Late afternoon Chloe and Kelly were having cocktails at the Rattlesnake Club, the two seated on the far side of the dining room by themselves: Chloe talking, Kelly listening, Chloe trying to get Kelly to help her entertain Anthony Paradiso, an eighty-four-year-old guy who was paying her five thousand a week to be his girlfriend. (from the first line)
"Sharp as an ice pick....You will love this excellent book."
--New York Times Book Review
Elmore Leonard is the undisputed master, the "King Daddy of crime writers" (Seattle Times), in the august company of the all-time greats of mystery/noir/crime fiction genre: John D. MacDonald, Dashiell Hammett, James M. Cain, et al. The creator of such unforgettable classics as Stick, Out of Sight, and Get Shorty--not to mention the character of U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens, lately of TV''s hit series Justified--Leonard is in fine form with Mr. Paradise. A riveting Detroit-based thriller enlivened by Leonard''s trademark razor-sharp dialogue, Mr. Paradise follows a smart Victoria''s Secret model''s attempt to score big after surviving a double murder in a millionaire''s mansion...with a lonely cop acting as spoiler.
Chloe is a former escort who's found herself a steady job as the personal dancer to a wealthy, retired lawyer named Tony Paradiso. The money's good and the work, dancing around in a topless cheerleader's outfit while he watches old football games, is not exactly challenging. One night Chloe and Tony have two guests at their party--she brings along her roommate, Kelly, and he invites his business partner, Montez Taylor. What should have been a night of naughty fun soon turns deadly and before anyone can even cheer "Go, team!" there are two dead bodies on the floor. Called into the crime scene, detective Frank Delsa soon learns that he has more than just a double homicide on his hands--indeed, he must solve a complicated case involving an assumed identity and a safe deposit box full of money.
Elmore "Dutch" Leonard first became interested in writing at the age of 10 after reading a serialization of "All Quiet on the Western Front", which inspired him to write a play for his fifth-grade class. He dabbled a little more in writing during high school, but after graduating in 1943, he joined the Navy and served in the South Pacific until 1946, when he went back home to attend the University of Detroit. Graduating with a degree in English and philosophy in 1950, Leonard continued working for the advertising agency he joined a year earlier, at the same time seriously turning his attention to writing for the first time. Initially establishing himself as a respected western writer, Leonard published his first story in 1951, "The Trail of the Apache". A string of western stories followed and, in 1953, his first novel, "The Bounty Hunters", hit the stands. He continued his work in advertising while publishing a sizable number of westerns, including the award-winning novel "Hombre". Leonard left the advertising agency in 1961 to work for himself for five years, producing educational and industrial films, as well as sales and marketing products. When Twentieth Century Fox bought the rights to "Hombre" in 1966, he was able to devote his full attention to writing. In 1968, Leonard switched from writing westerns to the genre he is most known for today, a contemporary amalgamation of mystery and crime colored with a sharp, witty, and precise prose style that has established him as both a cult favorite and a critically acclaimed novelist. "Glitz", his first major bestseller, appeared in 1985, beginning a long string of successes. Many of his novels have been made into successful films, including "Get Shorty" and "Rum Punch" (released as "Jackie Brown"). Leonard has lived in his home state of Michigan for most of his life, settling down with his wife, Christine. They have had five children together and are grandparents many times over.
"Like the best crime thrillers--which means like most of Leonard's work--this novel is character-driven, and in its wonderfully rich, authentically human cast the story finds its surprises. The prose, as expected from Leonard, is perfect--in 304 pages, there's not a word that doesn't belong exactly where he's placed it. Brilliantly constructed, wise and tough, this book, like so many recent Leonards, offers a master class in how to write a novel."