When the Women Come Out to Dance, and Other Stories: Stories

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9780060083984: When the Women Come Out to Dance, and Other Stories: Stories

In his more than three dozen books, Elmore Leonard has captured the imagination of millions of readers as few writers can. A literary icon praised by The New York Times Book Review as "the greatest crime writer of our time, perhaps ever," he has influenced many contemporary writers and is known for both the quality and the accessibility of his writing.

In this collection of new and recently published short fiction, Leonard demonstrates the superb characterizations, dead-on dialogue, vivid atmosphere, and driving plotting that have made him a household name. And once more this master of crime illustrates that the line between the law and the lawbreakers is not as firm as we might think.

Federal marshal Karen Sisco, from the bestselling novel Out of Sight, returns in "Karen Makes Out," once again inadvertently mixing pleasure with business. In "Fire in the Hole," Raylan Givens, last seen in Riding the Rap and Pronto, meets up with an old friend, but they're now on different sides of the law. In the title story, "When the Women Come Out to Dance," Mrs. Mahmood gets more than she bargains for when she conspires with her maid to end her unhappy marriage. In all nine stories -- each unique in their own right -- reluctant heroes and laid-back lowlifes struggle for power, survival, and their fifteen minutes of fame.

Vivid, hilarious, and unfailingly human, these stories ring true with Elmore Leonard's signature deadpan social observations and diabolical eye for the foibles of the good guys and the bad.

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Review:

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

About the Author:

Elmore Leonard has written more than three dozen books including Cuba Libre, Rum Punch, and Get Shorty, and numerous screenplays. He has an unparalleled reputation among lovers of mayhem, suspense, and just plain wonderful writing. A Grand Master Award winner of the Mystery Writers of America, he has been likened to everyone from Balzac to Dostoevsky to Dickens to Dashiell Hammett -- but he is, in fact, entirely and entertainingly sui generis.

He lives in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.

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