, the complex plot flows through twists of revenge, murder and romance, as Chili, his authentic cool making a mark in the capital of sham ("Don't talk when you don't have to" is his very un-Hollywood motto), cagily gets it together with Karen Flores, Harry's former lover and featured star. A perfect resolution puts punch in the title and will keep readers smiling for days. Chili and his story are Leonard's best yet. First serial rights to Rolling Stone; BOMC and QPB selections; major ad/promo, author tour.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“The greatest crime writer of our time, perhaps ever!” (The New York Times Book Review)

“An absolute master.” (The Detroit News)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (November 29, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062120255
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062120250
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (98 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #300,584 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Doug Vaughn HALL OF FAME on January 18, 2000
Format: Paperback
With Elmore Leonard we get a new book every year or so, and it's a good thing, because even though not every one is a solid success, they are all fun and every now and then a real masterpiece emerges. I believe that Get Shorty is such a success. It's a Cinderella story as if written by Damon Runyan. Chili Palmer, a small time mobster on the trail of a deadbeat who has run off with $300,000 of mob money after faking his own death, finds himself in Hollywood getting involved with movie making instead of recovering the money. On one level the book is pure Leonard an exciting underworld story with great street talk and those edgy characters that he does so well. On another level the book is a wonderful social satire and, with its shift from Vegas to L.A., shows us a contemporary world lost in greed and seduced by show biz. Palmer's easy success as a producer (in essence doing his own life story) is a thinly veiled commentary on the shallowness of Hollywood and the lack of skill of many of its leaders. Not a surprising position for a writer who has seen almost all of his books (till this one) made into truely terrible movies (remember Stick? Mr. Majestek? The Moonshine Wars?).
Whatever else, this book is a fast paced and entertaining piece of fiction. The characters are interesting, the dialogue is memorable and funny, and the plot is ingenious and leads to a very satisfactory conclusion. This is Leonard at his best - and that is awfully good. And surprise, this time he even got a good movie out of it!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I loved the movie Get Shorty, as well as the other Leonard books that have been turned into movies (Rum Punch, Out of Sight), so I had to try out this book. It's a great read and much of the snappy dialoge from the movie is taken right from the book's narrative. The dialoge works great both on screen and in the novel.

I appreciated the subtle differences in the plot line between the movie and the book, and the differences were enough to keep me interested in the book despite knowing much of the movie by heart. Leonard is a master at writing dialoge. He uses grammar that precisely captures the way people speak, and each character has a unique way of talking that is personally identifiable.

The character descriptions were so similar to the movie that I had to wonder if Leonard wrote the novel with certain actors in mind!

I recommend this as a companion to the movie. They can be enjoyed together as the same story via two different mediums, each with its own richness.
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Format: Paperback
Okay, you've seen the movie, which is pretty damn good, and Travolta as "Chili Palmer" is pretty cool, but DON'T IGNORE THE BOOK. Leonard is the master of character and dialogue and an especially keen observer when it comes to greed. Sure, Hollywood is an easy target, but he skewers the movie biz in his oh-so-unique way. If you can erase the film actors from your mind (never an easy task), try to read this book with a fresh eye. It's one delicious ride you won't regret taking.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Everyone seen the movie "Get Shorty, have you read the book? if you haven't you missing something that's a lot of fun. Every book is better than the movie, believe it or not, and this book is no exception. The book has a lot of filled in background information about Shorty and his what he's like that we never get in the movie. Sure the movie looks great and Chili is wonderful but the book Chili is even better. I highly recommend this book! Order it or get it and read it it's very quick read but it's loads of fun!
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Format: Paperback
I had been meaning to read Elmore Leonard for years now, ever since seeing movies like Resevoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction. I knew Quentin Tarantino was a big fan and was heavily influenced by Leonard. So, after much surfing and emailing, I determined Get Shorty was likely the best novel to start with. It was pretty good, but a really light read. What makes Leonard's writing shine is the dialogue; you've heard the overused "dialogue crackles" rave? Well Leonard really delivers...this is why his novels make such successful movies; they read like them. This is a novel perfect for those who typically prefer movies over novels. I prefer the depth of Michael Connelly or Greg Iles or Dennis Lehane myself. But this is an entertaining story and certainly holds your attention, and before you know it, it's over. Just like a good movie.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a product of the lazy, latter-day Leonard who knows he's a great writer who can just sit back and let it flow. The onetime master of concision now takes a hundred-odd pages just to set things up.

Even his ear for dialogue has started to fade on him. Now everybody like, y'know, talks like, uhh, some kinda boob, get what I'm sayin'? The line of self-parody is lying a little too close in these pages.

He still has a hand with the quirky minor characters, though they can't carry an entire 350-page plus novel. But this one did make it clear to me why Leonard is so popular with the pomo crowd: his characters inhabit an utterly amoral universe, one with no values or standards whatsoever. Here, e.g., the protagonist is that well-known figure drawn from life, the friendly, easygoing loan shark. In your traditional crime novel--Chandler or either MacDonald can serve as examples--the action occurs against a hard-edged moral framework that is at least given lip service. Now I won't demand that every piece of fiction act as a morality play. But this was a case where I finished the thing, and kind of enjoyed the ride, but didn't like myself for it. In Leonard's recent novels, all that matters is who gets to take home the candy. And when you get right down to it, that just ain't enough.
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