Title: MR. PARADISE - Scarce Fine Copy of The First...
Publisher: New York City, NY: William Morrow, 2004
Book Condition: Fine
Dust Jacket Condition: Fine
Signed: Signed by Author
Edition: 1st Edition.
1st Printing. Signed. 291 pages. Published in 2004. The author's second "Detroit" novel. Now considered a contemporary classic. The First Hardcover Edition. Precedes and should not be confused with all other subsequent editions. Published in a regular first print run as a hardcover original only. The First Edition is now scarce. Presents Elmore Leonard's "Mr. Paradise". "Leonard returns to Motor City for another exemplary crime thriller. Chloe Robinette, an escort, is on a $5, 000 monthly retainer from wealthy, retired octogenarian lawyer Anthony Paradiso. Her duties include dancing topless in a cheerleader's outfit for him as he watches videos of old University of Michigan football games. On a night she persuades her roommate, Kelly Barr, a Victoria's Secret model, to join her in the dancing, Chloe and Paradiso, A. K. A. Mr. Paradise, are shot dead in Paradiso's mansion by two middle-aged white thugs. The hit was set up by Paradiso's right-hand man, Montez Taylor, who is angry at Paradiso for cutting him out of his will. Montez then asks the shocked Kelly to impersonate Chloe in order to scam valuables from Paradiso's safe deposit box, to which Chloe had a key. Enter Frank Delsa, a Detroit homicide cop, who smells a rat and falls for Kelly while sorting matters out. She falls for him, too, but will the hit men and/or Montez take her out since she can identify them as conspirators? 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. Offers a master class in how to write a novel" (Publishers Weekly). An absolute "must-have" title for Elmore Leonard collectors. This copy is very prominently and beautifully signed in black pen on the title page by Elmore Leonard. It is signed directly on the page itself, not on a tipped-in page. This title is a contemporary classic. This is one of few such signed copies of the First Hardcover Edition/First Printing still available online and is in especially fine condition: Clean, crisp, and bright, a pristine beauty. A scarce signed copy thus. One of the finest American mystery writers of our time. A fine copy. (SEE ALSO OTHER ELMORE LEONARD TITLES IN OUR CATALOG) ISBN 0060083956. Bookseller Inventory # 10982
Roommates Kelly and Chloe are enjoying their lives and their downtown Detroit loft just fine. Kelly is a Victoria's Secret catalog model. Chloe is an escort, until she decides to ditch her varied clientele in favor of a steady gig as girlfriend to eighty-four-year-old retired lawyer Tony Paradiso, a.k.a. Mr. Paradise.
Evenings at Mr. Paradise's house, there's always an old Michigan football game on TV. And when Chloe's around, there's a cheerleader, too, complete with pleated skirt and blue-and-gold pompoms. One night Chloe convinces Kelly to join in the fun, along with Montez Taylor, Tony's smooth-talking right-hand man.
But things go awry and before the end of the evening there will be two corpses, two angry hit men, one switch of identity, a safe-deposit box full of loot up for grabs, and, fast on the scene, detective Frank Delsa, who now has a double homicide -- and a beautiful, willful witness -- to add to his already heavy caseload.
With a cool cast, snappy dialogue, and all the twists and turns fans crave, Mr. Paradise is Elmore Leonard at home in Detroit and sharper than ever.
Review: It's a dubious proposition from the outset, destined to lead to trouble: Chloe Robinette, a high-end former Detroit call girl, asks her lingerie model roommate, Kelly Barr, to help her entertain a wealthy octogenarian trial lawyer named Anthony Paradiso. By "entertain," she means donning a cheerleader's skimpy skirt, but going topless, and doing rah-rah routines beside a TV set while Paradiso--"Mr. Paradise"--watches videotaped football games. A bit kinky for Kelly's taste, but she finally goes along--only to be caught in the middle of a contract hit on Paradiso and Chloe. Rather than tell what little she knows of these crimes, Kelly buys into a scheme, concocted by Paradiso's right-hand man, Montez Taylor, that could lead to a huge payoff from the lawyer's estate. But only if the 27-year-old Kelly can convincingly assume Chloe's identity ...
Elmore Leonard, who's made his career writing about not-too-bright bad guys, fills Mr. Paradise with several memorable specimens of that breed. In addition to Montez, who'd resented his politically incorrect boss for cutting him out of his will, there's also a bottom-feeding defense attorney, Avern Cohn, who runs a murder-for-hire operation on the side, and his well-armed employees of the month, "tough monkeys" Carl Fontana and Arthur Krupa. Less credibly and entertainingly crafted is Frank Delsa, the widowed homicide detective whose hunt for Paradiso's killers is complicated by his attraction to the curvilinear Kelly. This romantic subplot is overly predictable and deflates early expectations that the cunning young model is playing some deeper game here, working an angle that neither Delsa nor Montez anticipates.
After penning a string of character-propelled novels set in Florida (including Glitz, Out of Sight, and the particularly winning La Brava), it's good to see Leonard exploiting the Detroit backdrop again, as he did so expertly in a few of his earlier successes (City Primeval and Killshot, for instance). Yet while Mr. Paradise is rich with comic dialogue and cop-shop color, it never goes beyond the expectations of a Leonard work. This author is too good not to take more chances. --J. Kingston Pierce
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