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When the Women Come Out to Dance: Stories Paperback – January 6, 2004

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (January 6, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060586168
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060586164
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #311,914 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

What a treat! The nine stories in this collection--some never before published, others available only in anthologies or magazines-- demonstrate why Elmore Leonard has achieved both bestsellerdom and critical acclaim. Ranging in length from a four-page trifle to two novellas of 50-plus pages, these are gems of sly humor, suspense, and, above all, character. Most are in the contemporary crime-fiction vein that made Leonard famous, but a few are more contemplative set pieces, and there's one fine Old West story (Leonard was a Western writer before he became a crime king).

Longtime fans will recognize some familiar faces, including the U.S. marshals Raylan Givens, from 1993's Pronto and 1995's Riding the Rap, and Karen Sisco, from 1996's Out of Sight (played by J. Lo in the movie). But whether familiar or new, the people in these stories lunge off the page and seize you by the lapels. Nobody writes character and dialogue like Leonard. In fact, several tales feature some rural white-trash bad guys who are so utterly plausible that you'll look over your shoulder next time you drive a country road.

The short story format suits Leonard's stripped-down style beautifully. While one or two of the slimmer pieces feel a bit disposable, all nine are engaging, and the best are breathtakingly good--the crispest, best- plotted stuff Leonard has published in years. --Nicholas H. Allison --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Elmore Leonard's latest, When the Women Come Out to Dance, is a collection of short sketches that feature strong female characters in trouble. "Sparks" describes a flirtation between an insurance investigator and a widow who has apparently burned down her own mansion in the Hollywood hills. The riveting title piece involves a rich Pakistani surgeon's wife, a former stripper who's terrified that her playboy husband will have her killed once he gets bored with her. Hoping to knock him off first, she hires as a maid a Colombian woman rumored to have murdered her own abusive husband. "Fire in the Hole" finds two former co-workers pitted against one another in a deadly showdown: Boyd Crowder is a Bible-quoting neo-Nazi with a penchant for terrorist acts, and Raylan Givens is the U.S. marshal sent to shut him down. Leonard fans may wish for something meatier, but the razor-edged dialogue and brisk storytelling won't disappoint.
Copyright 2003 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

I love Elmore Leonard and I loved these short stories.
Scott George
Leonard uses words economically and every single one is well chosen, strong, vivid.
C. Ebeling
I enjoyed all these stories and highly recommend this book.
Todd Justman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 31 people found the following review helpful By C. Ebeling on February 23, 2004
Format: Paperback
I should qualify this review with the warning that this is my first experience reading Elmore Leonard. I cannot tell fans of his other 39 books and assorted screenplays how this compares with his general body of work. I can tell you how it stands on its own.
This is an interesting, varied collection of nine short stories. While all share a world where alcohol is a constant undercurrent and the characters have all seen better days, they are quite distinct from one another. There is a has-been baseball player working against himself for a chance at a decent job, two cancer patients connecting in a Florida retirement community, a former stripper trying to "lose" an abusive husband, an African American veteran of the Civil and Spanish American Wars facing racism, a cattle rustler trying to help a woman he finds abandoned on a remote outpost, a lawman returning to his hometown to rout someone he had known in his youth who is now leading a neo Nazi militia, and a Hollywood stuntman returning to his Oklahoma roots to reclaim the family ranch from thugs and exorcise the family curse at the same time. There is a Karen Sisco episode, too, featuring the US marshall character currently the subject of a television series.
Some of the stories read like sketches or treatments for screenplays. The Sisco story stands on its own, though it could easily have been a subplot from a novel or the television show. I thought the western stories were the most fully realized. All of the fictions turn on whether the good guy gets what he/she wants. The storytelling is of the cinematic variety, hinging on action riddled with reversals. Leonard uses words economically and every single one is well chosen, strong, vivid. In an era when typos and editing slips mar too many books, this edition (hardcover at least) is free of them and is also assembled with an attractive lay-out design.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A. Ross HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 6, 2005
Format: Paperback
This generally digestible and entertaining Leonard sampler collects two novellas and a seven short stories written over the last decade. For those who've never read any of his many many many books, it's a pretty representative introduction to his range and style. For those who are intimately familiar with his work, there are new sides of a few familiar faces. For those like me, who've read seven or eight of his novels, and found them diverting, this is more of the same, page-turning, if not particularly memorable, genre fiction. The stories can all be readily grouped into pairs.

Both the title story and the opening story are a shade under 20 pages and feature attractive rich women who are running some kind of scam. In "When the Women Come Out to Dance", we meet an exotic dancer who married a wealthy Pakistani doctor. A year later, sitting in the lap of luxury, she professes to be worried that she will meet the gruesome fate of other wives no longer desired by their traditional Pakistani husbands-being burned to death. Her new Colomian maid might be the solution to her problem... In "Sparks", the widow of a famous record producer is grilled by an insurance company adjuster following the suspicious destruction of her house during a California brush fire. The two stories chug along through small intrigues and banter, arriving at satisfying, yet predictable conclusions.

Two of the stories are twenty-page vignettes in the lives of characters who are features in full novels. "Chickasaw Charlie Hoke" is a humorous and colorful story about how the title character lands a job as celebrity greeter for a Vegas casino. What happens after this is detailed in Leonard's 2002 book, Tishomingo Blues, whose main protagonist Dennis Lenahan is also introduced off-stage in this story.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Bill Slocum VINE VOICE on September 14, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Elmore Leonard can write circles around most pulp fiction writers, but even the best writers struggle to fill novels successfully. You have to carry narratives for 300 pages, and even Leonard has produced his share of undernourished text. That is why his 2002 short story collection "When The Women Come Out To Dance" is so satisfying.

Calling them "short stories" is actually overselling them a bit; some are just sketches where very little of anything happens. A veteran rides into town and gets jawed at by some bigots. Two terminal cancer cases chat their way through what amounts to a first date. A woman answers questions about a house that she may or may not have burned down.

What makes these pieces readable and enjoyable is Leonard's way with dialogue, his ear for the clever quip disguised as an observation: "Girls named Kitty don't think much of becoming grandmothers."

Two stories stand out; the long ones "Fire In The Hole" and "Tenkiller." They aren't that long, about 60 well-spaced pages each, but they have the most involved plots and feature likeable characters who Leonard takes his time setting up. "Fire In The Hole" especially would make for a good movie, featuring the antics of a moronic gang of white supremacists who are being investigated by U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens, one of several characters from earlier Leonard novels to appear here.

Also appearing here is Karen Sisco, previously seen in the book and movie "Out Of Sight," and here as the possibly romantic partner of a bank robber in the funny, touching "Karen Makes Out.
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