I’m a pretty big Elmore Leonard fan. I have only read one of his books “Cat Chaser” but I adore “Justified,” which is based on some of his short stories. He creates amazing characters and dialogue and is prolific as a crime fiction writer. His books have been made into some exceptional movies: Out of Sight, Get Shorty, and Jackie Brown. I was excited to introduce him to my book club, as none of the other members had read anything by him, and to make a long story short…it didn’t go well.
I didn’t even like it! And no one else liked it either. But we had good cheese and conversation, so it wasn’t all for naught. Also, I do not think you should judge Leanord solely on his book. It was his second to last novel (published in 2010, and he died in 2013) so I don’t think it is indicative of his body of work.
This book has all the markings for success in my eyes: great bad-ass female documentary filmmaker protagonist, mystery, freakin’ pirates! However, the biggest problem with this book, as agreed upon by my club peeps was that it would have made an excellent movie. He “told” when he should have “shown.” Often times the two main characters were found, reviewing footage of what they had taped, and having conversations about what had happened. This storytelling technique was similar to when someone runs down a list of everything that happened in their day: even if their day was interesting, hearing it all spooled together is tedious and not as interesting as seeing the action unfold. Also, we were not a fan of the “will they won’t they” relationship between the 30ish year old protagonist and her 72 year old camera man/jack of all trades. It just didn’t do much for the story, and mostly left us confused.
So, I’m sad to say I didn’t like this book, but there are many more that he has penned so I’m going to dig around for some of his early novels as I am sure they will not disappoint.