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Killshot Paperback – September 6, 2005


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; Reissue edition (September 6, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688166385
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688166380
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,088,493 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Crime fiction doesn't get any better than Leonard's new thriller, which, while it breaks no new ground, is a welcome retreat to his more direct style of classics such as 52 Pickup and Unknown Man #89 . When Carmen Colson and her ironworker husband Wayne stumble onto an extortion scheme run by Armand Degas, half Ojibway Indian, half French Canadian hit man, and his temporary partner Richie Nix, a talkative sociopath, the two killers set out to eliminate them, hiding out with Nix's girlfriend Donna, a former prison guard who collects stuffed animals and believes that Elvis is alive. In detailing the killers' relentless pursuit of the terrified couple, Leonard builds suspense with a deft, master hand, inducing an instant--and sustained--response of sweating hands and a racing heart. Even the most jaded reader will be swept along on the roller coaster of impending violence punctuated by heart-stopping crises. As always, Leonard writes with a natural ear for offbeat speech and a terrific sense of locale, moving the action from Toronto to Detroit and into Michigan and Ohio, telling the story almost totally through the thoughts and dialogue of the characters. In the Colsons, Leonard presents a more mature and realistic portrayal of a relationship than he has in the past, and he stirs up an uncomfortable fondness for the cruel but mellowing hit man Degas, all the while drawing the reader deeply into these ordinary lives. A bravura performance. Literary Guild dual main selection.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

In this fine adaptation of Leonard's best-selling novel, Wayne and Carmen Colson's quiet life shatters following their involvement in a failed extortion scheme. To escape from hit man Arman "Blackbird" Degas and his sidekick Richie Nix, the Colsons enter the Federal Witness Protection Program. They soon find out the program contains as many predators as does the underworld. As with all of Leonard's (Cuba Libre, Audio Reviews, LJ 6/15/98) works, it is his character development and dialog that propel the simple plot toward its chilling conclusion. Bruce Boxleitner's reading adds a special effect to the story, and the adaptation captures all the power of the original novel. Highly recommended for all collections containing Leonard's past works.?Stephen L. Hupp, Urbana Univ. Lib, OH
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

In a way, the book is his somehow his story.
M. Dog
If you've never read an Elmore Leonard novel, KILLSHOT is a great place to start.
Anthony Bruno
One of the most suspenseful and engaging books I've read.
T. J. Thomas

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 32 people found the following review helpful By M. Dog VINE VOICE on February 27, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The theme of this book is one that Elmore Leonard uses often, and nearly always to great effect - a romantic couple is swept innocently into the world of crime and has to discover heretofore-unknown resources to save themselves.
The reason this works so well for Leonard is that it lets him write to two of his great strengths. First, of course, is the world of criminals and cops. His criminals are always incredibly well drawn and always very distinct and three-dimensional. I have never read it anywhere, but I would guess that Quentin Tarantino must have been a big Leonard fan in his developmental years. His screen killers bear the hallmarks of Leonard characters; i.e. impassioned conversations about everyday things (like the two hit men in Pulp Fiction discussing McDonald's Big Macs) while dwelling in the sub-culture of crime and violence.
The second and less-commented-on strength Leonard has is the ability to portray the tugs and pulls of a male/female relationship with such effortless accuracy. In the interplay of the novel's husband and wife team, the subtle, aggravating, thrilling differences between man and woman are expertly rendered with a few classic, Leonard strokes. Also, Leonard is also the master at local color and authentic detail. His research and detail always has the feel of easy, unforced truth.
But let's face it; crime is what makes Leonard tick - the deal, the scam - and the men and women licking their chops over money and guns. It is certainly all here in this book. Here, it's an extortion scheme combining the efforts of an aging, nearly burned out hit man (Armand Degas) and a clever, hyperactive sociopath (Richie Nix). As always, Leonard develops his characters with subtle, concise power.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Anthony V Rainone on June 14, 2000
Format: Paperback
"Killshot" is a fast-paced, edgy and action-filled novel with strong emphasis on character, which is what one expects from Elmore Leonard. Leonard effectively paints telling portraits complete with physical details, emotions and mannerisms, and he never short-changes on plot or suspense. This book hums along. The killers are reprehensible, but Leonard makes them human, with their own particular vulnerabilities. Richie Nix is a sociopath seeing people only as objects to be used or eliminated. The Bird is somewhat more empathetic, but a cold, bloodless professional killer nonetheless. Carmen and Wayne Colson are a married couple who get caught up in a shakedown scam by mistake, and they end up having the two killers on their trail. Leonard does an outstanding job with minor characters as well giving them pivotal roles, especially Donna, the woman who becomes a lover to both killers, and the egotistical deputy sheriff. While the reader might find him or herself rooting more against the evilness of Richie or Bird, rather than for any compelling traits in the Colson's, there is more than enough tension inherent in "Killshot" to make this a very good read.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Gregory Gilcrease on September 8, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
An ironworker and his wife are being hunted down by a professional hitman and a murdering ex-con. Wayne Colson and his wife Carmen found themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Armand and Richie, two lifelong criminals, are very poorly attempting to extort money from Carmen's boss. The inept thieves harebrained scheme is to walk into his office and take the money. But they are in for a surprise.

Wayne is visiting his wifes office the day the gangsters attempt to grab the money. They mistake him for Carmen's boss and a melee ensues. Wayne gives the crooks a real good lambasting and they take off empty handed.

When the goons trackdown the man responsible for giving them the beating, they want revenge. The Colsons, in an effort to save their lives, enter the Witness Security Program. They soon find out they might have been better off to try and make it on their own.

This was the first book I have read from Elmore Leonard and I really enjoyed it. The dialogue is funny and smart. But I felt that the story was a little thin at times.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful By E. Hawkins on December 5, 2000
Format: Paperback
From 'Split Images' to 'Get Shorty', a run encompassing about ten books, Elmore Leonard could do no wrong -- every one of these titles is compelling. 'Killshot' ranks as the best (perhaps tying with 'Split Images') book of this period. The plotting is clever in that it is put at the service of the characters -- action unfolds from character, rather than being imposed on it. And the prose, especially the dialogue, is pitch-perfect. (Compare Leonard's dialogue with that of James Ellroy, and see why Leonard is still regarded as the master.) What makes Leonard's books so enjoyable, however, is the amount of arcane information he's able to put into his story without ever making it feel crammed. He's written about graphology, Mississippi rivermen, high-steel construction, and Elvis Presley conspiracies (all 'Killshot'); leprosy and embalming ('Bandits'); St Francis of Assisi ('Touch' and 'Bandits'); the overthrow of Trujillo in the Dominican Republic ('Split Images', 'Cat Chaser'); photography and the Secret Service ('LaBrava'); casino operations ('Glitz'); hippie politics ('Freaky Deaky'); and countless other subjects. His facility for making these things interesting almost defies belief. Surrender yourself to 'Killshot', especially the redoubtable Carmen Colson, and find your plams getting sweaty, your mouth dry, and your heart racing. You'll laugh a lot, too.
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