GET SHORTY’S REVEIW


5/17/2004


English


Get Shorty Book Review





Nobody writes openings like Elmore Leonard. Case in point: "When Chili first came to Miami Beach twelve years ago they were having one of their off-and-on cold winters: thirty-four degrees the day he met Tommy Carlo for lunch at Vesuvius on South Collins and had his leather jacket ripped off." You need to know about this because you need to know why there\'s bad blood between Chili Palmer and Ray Bones, the guy who stole his coat and is now his boss--and has ordered him to collect $4,200 from a dead guy. Except the guy didn\'t die; he went to Las Vegas with $300,000. Therefore, Chili goes to Las Vegas, one thing leads to another, and soon he\'s in Los Angeles, hanging out with a movie producer named Harry Zimm and learning what it takes to be a player in Hollywood.


Get Shorty is classic Elmore Leonard: While other people write "crime fiction," Leonard\'s come up with a great social comedy that happens to be about criminals. Taking his latest fictiion turn in Hollywood, Leonard, whose work includes screenplays as well as other bestselling novels such as Glitz and Freaky Deaky , adds insider knowledge to his humor in this roundly enjoyable behind-the-scenes tour of filmdom. Slightly disaffected Chili Palmer, a small-time loan shark with big-time style, is a vintage Leonard hero. Elmore Leonard may be America\'s leading writer for fast-paced fascinating dialogue and plots. With "Get Shorty" Leonard has produced a modern crime novel classic; a fascinating, yet very funny, update of Chandler with some sly, thoughtful commentary on the Hollywood film business. Those unfamiliar with Leonard\'s prose will be in for a treat. Leonard has crafted some of the best streetwise style I\'ve come across since reading some of William Gibson\'s early novels. Leonard has excellently brought to life such interesting characters as mobster Chili Palmer and "B" movie film producer Harry Zim. As usual, Elmore Leonard works in the fringes of society where small-time hoods and citizens trying to scrape by reduce the legal and moral proposition of the choices they make to get what they want. This book is mostly amusing for its send-ups of Hollywood and the for the false machismo of Latin drug hustlers. \'Get Shorty\' is certainly a most unusual novel from Elmore Leonard. Sure there is the odd criminal characterizations Leonard is famous for, complete with some very funny moments. But it seems that the author tried something a bit tricky by doing a Hollywood \'spin\' on an Elmore Leonard novel and the results are mixed.


In Get Shorty we have the usual south Florida loan shark nasties out to get someone who does not want to pay. This fellow lands a bundle on an insurance scam and runs to Hollywood. One of the nasties (well, I guess he is reformed nasty) chases him down and gets involved with Hollywood luvvies. He then finds his adventures to be of more interest to film makers than another script originally being peddled to producers. Anyway, it gets all a bit difficult and fixed. Big disappoint to Leonard fans: the crime element to Get Shorty is not the highlight of the book. All and all I think that Get Shorty is a great book and should be read by every teenager that likes gangster/ mafia novels such as Scarface or Reservoir Dogs.