Tuesday, November 6, 2012

52 Pick-Up by Elmore Leonard (1974): Girl on Film

52 Pick-Up is only the second Elmore Leonard novel I've ever read but that will soon change (I recently acquired two other Avon '80s paperbacks, Split Images and La Brava). Long heralded as America's greatest living crime writer, Leonard writes the kinds of books that make other crime writers jealous. He makes it look effortless, a cool breeze of criminality with a black humor tang and a clockwork execution. Taut and believable dialogue spoken by characters depicted with such realism you can nearly feel them breathing down the back of your neck; suspense and action depicted with a bare-boned practicality that avoids overwrought dramatics; characters who, good, bad or in between, always surprise, revealing depths of fortitude and resourcefulness to get themselves out of serious deep shit. Also, 52 Pick-Up is an early example of snuff film in pop fiction, far as I can tell.

Detroit businessman Harry Mitchell has had only one affair during his 22-year marriage. Unfortunately, someone caught the indiscretion on film and wants $100,000 to keep it a secret. If Harry doesn't pay, the new price will be his life. But the hoods picked the wrong pigeon. Harry doesn't get mad--he gets even.



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  2. The film version of this I always felt was a little underrated. An exciting thriller that takes place in the porn world and John Glover, an actor whose name should be known to more people was just great as the bad guy.

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