Elmore Leonard has an unparalleled reputation in the world of crime fiction. Published alongside PRONTO and the brand new paperback UP IN HONEY'S ROOM. He has won numerous awards, including the prestigious CWA Diamond Dagger. He always receives first-class reviews: 'Wildly entertaining' Entertainment Weekly 'America's greatest crime writer' Newsweek 'A sharp exploration of loyalty and disloyalty, trust and betrayal' New York Times Elmore Leonard's engaging mix of mordant humor, nervous tension, mayhem and poignancy has been imitated by many, but the author remains the original. And he's getting even better' Wall Street Journal 'Leonard has a special ability to conceive stories that seem effortlessly real without requiring even the slightest suspension of disbelief' Boston Globe 'Dialogue to die for' Booklist 'The crime laureate' Independent 'He's the boss, the grandmaster, the chief, the big cheese, and anyone with even the faintest interest in crime fiction cannot afford to ignore him' NME 'Elmore Leonard can write circles around almost anybody active in the crime novel today' New York Times
Elmore Leonard has written more than forty books during his phenomenal career, many of which have been made into successful movies. He has been named Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America.
One of the great pleasures of Leonard's novels is his knack for putting morally ambivalent but sympathetic characters in unexpected situations. Who could be more morally ambivalent than a Detroit cigarette smuggler who goes on the lam by spending five years as a missionary priest among the victims of Rwanda's horrific genocide? And what could be more unexpected than a priest using orphan relief as a pretext for shaking down a gangster? Pagan Babies resembles the author's controversial book Touch, about a former missionary who experiences the stigmata, but religion is less central to this new story. As with most of Leonard's works, its plot revolves around a delightful collection of characters, no two of whom can fully trust each other, thereby guaranteeing many surprises. Ron McLarty is an ideal reader for this sort of book; his voice conveys both irony and toughness, while displaying the same sense of exasperation at moral ambiguity that the listener must feel. Highly recommended for popular fiction collections. Kent Rasmussen, Thousand Oaks, CA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Buscemi offers a standard, dry reading of Leonard's sly new tale, which is appropriate (though his attempt at producing African accents is unconvincing) for the opening scene: Rwanda after its rabid interethnic violence. Unordained priest "Father" Terry Dunn ministers to the local congregants (47 of whom were slashed to death) and shacks up with his housekeeper until he decides to take matters of justice into his own hands. Having arrived in Africa on the lam from a criminal charge in the U.S., Terry returns home to Detroit under similar circumstances. But Buscemi's tone never becomes as lithe as Leonard's tale does in Detroit; his best effort at atmosphere is the smart-alecky tone he gives to Terry's confederate Debbie Dewey, an aspiring stand-up comic just released from prison for having tried to run over the ex-boyfriend who scammed her out of thousands of dollars. Debbie intends to scam him back and joins up with Terry, who has his own shady operation. Debbie's ex fronts for the mob and is in cahoots with a witless hit man called Mutt, who in turn allies himself with an ex-smuggling partner of Terry's. Everyone tries to protect his or her own interest in the rapidly circulating money. One can't help feeling that the abridgement has cut out some vital material before Terry's final return to Rwanda. All in all, though, this is a hugely entertaining story by LeonardÄalbeit one conveyed only moderately well by Buscemi. Simultaneous release with the Dell hardcover (Forecasts, July 3). (Sept.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.