Thursday, February 26, 2009

We Still Love You, Elmore

TFA Guest Blogs today: I must be the last Elmore Leonard fan to read UP IN HONEY'S ROOM. It came out a year and a half ago. I told myself I was savoring the moment, waiting for just the right time when I could read it through.
But the truth is, I was also afraid. My wife, another big Elmore fan, read the book a year ago and told me it wasn't up to par, not your typical Elmore thrill ride.

I didn't want to believe it, so I didn't read it. Not until last week on a beach vacation. Oh, my. The wife was right. Rather than comment myself, though ... rather than ever say anything negative about one of America's greatest living writers, here's a review I found on B&N that says it very well:

More Character than Plot
by Anonymous
September 25, 2007: If what draws you to Elmore Leonard is his easy flowing way with characters, you'll love this one. Stay away, though, if you're looking for a tight plot or loads of suspense and action. Most of these characters are audacious to the point of making you laugh out loud, and, while there is risk, danger, and murder, it seems less important than how everyone will work out his relationship with everyone else. I loved it, but I also like his books with more action and thrills.

The Odd Thing about Walter Schoen, German born but now running a butcher shop in Detroit, he's a dead ringer for Heinrich Himmler, head of the SS and the Gestapo. Honey Deal, Walter's American wife, doesn't know that Walter is a member of a spy ring and gives shelter to escaped German POWs. But she's tired of telling him jokes he doesn't understand—it's time for a divorce.

Along comes Carl Webster, the Hot Kid of the Marshals Service. He's looking for Jurgen Schrenk. Carl's pretty sure Walter's involved with keeping Schrenk hidden so he gets to know Honey, hoping she'll lead him to Walter. Honey likes the hot kid marshal and doesn't much care that he's married. But all Carl wants is to get Jurgen without getting shot.

Next, Carl meets Vera Mezwa, the Ukrainian head of the spy ring, and her lover Bohdan, with a sly way of killing. And then there's Otto—the Waffen-SS major who runs away with a nice Jewish girl. It's Elmore Leonard's world—gritty, funny, and full of surprises.

Thanks to Elmore Leonard, Barnes & Noble, Wikipedia, and Elmore's 10 Tips for Fiction Writers

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