MR. PARADISE by Elmore Leonard



Leonard (Tishomingo Blues, 2001, etc.) returns to his Detroit roots for another unlikely romance amid the thorns of crime.

Chloe Robinette used to be a call girl, but now she takes calls only from Anthony Paradiso, the 84-year-old lawyer who’s paying her $5,000 a week to do pretty much as he’d like. She’s done such a good job making him happy that she lives in hope of being mentioned in his will, or coming into something a little special that Mr. Paradiso’s left in the care of Montez Taylor, his longtime retainer. One night Mr. Paradiso, who enjoys live entertainment along with his University of Michigan football videotapes, asks Chloe to bring another cheerleader with her, and Chloe obliges with her roommate, lingerie model Kelly Barr. Wanting to make a nice gesture to Montez, Mr. Paradiso offers him one of the girls for his own use and tosses a coin to determine which one. Things would be simple, though amusing in Leonard’s most laid-back manner, if the nod went to Chloe. But Kelly, who doesn’t much like this stranger, retires upstairs with him—a fateful stroke of luck that creates unexpected complications when, shortly thereafter, gunshots shatter the stillness of Mr. Paradiso’s house. In no time at all the survivors are talking to Acting Lt. Frank Delson, of Detroit Homicide, and not long thereafter, one of them is falling for him. Leonard, who’s too cool to simply recycle the salt-and-pepper romance of Out of Sight (1996), crowds his canvas with the survivors and interested parties to another massacre across town and brings the two crimes to a slow boil—definitely a cool tactic, but one that entangles him with lowlifes who are a lot less interesting than his romantic leads.

This time, in fact, the hero and heroine have a pretty easy time of it. Nice for them, anyway.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-06-008395-6
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 2003


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