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Mr. Paradise    by Elmore Leonard Amazon.com order for
Mr. Paradise
by Elmore Leonard
Order:  USA  Can
William Morrow, 2004 (2004)
Hardcover, Softcover, Audio, CD
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Mr. Paradise, actually Anthony Paradiso, is a dirty old man who has the money to indulge his sexual appetites. When he and his young, beautiful companion are shot to death in his home in a wealthy area of Detroit, a whole can of worms is uncovered. First, who were the hitmen? Were they hitmen? Where did drugs come into this? Were the guns involved ones that had been used in other hits? Where did the two hitmen meet? Did they have a manager? How weird is that?

My late father-in-law was a Detective Sergeant with a police force. After reading this book, I can understand why he was so cynical and sarcastic. Delsa, the police detective in Mr. Paradise, somehow manages to avoid the sarcasm, as he delves into the shooting. The street life depicted in this latest of Elmore Leonard's great books reads like blatant fiction, made up for the reading public. But there is a lick of veracity to the story that carries through the whole book. This is realism at its peak. Leonard has given his reading public another absorbing thriller. His players are almost too real believable, but one hopes to never run into anyone just like these characters. The action races from page to page with nary a moment to catch one's breath. The writing is tight with, I imagine, an authentic dialogue from the streets. And with it all, there is an undercurrent of a love story. Unconventional, but a love story nevertheless.

Is Elmore Leonard at his best here? In my opinion, all of his books are his best. He gives his all to his writing and has come up with another great tale in Mr. Paradise.

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