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Unknown Man #89 (Jack Ryan, #3)
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Unknown Man #89 (Jack Ryan #3)

3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  1,014 ratings  ·  68 reviews
Detroit process server Jack Ryan has a reputation for being the best in the business at finding people who don't want to be found. Now he's looking for a missing stockholder known only as "Unknown Man No. 89." But his missing man isn't "unknown" to everyone: a pretty blonde hates his guts and a very nasty dude named Royal wants him dead in the worst way. Which is very unfo ...more
ebook, 352 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books (first published 1977)
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Kemper
(This is a blog post I did that covers the two Leonard books featuring Jack Ryan.)

One of my favorite aspects about Elmore Leonard’s writing was that by shifting perspectives constantly he had the ability to make you sympathize with a character so that the hero of the story might not be who you thought it was at the beginning of a book. Fans of television’s Justified who pick up Pronto for the first time will probably be confused as to why the first half of the book makes Raylan Givens look like
...more
Aaron
Brilliant descriptions of (interestingly enough) morgues and AA meetings - some of Leonard's best writing.

In stock-Leonard hilarious style, he describes two thieves' ransacking of a room (to steal some papers) as follows:

"They used Mr. Perez's black Samsonite two-suiter. Virgil cleared off the desk, taking loose papers, folders, and notebooks, scratchpads, and everything in the desk, including hotel stationary and the room-service menu, and dropped everything in the suitcase open on the floor
...more
Paul Wilner
I think this is his best, though with him, it's hard to tell. He does it without letting you see him sweat.
Jamie
There’s a part in the middle of the book about alcoholics and AA and it’s too real, I’ve got to think, for it to be anything other than personal. It’s a beautiful part. It’s one of the best in the book. I think it’s why Elmore can do what he does like nobody else: so many parts of it are grounded in real life.
See, there was the hard way to do things and there was the easy way. The hard way looked good at the time; in fact, it looked like the only way. But it upset your stomach and could break yo
...more
Yong Lee
A fast paced crime story, that is smooth like a straight up vodka martini.
Tony
UNKNOWN MAN NO. 89. (1977). Elmore Leonard. ****.
This is basically a love story wrapped around by a criminal caper. Our protagonist is Jack C. Ryan. Ryan is in the business of serving warrants and summons. He makes a pretty good living – remembering that this is set in 1976 or so – by working for a variety of lawyers and the Detroit criminal courts. He is approached by a man, Mr. Perez, who wants Ryan to find a man for him. He claims that he has something of this man’s that the man doesn’t know
...more
Jake
Between 3-4 stars. I love Elmore Leonard but he has this frustrating habit of introducing one or two characters and/or one or two plot points too many. Thus, a neat thriller like this one becomes too muddled in the middle and while the end shakes out in an exciting manner, it makes it difficult to appreciate. I liked this book, wanted to really like it but, much like some of his works, it tries to do too much.
Patrick O'Neil
Sadly, I just lost interest at page 212...
Phil Freeman
I'm not as much of an Elmore Leonard worshipper as some. I definitely prefer his Detroit books to his later, cutesier stuff, though. (I haven't read any of his very late novels, when he seemed to be trying out exotic locales and time periods just to stretch himself.) This is a pretty solid novel from the late 70s, not as dark as, say, 52 Pick-Up, and fairly linear/minimalist in its plotting. There are twists, but they make sense, and the tone is consistent throughout, with no wacky digressions o ...more
Rick McNeely
One of Elmore Leonard's best. Great "trashy detective fiction," which is one of my favorite genres. A perfect snapshot of Detroit during the Superfly Seventies.
Don Massenzio
This crime novel shows further development in Leonard's writing style. This book revives one of his earlier characters from The Big Bounce, Jack Ryan, as a Detroit-based process server that searches for a man that has property coming to him that he is unaware of. The story has many twists and turns and ends up with a clever Ryan coming out ahead in the end. I was struck by a new technique that had not appeared in any earlier Leonard novels. He had two simultaneous threads going in the story and ...more
Stacey
My first Elmore Leonard novel, and probably not my last. A fast-paced suspense set in 1970s Detroit, it made for light, fun, engaging reading. Jack Ryan is a process server and recovering alcoholic who sets out to find a missing person - Robert Leary, Jr., a released convict who doesn't know he has inherited some big money. Along the way, Ryan gets tangled up with an ex-con out for revenge, a villainous mastermind and his brutish sidekick, and the beautiful, troubled wife of Robert Leary. Full o ...more
Matt
Might be the best of Leonard's 70s Detroit novels.
Michael Naughton
Thanks to Hollywood, we all know Mr. Majestyk, 52 Pickup, Get Shorty, Be Cool, KillShot, etc., but Unknown Man # 89, published in 1977 after Swag, is an unknown gem that'll keep you flipping pages at night. Leonard weaves an original story of Jack Ryan, a Detroit process server, who is hired to find Bobby Lear by a con man named Mr. Perez. The con deals with unclaimed stocks and Ryan will hit pay dirt if he can just locate him for Mr. Perez. Easy enough right..? It's what Ryan does for a living. ...more
wally
#11 or 12 from leonard for me...kindle...this one dedicated "for peter"

there's a quote early on:

a prompt man is a lonely man.
---andrew donahue

maybe he's related to phil, i dunno.

story begins:

a friend of ryan's said to him one time, "yeah, but at least you don't take any shit from anybody."

ryan said to his friend, "i don't know, the way things've been going, maybe it's about time i started taking some."

this had been a few years ago. ryan remembered it as finally waking up, deciding to get off h
...more
John
Dec 19, 2008 John rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: toughnecks w/ a touch of the marshmallow
Recommended to John by: another writer & Leonard buff
Got to give it up for the E man, Ehhl-moh Leonard, in particular for these nifty titles. Wouldn't you know it, one of his most provocative -- unknown? & as many as 89? -- draws a reader into one of his very best, my favorite of those I've been through, an early effort (first pub. 1977) more vital & layered. UNKNOWN is a "crime novel" I suppose, though a more specific designation would be the lowlife novel, one in which our moral core is Jack Ryan (an unfortunate name, but Leonard got the ...more
Tom Marcinko
“In this work,” Ryan told his friend, “you can be a boy scout, a humanitarian, you can be an ass chaser, there’s plenty of that. I mean, broads, ones that’re lonely or grateful. You can lean on people, stick it to them if you get a kick out of that. Christ, like a guy I know, he’s in the collection business now, Jay Walt. He likes to torture people, get them to squirm or whimper. You can do that. Or you can wish them luck and not horse them around any. We’re all making the same trip, right? Tryi ...more
David Ward
Unknown Man #89 (Jack Ryan #3) by Elmore Leonard (Harper Collins 1977)(Fiction - Mystery) - This is Elmore Leonard channeling Raymond Chandler. It sounds exactly like Raymond Chandler. The problem is that I hate Raymond Chandler. Generally speaking, I really enjoy Elmore Leonard, but I couldn't finish this book. My rating: 4/10, finished 5/6/14.
Stephen
When you join the military you only get to bring a few things with you to basic training (toothbrush, razor..etc). I brought this book. I had started reading it during the summer after high school and simply couldn't let going into the Navy stop me from reading it.

This really was one of the first books I chose to read on my own as a young adult. I had read a few other worthwhile things like 'Invisible Man' in high school, but those were still really for school projects, if you know what I mean.
...more
Michael
This book was a little bit of a letdown. Generally, Leonard creates a trashy world in his novels - usually either that of Southern Florida or Hollywood or the Wild West. This particular story takes place in Detroit and the setting couldn't be more mundane. And it's not Detroit's fault. "The Snowman's Children" by Glen Hirshberg takes place in Detroit and the setting of that book is one of the most memorable in my recent reading.

The character's motivations were muddled, and Leonard's usually snap
...more
Tom
solid Elmore Leonard - not one of his best, the characters seemed rather thin compared to his best work
Jae
Another fun and interesting Elmore Leonard book. This one deals with process server who gets hired by a slightly shady businessman to find someone because this someone might be owed a lot of money for some old stock he might not know he owns. Of course, the slightly shady businessman isn't doing this out of the goodness of his heart--he expects half the proceeds. The process server gets in over his head when the man he's searching for--a known murderer--mysteriously dies, and the guy's skid-row ...more
Mats
A bit of a bore. Tough language doesn't carry uninteresting characters and weak story this time around.
Victor Gibson
It could that there's no such thing as a bad Elmore Leonard book, but I'm less sure about Unknown Man 89 than I have been about some of his other wonderful writings. Maybe Detroit does not suit his narrative quite as well as the deep south, or California. But of course it's still an easy read, and was ideal for entertaining me on a transatlantic flight. It is 341 pages long. I heard the author on the radio say that all his book made 300 pages, and if one was not quite long enough they took a cou ...more
Jim
This was my introduction to the "poet laureate of wild assholes with revolvers", as lauded by the NME. I was attracted by a Stephen King blurb on the front, as this used to be a good measure for a good read (used to be!) I immediately was a convert and have since read loads of both Leonard's crime and western novels. It's difficult to think of a bad one. What makes him special? The dialogue, obviously. The stripped down prose. The off-hand humour. The wise broads and the quiet, introspective her ...more
Matt Phillips
My favorite from Leonard.
Darren
what book was Jack Ryan #2? This one was great
Julien Loeper
Unknown Man #89 is full of Elmore Leonard's trademark dialogue and ever so twisty plots that complicate as more threads are spun. My biggest problem with the book is that the characters are one dimensional, save for the protagonist's female companion and the villain's assistant, a Mr. Raymond Gidre, who is quite the amusing and entertaining character. The book ends abruptly and leaves a few plot threads unresolved but it's a fun read if you're looking for a simple crime novel with some of the be ...more
Loralie
always a fast paced story
Deborah
Not one of Leonard's better books, in my opinion.
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Elmore John Leonard lived in Dallas, Oklahoma City and Memphis before settling in Detroit in 1935. After serving in the navy, he studied English literature at the University of Detroit where he entered a short story competition. His earliest published novels in the 1950s were westerns, but Leonard went on to specialize in crime fiction and suspense thrillers, many of which have been adapted into m ...more
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