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Be Cool    by Elmore Leonard order for
Be Cool
by Elmore Leonard
Order:  USA  Can
HarperTorch, 2005 (1999)
Softcover, Paperback, CD

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* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

I have to admit that while I have not read all of Elmore Leonard's many books, I have read a number of them and enjoyed each one - as is the case with Be Cool. Leonard writes as though he is telling a story. Vocally. Not as printed prose. As a result, his words ring true to life. As though his characters are in the room speaking with the reader.

Ex-mafioso, now Hollywood producer, Chili Palmer is having lunch with a former colleague, and witnesses the man's execution. Chili, seeking a story line for a new script, combines looking for the killer with watching how the search plays out. In essence, he is letting his script write itself by observing the continuing drama. Chili is a complex character, able to leave a life involved with crime to segue into the Hollywood scene. In so doing, he becomes involved with the record producing business. If a modicum of what Leonard writes of this huge business is true, it's a wonder anyone survives in it. Kill or be killed seems to be the norm.

Be Cool is fast-paced, with enough action to suit the most avid action fan. The fast-talking characters are not the kind of people I have on my Christmas card list, but they work very well for a really intriguing plot line. Kudos for Elmore Leonard for keeping his standards high. A thoroughly enjoyable book.

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