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Rum Punch (Ordell Robbie & Louis Gara #2)

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  5,767 ratings  ·  245 reviews
The inimitable Elmore Leonard follows up his bestseller Maximum Bob with a punch--Rum Punch--where a gun dealer, a flight attendant, and a bail bondsman make interesting bedfellows. When Jackie gets caught smuggling her boss's gun money on the airline she works for, she hatches a plan with her bail bondsman to walk off with the money.
Hardcover, 297 pages
Published July 1st 1992 by Delacorte Press (first published 1992)
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Kelly (and the Book Boar)
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4.5 Stars

“My ass may be dumb, but I ain’t no dumbass” – Ordell Robbie

Well, call me a dumbass because I had no idea that Rum Punch was the real name for

For the past 17 years I’ve been singing the praises of Tarantino’s film – only to find out Elmore Leonard was actually the mastermind behind this product. (In defense of my undying Tarantino love – casting Pam Grier as “Jackie Brown” rather than some rando white broad as “Jackie B
Glenn Russell
I recall someone saying how Elmore Leonard isn't old school `cause he built the school. Very true. My favorite Elmore Leonard novels are Tishomingo Blues and Pagan Babies; Rum Punch is my very favorite, thus this review. Also, in addition to reviewing the book, let me plug the audiobook read by Joe Mantegna. The voice of Joe Mantegna is pitch-perfect, his rhythm and inflections capturing each of the characters, male and female, as well as the mood and charged atmosphere of the entire story.

I finally made it over to my winter stockpile of Rick Bass and was settling in. Getting used to the rhythms of it again (which takes no getting used to at all, for me). Letting the slow, deep, calm, quiet solitude fill up my soul. Then I was housesitting for a few days. There, I watched Jackie Brown. Then, I had to pull out Rum Punch.

I thought, oh boy. This can’t work. Rick and Elmore, Bass and Leonard? My two favorites but, so so different. I thought, what if one taints the other? What if one m
This is absolutely a high point in a career full of them. Like always, though, I find Leonard's stuff hard to review because all of his books, to one degree or another, are variations on a theme: double- and triple-crosses perpetrated by A) a shrewd woman, B) a world-weary guy (who typically has the hots for the shrewd woman), C) a couple incompetent villains, and D) assorted other Miami and/or Detroit lowlifes. And of course all of it is shot through with Leonard's unerring ear for dialogue.

I wouldn't have even thought of picking this up if it wasn't on the cheap rack at a book store, and if it didn't say on the cover that it was the film that inspired Quentin Tarantino's film 'Jackie Brown.' To say that inspired it is understating the significance of the book slightly. If I didn't know better, I would think it was actually just a novelization of the film.

In the end this gives me a positive view of Elmore Leonard and lessens the significance of 'Jackie Brown' the film, because pret
Kathy Davie
A crime novel involving gun running and smuggling in Florida.

My Take
It has parallels with Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series in its easy, laid back style while it's casually violent on the criminal side. On the cop side, they're also easy and laid back and good with laying it on thick. I would like to know who snitched about the money Jackie's bringing in.
"She said, 'That man works? Has a job?'

'He's a bail bondsman.'

'I wondered,' Simone said, '"cause he don't know shit about robbing people
Rob Epler
If you like Elmore Leonard--and you should--this is another fun read. Though the basis of the Quentin Tarantino film Jackie Brown, it's quite different. But if you're looking for the usual tight plotting, vivid characters, & crackling dialog, pick it up. Leonard's books are all quick reads, & are generally what I'd call snappy. At this point I've read 29 of his books (& listened to 4 more of 'em), so take my fandom for what it's worth.
Cameron Nicholson
Rum Punch by Elmore Leonard is a fictional, crime-based drama in Miami about Jackie Brown who smuggles money from state to state as she's a flight attendant. She works for Ordell who is a gun dealer who sells illegal weaponry across the globe. Jackie justs transports his profits. However, the feds are on to Jackie motives and Ordell is trying to clean that up. But Jackie has other plans. With bail bondsman Max Cherry looking out for Jackie, things could turn out for the worst.

What I liked abou
Because I quite literally swear by Jackie Brown, in the same way that the cop assassinated Biggie Smalls had a shrine to 2Pac in his garage, I should have read this 10 or 15 years ago. There is no excuse. I've been knowing how to read since like '87.

The plot is essentially the same, but it differs from QT's film in a few key ways, the main thing being that this is set in Florida somewhere rather than LA. There's also a few different subplots that are only hinted at or completely left out of the
Matt Raymond
The only Quentin Tarantino movie I ever liked & have been able to rewatch is Jackie Brown. While everything else he's done has been a tongue & cheek throwback to the movie genres he grew up with, Jackie Brown was less of a modern blaxploitation picture and more of a story about desperate people forced to do desperate things. This isn't a review of the movie, obviously, but the main reason I liked it is because of this book, which I only just got around to reading. And now that I've read ...more
Carl R.
I picked up a copy of Rum Punch from a place I was staying on a recent vacation. Having somehow missed it among all the Elmore Leonard I had read, having also solid reason to believe it would lie neglected on the shelf where I found it, I decided to give it a new home. According to the message penciled inside the battered cover, it had cost somebody only 2 pounds sterling, so no great loss if I never get back to Bradford-on-Avon to return it.

Then, a few pages into it, I got the word of his deat
this is the....17th...18th...from leonard for me...

dedicated for jackie, carole, and larry

story begins:
sunday morning ordell took louis to watch the white-power demonstration in downtown palm beach.

"young skinhead nazis," ordell said. "look, even little nazigirls marching down worth avenue. you believe it? coming now you have the klan, not too many here today. some in green, must be the coneheads' new spring shade. behind them it looks like some bikers for racism, better known as the dixie knigh
I picked this up the other day in a pawn shop for 1 in English and reread it in a day. The book is brilliant with dialogue so authentic that it barely qualifies as English at times. Elmore Leonard has the ear of a great musician when it comes to writing dialogue from the street. I used to live down in this area of south Florida so I appreciate his eye for detail in his descriptions of this tacky suburban hellscape.

I read this book many years ago and when I saw Quentin Tarrantino’s shitty film v
Adam Brown
Like many others, I read Rum Punch because I adore Jackie Brown and was curious to see how Quentin Tarantino had adapted Elmore Leonard's material. Anyone who has seen a Tarantino film will understand that I was surprised to find that he had made the story, or at least one of its subplots, sweeter than Leonard's novel. The world of Rum Punch is mean by comparison; everyone is crooked (even the philandering cop). I actually found it a little disorienting to be involved in a story with almost no d ...more
Of all the books by Elmore Leonard that I have read, this is my least favorite. The story line and characters wandered all over the place, making the plot somewhat difficult to follow.

In addition, Leonard's prose wasn't as crystalline as usual.
Steve Isaak
Thirteen years after the events of The Switch , Ordell, Louis and Melanie are still doing their crime thing, though this time they aren't the only game in town. As he did in that previous novel, Leonard uses his trademark waste-no-words plotting, character-based twists, and slick dialogue and action to create a sequel that furthers its source novel's excellence. Worth owning, this.


The resulting film, Jackie Brown , was released stateside on December 25, 1997. Quentin Tarantino scripted and di
It had a surprisingly intricate plot, was much more than I expected, and I probably would've given it a five, had Leonard taken more time to sort of clarify the 'bait and switch' method that was used in the big climax, because I was only vaguely aware of how it was pulled off. But overall it was an awesome novel, not a masterpiece, but still had a great cast of intertwining characters, and an underlying theme of the difficulty of starting over in life. I liked it alot.

Loved this read, which deserves an extra half star but not quite four. First Elmore Leonard I've read and this only came to my attention after he died. It's prompted me to pick up a few more. Terrific dialogue; although the vernacular is hard to embrace this side of the pond, once you're in the groove it zips you along at pace. Some very funny scenes, one of which was incomprehensibly left out by Tarantino when he made Jackie Brown.
I decided to read this one, since it offered the continued adventures of the two hapless kidnappers from Switch, which I read a few weeks ago. Written more than a decade later, and much, much darker, it fascinated me for a while. The cast of bad guys and semi-bad guys is fairly large and the double-crossing starts almost from the beginning. At first this was complicated and entertaining, but eventually, as the con-men and -women were killed off one by one, I began to think, "Gosh, just getting a ...more
Daniel Sloyan
I really like Jackie Brown, so I was curious to read the source material, the main differences are that it takes place in Miami and not LA, and Jackie Brown here is white, there's also more of a role for the Fargas (michael bowen) character in the book, it's almost as big as Ray Nicollete, and Ray is much younger in the book, also Max and Jackie end up sleeping together in the book, the book also goes into a bit more detail involving Ordell's illegal activities and connections, while Quentin bas ...more
Debby Allen
Jackie Brown. Some changes made for the movie, understandable to make it fit 2 hours and make sense. Still, the best parts are in both, and both have the same energy/vibe. Will be reading some of his westerns next. Looking forward to it.
Being more familiar with the film treatment of this story (Jackie Brown), I was pleasantly surprised with how few liberties Quentin Tarantino took. Of course, that also meant I couldn't read Ordell Robie's dialogue and not hear Samuel L. Jackson's voice. In Leonard's world, everyone is striving to get one over on somebody-or everybody-else. Flight attendants and struggling bail bondsmen can be just as easily nudged out of their comfort zone to try and outsmart a gun runner and the ATF for a shop ...more
Charlie Wade
Being a fan of the film, I'd put off reading the book for a long time. I suppose I thought I'd be constantly comparing the book to the film. As it happens I did compare it but it wasn't a problem, if anything it made the book and storyline stronger.

Jackie Brown is actually Jackie Burke, still an airline stewardess but white. That's the main difference between the book and the film. The ending is also different, but I still hummed 100th Street when I finished reading it. We also get to see more o
Another great EL. I was halfway through this book when I realized that my description of the author as having written the books Get Shorty and Jackie Brown should have stated, "THIS IS the book Jackie Brown was based on." In my defense, her name (and skin color) was changed in the film version, which I have never seen. I will be correcting that as soon as possible, however. This was a pretty fun read, made in large part to good characters and Leonard's always brilliant dialogue and scene setting ...more
I first heard about Elmore Leonard when he died (a little late to the party, obviously). His characters were the inspiration for the show Justified, one of my favorite currently on TV. While at a used book store, I was looking for the book Justified was based on and stumbled into a signed version of Rum Punch.

This was one of the best, "What the hell, why not?" book purchases I have ever made. The story is tight, full of twists and turns, and crammed with phenomenal complex characters. Everyone i
Oh man, wow. I feel so bad for putting off the master for so many years. Elmore Leonard can plot.

What's worse is, I'd seen the movie beforehand, and almost passed up its literary equivalent out of fear that they'd just be the same. Boy, was I wrong. Thirty pages into Rum Punch I was at the same place I had been thirty minutes into Jackie Brown, minus nothing but a four-minute baggage check montage, a one-minute shot of a TV gun show and a lot of excruciatingly long pauses a la Quentin Tarantino'
Really entertaining.

Colourful characters, great dialogue, lots of twists and turns, cracking pace.

Jackie Burke is a glamorous airline stewardess bringing undeclared cash into the country for arms dealer Ordell 'whitebread' Robbie - cocky, violent, and totally unscrupulous.
When Jackie is caught with 50k of dirty money in her flight-bag, she is forced to do a deal with the police to stay out of jail. Enter Max Cherry, bail bondsman and ex-cop, whose attraction to Jackie gets him into some serious
Jodi Clager
Jackie Burke is forty-four years old, married three times, and stuck in a dead-end job as an airline stewardess for Islands Air. Jackie begins bringing money from Freeport to California for Ordell Robbie, the man to see about getting a gun in Palm Beach. ATF agent Ray Nicolet and FDLE agent Faron Tyler want to bring in Ordell Robbie. Ordell wants to be sure that his business isn't threatened in any way so he goes to see bail bondsman Max Cherry about bonding out one of his associates. Ordell hop ...more
When I bought this book and then started to read it I was repeating in my mind not to think about the Tarantino film version. I know writer's vision and director's vision can be a lot different, plus I hadn't read anything by Leonard yet so I didn't want to picture him in my mind as "the literary clone of Quentin Tarantino". At first there were also some things to help me, like the fact that Jackie ISN'T Brown at all - neither by name nor "by skin" - but after some chapter I gave up. I just coul ...more
Another adventure of pure escapist glee, Elmore Leonard's novels continue to be a refreshing break from more intense Pawnee: The Greatest Town in America. I started the book on the flight home for Thanksgiving, and in addition to a few over-served late night reading sessions of questionable merit (accompanied by equally questionable amounts of salty snacks) I finished it on the flight back to Houston -- excellent symmetry for an excellent trip home. I can't say that the story was ...more
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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
More about Elmore Leonard...

Other Books in the Series

Ordell Robbie & Louis Gara (2 books)
  • The Switch

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“He sat in the living room in the dark, an expert at waiting, a nineteen-year veteran of it, waiting for people who failed to appear, missed court dates because they forgot or didn't care, and took off. Nineteen years of losers, repeat offenders in and out of the system. Another one, that's all Louis was, slipping back into the life.” 2 likes
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