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Rum Punch: A Novel Paperback – October 18, 2011

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Editorial Reviews


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

From the Back Cover

Ordell “Whitebread” Robbie makes a fine living selling illegal high-powered weaponry to the wrong people. Jackie Burke couriers Ordell’s profits from Freeport to Miami. But the feds are on to Jackie—and now the aging but still hot flight attendant will have to do prison time or play ball, which makes her a prime “loose end” that Ordell needs to tie up permanently. Jackie, however, has other options. And with the help of Max Cherry—an honest but disgruntled bail bondsman looking to get out—she could even end up with a serious nest egg in the process.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (October 18, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062119826
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062119827
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (101 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #41,470 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Mystery Tribune on January 13, 2012
Format: Paperback
Elmore Leonard (October 11, 1925) is probably one of the key icons among American novelists and screenwriters. His 30th book, Rum Punch, adapted into a film by Quentin Tarantino, has been released recently as a reprint and deserves a fresh look.

Set in West Palm Beach and Miami, the story concerns Jackie Burke, a 44-year-old airline stewardess, who has been bringing cash into the country for a gunrunner named Ordell Robbie. When the cops try to use Jackie to get at Ordell, she hatches a plan--with help from bail bondsman Max Cherry--to keep the money for herself.

This is probably one of Elmore Leonard's finest books: It is certainly funny and you can trace his deep understanding of the the characters he writes about in the story. Some critiques have complained that Rum Punch is written in such a way that the reader doesn't care about any of the characters (well, that's not a necessity) or there are many corpses and not too many twists. However, I belive this is part of the style the author has adopted and is part of his effort to create a rhythmic and colorful theme.

Leonard has always demonstrated that he is a good story teller and I believe Rum Punch delivers on the promise of a good story (Originally from my review at [...]
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Samuel Louis on March 27, 2001
Format: Paperback
"Rum Punch" is a sequel to Leonard's mid-70's classic, "The Switch," and while not nearly as tight as that taut psychological novel, it's refreshing to see Ordell Robbie, Melanie and Luis Gaza back in action. Robbie is one of Leonard's most appealing black villain-kings (this is not an ethnic slur; from "The Switch" to "Freaky Deaky" you'll see a long string of Leonard African-American heavies who are generally smarter, calmer, wealthier and more resourceful than the white cons with whom they partner), so smooth than he can run a crew while hobnobbing with redneck Nazis. Jackie Burke is the latest a logn line of appealingly pragmatic Leonard female characters. Max Cherry, a burned-out bail bondsman whose interacts beneficially and detrimentally with all the main characters, appeals with his sense of hard-boiled integrity. The only character disappointment in the story is Luis Gaza, so noble and honorable (for a kidnapper) in "The Switch," who comes off as a burnt-out loser, a shell of his former self. Maybe that's the point, but it's an ignoble fate.
As for the story, it's pretty standard Leonard fare about crosses, double crosses, money laundering, extortion, redemption and whatnot. It's pretty typical of Leonard's mid-90's work, padded with forced dialogue, a movie-like narrative arc, and the hanging-in-the-air resolution. Not one of his best, but still enjoyable.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Matthew D. Johnston on May 28, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Elmore Leonard's "Rum Punch" (which was the basis of Quentin Tarantino's "Jackie Brown") is a page-turner in the truest sense of the word - it's hard to put down. Leonard's has crafted a novel with his usual ear for fantastic and witty dialogue and fast, descriptive and fluent prose. Add a well-crafted and surprising plot and we have one of Leonard's finest works.
The story revolves around Jackie Burke (changed to Jackie Brown in the film), an airline stewardess who smuggles money between locations for Ordell Robbie, an arms-dealing hot-talking crook who uses everyone he comes in contact with for his own gain. The plot takes off when Jackie is caught by the police with the money for a delivery (along with some drugs she didn't know were in there) and Ordell is forced to bail her out through a bail bondsman, Max Cherry. Jackie sets up a sting operation which has the appearance of involving everyone -- the police, Ordell, even Ordell's discontented callgirl. In the end... well, you'll have to read it for that.
What makes "Rum Punch" a pleasure to read, like all of Leonard's novels, are the fringe characters which seemingly only he could dream up. The relationship between Louis, Ordell's dim-witted and short-tempered right hand man, and Melanie, Ordell's primary callgirl, is amusing, as are scenes like Ray Nicholette's bravado-style shootout with one of Ordell's arms-shipping lackeys. Leonard also intersperses interesting bits of character introspection, things like Max Cherry's contemplation about his relationship with his wife (with whom he's separated) and Jackie's three ex-husbands (although she only usually says there's two, because two of them were so similar, even in name, that they're hard to tell apart).
The plot itself goes off without a hitch.
Read more ›
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 28, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
If you've never read an Elmore Leonard book, you better get your ass up and get reading! For a man in his seventies it would be suffice to say that he isn't an out of touch old man, but quite the opposite. He's so observeant of peoples traits that his casts personas never miss a beat. The plot in this novel comes secondary to the sharp dialogue and the querky characters- as in all Elmores stories. He captures beautifully, the walk and talk of every character. A slow ex-con, a disenchanted bail bondsman, a cowboy ATF agent, a street smart gun dealer, a hopped up beach babe and last but not least-Jackie Burke; an air stewardess with brains, balls and panache to help get her through her problems with the ATF and the hip-cat killer Ordell Robie. So trust me on this, Elmore's one of the master writers out there today that deserves every word of praise he can get. And oh yeah if you're thinking of getting 'Jackie Brown' I'd advise you to get 'The Switch' first as it is the first story about Melanie, Ordell and Louis Gara.
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