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The Big Bounce
Elmore Leonard
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The Big Bounce (Jack Ryan #1)

3.42 of 5 stars 3.42  ·  rating details  ·  1,337 ratings  ·  75 reviews

Jack Ryan always wanted to play pro ball. But he couldn't hit a curveball, so he turned his attention to less legal pursuits. A tough guy who likes walking the razor's edge, he's just met his match -- and more -- in Nancy. She's a rich man's plaything, seriously into thrills and risk, and together she and Jack are pure heat ready to explode. But when simple housebreaking

Unknown Binding, 192 pages
Published December 31st 1989 by Armchair Detective Library (first published 1969)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,960)
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Dan Schwent
Washed up wannabe ball player Jack Ryan has a brush with the law and soon gets entangled with Nancy, a rich man's young girlfriend. Turns out Nancy is a thrillseeker and soon has Jack headed for another brush with the law...

If I'm not mistaken, this is Elmore Leonard's first crime book. While it's by no means as polished as his later works, it's the prototype from which the rest evolved.

Jack Ryan, the protagonist, is a conflicted guy pulled into a femme fatale's orbit and finds himself powerles
(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
I honestly wanted to give this book two and a half stars.

this is a deeply unsatisfying book. Leonard is a fantastic writer and his skill shows in certain aspects of this work, but for the most part, this book just doesn't function well. I kept wondering why the characters were acting the way they were, there seemed to be no underlying motivations to any of them. THe plot didnt feel like a heist novel, it seemed to be filled with hot air and unsure as to where to go, never finding solid ground.
Thumbs up on this ending. It goes where you least expect it and cuts short of the “big bounce,” but man, still completely satisfying. Great example of Elmore letting his people take the plot where it wants to go instead of the other way around.
Richard Ward
I liked parts of it, but didn't love any of it. It took too long to hook me, and a less patient reader would have given up. And then the ending was way too abrupt. The characters, too, were only just good, not great. I liked some of the background characters better than the main protagonist. Because I'm sympathetic to immigrant farm workers, I liked it that this book was, too. But it's not a political book by any means, just a light, quick read. It's the "other side" of crime fiction, the caper, ...more
Saeed Saeed
An old Leonard tale from 1969. Very pulpy with cardboard characters. Some fun and oddball moments but forgettable. Great thing that Leonard got better and better with time.
Carl Brush
in The Big Bounce we meet for the first time (as far as I know), on Frank Ryan. He's a petty criminal and drifter whose first caper in the novel is to sneak into a resort house and steal the wallets of vacationers who have left their pants and purses behind while they surf and sunbath. Pretty daring stuff.

He wanders around the resort a bit more, looking for opportunities of one kind or another and ends up getting himself hired as a handyman by the resort's owner, Mister Majestyk (who later has a
I thought the title of this book sounded familiar when I picked it up for full retail price at Barnes and Noble, but I didn't remember it was made into a terrible movie of the same name until just this moment. For that, I'm thankful. The protagonist of the book, Jack Ryan, is a classic Elmore Leonard leading man. He's laconic, attractive to women in a manly sort of way and not afraid to break the rules. He lives by a strict code of what's right and what's wrong. But it's HIS code, not THE MAN'S ...more
Tom Marcinko
His first contemporary crime novel (I think): 1969. Even references the Blues Magoos, the Loving [sic.] Spoonful, and the Mamas and the Papas. Wishing Hard Case Crime would reissue it with a suitable cover, maybe the original one. This one sounded more like a self-conscious imitation of Hemingway or James M. Cain in places.

When I later read Mr. Majestyk, I was disappointed that it wasn't the Mr. M. in this book.

Elmore Leonard's Jack Ryan, not Tom Clancy's, or the jerk who was married to Jeri Rya
It is hard for me to understand what I think about this book. I want to say I didn't like it -- but I've spent quite a bit of time thinking about the two main characters, dwelling on them, wondering if they depict a reality I am just too far from to understand. One thing I know: it is wrong to package a story like this with the typical splashy Elmore Leonard cover -- it is not much of a heist story or crime caper, more of an extended character study, a character study of one thoroughly amoral ch ...more
I'm slowly becoming a big Elmore Leonard fan. He writes solid, modern crime fiction about interesting people who rarely do the expected. It doesn't hurt that the dialog is usually a joy to listen to. This was one of his first after an early start writing westerns, about an ex-con/ex-baseball player and a thrill-seeking kept woman. How they fit and how they don't kept me engossed throughout.
Don Massenzio
This book, the first of Leonard's Jack Ryan books, was a totally different style from those I had read by him before. It focused on the character of Jack Ryan, an ex baseball player and petty thief, who gets a job working at a lakeside resort. He gets into a relationship with the mistress of a married businessman and joins her in pranks that include breaking windows and breaking into houses. Eventually the story builds to her shooting another man while Ryan seemingly helps her to cover up the ev ...more
While most books are intrinsically better than their film counterparts, this one blows its movie away. I think that's more because the Owen Wilson flick was awful, while the book is slightly above average. Having grown up in the thumb of Michigan, it was really cool to read a story set in the area. I think this was Elmore Leonard's first crime book, and it's a decent first offering. The characters aren't as strong or witty as his later works, but Jack Ryan definitely has that "cool" that Leonard ...more
Anthony DiClaudio
This is the first Elmore Leonard books I've read, so perhaps that'll explain why I don't hate it like many of the people on here who've reviewed it.

To me, it's simply a shaggy-dog story: You expect a big bounce, and no such bounce occurs, and that's the point. It's about someone finally maturing to the point where he can ride out the thrill of meeting a femme fatale until she shows herself for what she truly is: unstable, chaotic, destined to self-destruct... which she does. It's sexy and exciti
not bad. the story was all over the place
Fred R
Sort of an odd story. Still pretty good.
read this on the kindle, back in march, the 15th and here it is months later, the 19th of december. i also shelved this under "time passages" and that has to do with the al stewart song...and the use of imagination, as portrayed in story...

...leonard does this often...has a character imagine something and it can be short and sweet or a tad longer. i do not recall exactly the scene in this one...and...there is a place where i can go to find that information but i will not go there. now.

story begi
Wilson Lanue
When people tell me they didn't enjoy a story because they didn't care about the main character, sometimes I hear "The lead just wasn't sympathetic enough." It's not a complaint I usually share (some of the greatest stories ever told have featured people who'd do just as much good dead as alive). But here, I do. I really do.

Leonard was a superb writer, and most aspects of his writing are as good here as anywhere else. The characters feel like real people with real lives and real views, the dialo
I recently wrote a short review on The Hunted, another novel by Elmore Leonard. In that review, I suggested that you can never be certain of the eventual outcome. The Big Bounce is not exception to my rule. The protagonist, as usual, seems to be a guy with a past. And, unlike the former novel, this protagonist doesn’t seem to have the proverbial heart of gold. This isn’t the kind of character with whom I can relate and I never was quite sure of his motivation for performing any given action. I l ...more
Written in 1969, this book now sports a cover featuring the actors who were in its recent film treatment, which frankly messed me up. I kept trying to figure out which actor was cast as what character AND what parts were changed to make it a contemporary movie, as the book is set in the ’60s. (No, I haven’t seen the movie.) I’m sure it was tweaked considerably, including expansion of some of the relatively minor roles. And I’m sure the ending was changed, as the book leaves you hanging and wonde ...more
Jack Ryan is a minor criminal arrested for a fight at a pick-up baseball game. Local Justice of the Peace Mr Majestic is a baseball fan, and on the possibility hes opponent carried a knife, Jack is released with no charges laid. Ryan is a former baseball prospect who never quite made it to the pros. His bosses, now his ex bosses, at the melon plantation where he worked order Ryan to leave town. Mr. Majestic offers Ryan a job as handyman at his beach front cabanas. Ryan decides to stay. He takes ...more
This was Elmore Leonard's first novel, published in 1969. All the components of his future novels are there: the terse dialog, the settings in Florida and Michigan, the sociopaths and psychopaths.

Leonard has a method that is worth studying. He introduces places, then he introduces the people in those places, then he makes those people interact. It's a well-oiled machine, a Leonard novel.

In The Big Bounce we meet a drifter who has done a little prison time and who recently nearly beat someone to
Luca Lesi
Usando le Racommendations di goodreads ho scoperto tre autori che non conoscevo : James Crumley di cui ho letto L'ultimo vero bacio , grandioso, Jim Thompson e Leonard Elmore. Sia per l'entusiasmo suscitato dal libro di Crumley che per il piacere di aver scoperto che film come Get Shorty e Be Cool sono tratti da romanzi suoi, uniti al fatto che sto guardando la quarta stagione di Justified , molto bello e tratta anche essa dai racconti di Elmore, mi sono avvicinato a Il grande salto con grande a ...more
This book wasn't at all what I expected. I haven't read Elmore Leonard before, but his series on the bookshelf caught my eye and it looked like the kind of thing I would usually read... it wasn't. This novel was fresh and different. I couldn't figure out where it was going and therefore, couldn't put it down!

This book has swagger. It's fast-paced and to the point, while seemingly not much ever happens. Actually, the book ends just when it really hits its stride, and the readers are left turning
Aug 30, 2011 Bev rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anybody who likes gratuitous violence
Shelves: mystery
Chalk up another done with Elmore Leonard's The Big Bounce. This is another book that just doesn't fit into my normal reading schedule. I've often seen Leonard's name & books listed as award winners from various years. I'd be surprised if I went back and looked at those lists and found this one had garnered any.

The two positive things I can say about this book are 1. It's done. I don't have to read any more and 2. At least now I can say I've tried Leonard. And just like those raw o
Cristi An
Prima mia lettura di Elmore Leonard, e coincide con la sua prima incursione nella crime fiction.
Nulla di speciale, scritto nel 1968, e lo si percepisce tanto. Ma appare tantissimo uno stile davvero particolare che ha fatto di lui in futuro un creatore di capilavori, che per fortuna io già ho, e che non vedo l'ora di leggermi.
Un grande.
I've always liked Leonard's books, particularly the earlier Detroit area ones. However, I don't think I ever read this one before, which appears to have been his first crime novel. The writing was perfect (no surprise) and the plot was OK. The ending was good. An enjoyable light read.
"Here's my review system--I score on four categories and average them together for the number of stars. The four categories are: character development (are the characters deep and complex, plot (is it interesting), voice (is the narration smooth and e...more Here's my review system--I score on four categories and average them together for the number of stars. The four categories are: character development (are the characters deep and complex, plot (is it interesting), voice (is the narration sm ...more
Kenner Estes
Honestly, I didn't care for this book. Mostly because I didn't care about anyone in it. But I still give it three stars because even so, Elmore Leonard's writing (especially dialogue) is pretty tight and admirable.
R.J. Lynch
This is not the best Elmore Leonard book. The best Elmore Leonard books are spectacular, and this is merely pretty good. As an Elmore I'd give it three stars; that equates to four for anyone else.
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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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