Thursday, February 1, 2018

Leonard Paperback: "The Switch" by Elmore Leonard

Leonard Paperback: The Switch by Elmore Leonard, 1978, (my paperback is not handy).

A decent novel, but nothing that I was wowed over. Except for reading Raylan a couple years ago it had been a while since I read any Leonard novels. I wasn't too impressed with Raylan either. Maybe my tastes have changed. Maybe the book was below average for Leonard.

Short: Two ex-cons decide to kidnap the wife of a Detroit real estate developer and extort some of the developer's freshly laundered Caribbean cash.

Long: Mickey doesn't much love her golf loving husband, Frank, whose life revolves around golf at the country club, drinks at the country club, and dinner at the country club. Mickey and Frank have a teen son whose is on track to be a professional tennis player. Mickey is a devoted tennis mom with no job and she is getting sick of her life and dependence on Frank.

Ordell and Louis both recently got out of prison. They met doing time in Ohio and Ordell has been selling stolen goods to Frank's real estate company. Frank uses the stolen goods to furnish apartments. Ordell has found out that Frank is claiming a lower occupancy rate on his rental units and hiding the extra rent income in a Bahamas bank.

Ordell invites Louis in on a kidnapping plot to nab Mickey and hold her for ransom. They figure Frank cannot call the police because if he does the IRS will eventually learn about the hidden dough. Ordell has also hooked up with a weird security guard with a nazi fetish. Fetishist has his own house and a spare bedroom set-up as a cell for Mickey. What could go wrong?

Things happen. Frank goes to the Bahamas to "meet with clients" but is actually meeting his paid for girlfriend. Mickey's son goes to a month long tennis camp in Florida. Mickey is kidnapped from her home (I'm glossing over some other plot points) and watched over by Fetishist, Louis, and Ordell.

Frank gets the ransom call and realizes, "Hey, I don't have to get a divorce. Not if the kidnappers carry through on their promise to kill Mickey." Frank ignores the demands. Mickey wonders what is going on. Ordell and Louis wonder what is going on. Frank wonder's if Mickey is dead yet.

Anyway. There is a shoot-out. Some sex. Some back stabbing. Some scheming. I just never got too into the story and the sort-of Stockholm Syndrome thing with Mickey annoyed me. There was nothing really driving the story for me.

1. I found out that there is a 2014 adaptation entitled Life of Crime. I have a library DVD copy of that at home but not yet watched it.
2. I just read that Ordell and Louis are the main bad guys in Rum Punch. I cannot recall if I read Rum Punch but that was the basis for the flick Jackie Brown.

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