Review

Mr. Paradise

by Elmore Leonard



The literature accompanying MR. PARADISE describes it as Elmore
Leonard's "...first Detroit homicide novel in more than twenty
years." My initial reaction was one of mild disbelief. It couldn't
have been that long but, yeah, that's right. I mean, if you're
splitting hairs. FREAKY DEAKY was published in 1988, but that ---
strictly speaking --- wasn't a Detroit homicide novel, even though
it took place in Detroit. And 1989's KILLSHOT was set in rural
Michigan and Missouri, but not Detroit. So you pretty much have to
go all the way back to CITY PRIMEVAL to experience one of Leonard's
"Detroit homicide" novels. At least until now. MR. PARADISE makes
it worth the wait.

Mr. Paradise is Anthony Paradiso, an 84-year-old retired criminal
attorney with more money than God. He has all the things that money
can buy, including a wide screen television to watch tapes of
University of Michigan games where the Maize and Blue emerge
victorious, an in-house chef named Lloyd, a gofer named Montez, and
a five-thousand-dollar-a-week girlfriend named Chloe. Chloe's
duties include (but are by no means limited to) dressing as a
University of Michigan cheerleader and performing routines that one
is not likely to see on television or in a stadium anytime
soon.

Chloe recruits her roommate, Kelly, to assist her one night in the
routine. Kelly, a Victoria's Secret catalogue model, reluctantly
agrees. Things go wildly wrong when two hitmen crash the party,
leaving Paradise and one of the women dead. Detroit homicide
detective Frank Delsa is assigned to the case, even though he is
already working on another grisly multiple homicide. The case
involving Mr. Paradise, however, begins to take priority for him as
he finds himself attracted to the one beautiful witness who holds
the key to the identity of the perpetrators as well as the motive
behind the murders. Delsa's witness is, for reasons of her own,
keeping some of her knowledge hidden, even from Delsa --- the one
person who can protect her.

Elmore Leonard, who seems to be incapable of disappointing, remains
in top form; though MR. PARADISE is his 38th novel, he continues to
surprise, amuse and amaze. Delsa, for example, performs a bit of
detective work that, at least to my knowledge, has never been
performed in the annals of detective fiction. It's not something
that decorum would permit me to recount here, but even if I could,
it is so off-the-wall that you have to experience it, and MR.
PARADISE, for yourself.

For longtime fans of Leonard, all of the man's trademarks --- the
characters, the plot twists, the double-crosses, and the snappy,
masterful dialogue --- are present. For readers encountering
Leonard for the first time, consider MR. PARADISE the first taste
that will lead to an immediate literary addiction.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on January 22, 2011

Mr. Paradise
by Elmore Leonard

  • Publication Date: May 24, 2005
  • Genres: Fiction, Thriller
  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTorch
  • ISBN-10: 0060083964
  • ISBN-13: 9780060083960