Monday, August 12, 2013

GET SHORTY by Elmore Leonard

This book was fun but not nearly as much fun as Killshot.  Still, it has its moments.   Chili Palmer, a collector for a loan shark, goes to Vegas to track down a customer, Leo, a drycleaner, who supposedly died in a plane crash.   Leo's luggage was on the plane, but he stayed too long in an airport bar and missed the flight.  Now he's living large on the airline's insurance payout, which really belongs to his estranged wife.  Chili's next stop is Los Angeles, where he hooks up with a B movie director (Harry), an aging actress (Karen), a self-absorbed movie star (Michael), and a trio of drug smugglers fronted by a limo service whom Harry has signed up to back his next picture.  Harry thinks Chili might help him get Michael into his pet movie project, Mr. Lovejoy, but Chili thinks Leo's story has more Hollywood potential.  Several intricate double-crossings make for a pretty entertaining ride, and Chili becomes more and more appealing as the plot thickens.  He's cool and smart and trying not to burn any bridges as he makes his moves toward getting what he wants.  He also has pretty good timing, cultivates some valuable friendships, and knows a setup when he sees one.  You gotta like the guy, trying to go legit and doing some Hollywood schmoozing with a style all his own.

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