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When the Women Come Out to Dance: Stories Paperback – January 6, 2004
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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.
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Each chapter represents one story and range from 5 to 50+ pages. “Fire in the Hole” is the one I really wanted to read as it introduces the world to the cool, calm and deadly Raylan Givens and his arch-nemesis, life-long criminal Boyd Crowder. It’s not “Justified” in a nutshell, but merely the first episode of the series (with a different outcome). If anything, the book remarkably confirms how dead-on the series presents Leonard’s vision … both the storyline and the characters. While I certainly enjoyed that particular story, I found most of the others to be better. Leonard had a knack of being able paint an elaborate tableau with relatively few words that gets readers involved. Real page-turners filled with drama, suspense and a variety of interesting characters of all calibers (good and bad). One of the reasons I really don’t enjoy fiction is verbosity, but Leonard’s stories never become mired in words, they all roll smoothly and at a decent pace. I found myself immersed in each and every chapter and refused to part from the book until I’d finished the story I’d started. Another enjoyable factor is that each chapter presents readers with a change-up (and puns aside, “Chickasaw Charlie Hoke” was one of my favorites) in terms of theme, mood and era (some stories are current, some not). The longer chapters (“Karen Makes Out”, “Fire in the Hole” and “Tenkiller”) take time to develop, but build excitement along the way and certainly deliver in the end.
WHEN THE WOMEN COME OUT TO DANCE proved to be the perfect appetizer for me to start a steady diet of Elmore Leonard books … I’m hooked.
Mr. Leonard paints a very vivid picture in a very easy to read way. His writing has a certain amount of 'cool' to it, and every character is well-defined and interesting in their own way. I did some research on him, and I see why he was a 'writer's writer'. His prose and pacing are to be admired.
This will be the start of a journey through the rest of his works for me. I loved every bit of this book.
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Stories: Sparks -- Hanging out at the Buena Vista -- Chickasaw Charlie Hoke -- When the Women...Read more