Monday, July 14, 2014

RUM PUNCH by Elmore Leonard

Jackie Burke is a flight attendant whose crime is bringing in undeclared cash from the Bahamas. The money belongs to Ordell, an arms dealer, who makes a habit of bailing out his accomplices so that he can take them out—with a bullet.  Caught red-handed, Jackie figures she’d better work with law enforcement to avoid the same fate.  Ordell has other accomplices and hopes to recruit his old friend Louis, his former partner in a botched kidnapping, who now works for bail bondsman Max Cherry.  As is customary with an Elmore Leonard novel, the line is blurred between the good guys and the bad guys, and I had high hopes for Jackie to turn out to be one of the good guys, or gals in this case, and for her to still be alive at the end of the novel.  She’s gutsy and savvy, thinks well on her feet, and becomes more than chummy with Max, who’s no dummy, either.  She’s the bridge between the good guys and the baddies, and tries to play both sides against the middle.  As Jackie and the law officers develop a convoluted plan for double-crossing Ordell, Jackie makes plans of her own, drawing Max into her scheme, while he begins contemplating divorce from his estranged wife.  This novel was the inspiration for the movie Jackie Brown, which served as sort of a comeback vehicle for Pam Grier, even though Jackie is blonde in the book.  Quentin Tarantino directed, and Samuel L. Jackson played Ordell.  DeNiro as Louis?  I need to see this movie again.

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