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Tishomingo Blues

3.67  ·  Rating Details  ·  6,595 Ratings  ·  263 Reviews
Daredevil Dennis Lenahan has brought his act to the Tishomingo Lodge & Casino in Tunica, Mississippi -- diving off an eighty-foot ladder into nine feet of water for the amusement of gamblers, gangsters, and luscious belles. His riskiest feat, however, was witnessing a Dixie-style mob execution while atop his diving platform. Robert Taylor saw the hit also. A blues-lovi ...more
Paperback, 416 pages
Published February 6th 2003 by Penguin (first published 2002)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Henry Avila
A man on top of a platform, eighty feet above a small tank of water, just 9 feet deep, looks down at the remote object, raises his arms and leaps out into nothingness, flying briefly before gravity hurls him under, he tumbles, twisting his body this way and that, moving sixty miles a hour, in two seconds a big splash as Dennis Lenahan, hits the target, slowly he surfaces, the appreciative crowd cheers wildly...Mr Lenahan, originally from New Orleans, has been a diver for 22 years, the talented d ...more
Sep 18, 2013 Kemper rated it liked it
Dennis Lenahan has an odd way of making a living. Several times a day he climbs an eighty-foot ladder and then dives into a tank filled with nine feet of water for the entertainment of tourists. His latest gig is at a hotel/casino in Tishomingo, Mississippi, but while Dennis is on top of the ladder setting up for his next show, he witnesses a couple of good ole boys murdering the guy who had been hired to help him.

Dennis is advised that the killers are members of the local Dixie Mafia so he’d be
After three of the last five books felt like they seriously wasted my time (Cold Mountain, Crooked Letter, John Updike, I’m looking at you), I decided to stack the deck. Elmore never wastes a second of my time.

And, hoo boy! This was terrific. Dixie Mafia, Delta blues! Between Chickasaw Charlie Hoke (he gets a story in When The Women Come Out To Dance), Robert Taylor (please tell me he gets more stories or books), and characters like Jerry, Arlen, and Loretta, this was one of my favorite assembla
Oct 21, 2014 Jim rated it liked it
Another good tale by Leonard. I love his characters. Unfortunately, the reader took the southern redneck voices to extremes & didn't do the story any favors. As usual, there were quite a few twists & I wound up rooting for people who normally wouldn't be considered 'the good guys'. It was quite a trip.
Apr 22, 2014 Mike rated it liked it
Kind of low key for Elmore Leonard, good Southern flavored crime story, not much in the way of his usual wacky, over-the-top characters (which is one of the things I love most about Mr. Leonard's work) so I give it 3.5 stars... if it were an unknown writer needing some attention I'd probably round up to 4 stars, but I think the author will survive my 3 star rating with no damage to his career.

Dennis Lenahan - a daredevil, high dive champion - takes a job at a small casino in Mississippi. A good
Mar 04, 2015 Bryant rated it really liked it
Only Elmore could take such an improbable concept and make it so convincing, so high-stakes. The last hundred pages are out of control. I couldn't put it down.

Also, Robert Taylor, man. Anyone, fictional or otherwise who I might have thought of before as being "cool" has been bumped down several notches.
Daniel Villines
Feb 11, 2015 Daniel Villines rated it really liked it
I find it difficult to relate Elmore Leonard stories to larger universal themes mostly because I'm too damn interested in the story. His characters are constantly entertaining and his plots always have a sense of randomness to them.

Tishomingo Blues holds true with this perception with its mixture of backwoods mafia, big city drug dealers, and characters that take risks under the guise of desire. The story is pure entertainment due things that are familiar as well as things that are unfamiliar. A
Dec 27, 2012 Melanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So much fun and I'll always remember Elmore Leonard seeing me through the hottest night so far of this Perth heatwave. I just wish I brought Justified with me on this trip!
Marjorie Pfister
Mar 05, 2016 Marjorie Pfister rated it really liked it
This was was my first Elmore Leonard book and what a book to start with. The plot sounds so stupid when you read the description. What the heck ?? A exhibition high diver, a Civil War reenactment, and a Mississippi casino, and a Detroit mobster. .where's the butler in the library with the candlestick?? Actually a butler with a candlestick would have been more plausible than the cast of characters assembled for this farce. And it is a farce...make no mistake about that. It even has the required s ...more
Jul 01, 2011 Jessica rated it it was ok
This was my first Elmore Leonard book. By all accounts, Leonard appears to be a pretty old, famous murder mystery writer. Notoriety and all, I just didn't like the book, but didn't dislike it enough to put down. He is very good at building interesting characters that make you want to follow their lives, but the plot itself wasn't catchy for me, or maybe I didn't get it. The setting of a civil war reenactment was entertaining for a murder plot, but I thought he involved too many characters and sh ...more
Apr 06, 2011 Kathy rated it liked it
Not a murder mystery or a crime novel in the standard sense, Tishomingo Blues is instead a story in which there is a lot of crime (especially a lot of killing). A motley assortment of entertaining and offbeat characters, including a high dive champ new to the area, a former major leaguer who endlessly turns every conversation into a discussion of his pitching prowess, and a Detroit con artist, all collide in Tunica, Mississippi.

There is a lot of hilarious dialogue, some interesting discussion ab
Aug 29, 2015 Cashmere rated it really liked it
I don't think you can ever really go wrong with Elmore Leonard. As long as you like his style, this book does not disappoint. Much of the plot centers around the world of contemporary civil war reenactments in the deep south -- that alone is a subject ripe for Leonard's scrutiny, and he does it in his usual lyrical style. Violence abounds of course -- I felt perhaps more so than what I'm used to, but as long as you can tolerate that (as well plenty of off-putting language and some mild sex) this ...more
Jun 01, 2011 Alec rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Though I'm still reading (and really enjoying) The Prize, a few weeks ago I decided I needed to pick up a couple of books to take with me on my South American adventure. I had a few requirements for these books:

1. They needed to be exciting, enjoyable reads that would mesh well with a vacation.
2. In that they would be read on red-eye flights or in the downtime of what was to be an ambitious, Spanish-flavored bender, they needed to treat the words "nuance" and "sophisticated" as crass obscenity.
Dec 29, 2012 wally rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: leonard
looks like this will be the 18th from leonard for me.

kindle...looks like a charlie hoke story...and this is unusual...a contents page and each chapter heading has the first sentence...i miss all those old cold-war cartoons...bullwinkle & rocky...that narrator's voice providing the title and an alternative title...heh! but the contents set-up reminds me of those glory days...big sigh.

dedication...for christine

i'm going to tishomingo to have my ham bone boiled,
i'm going to tishomingo t
Jim Leckband
Jan 31, 2012 Jim Leckband rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I do not think it is a good sign when I am in the final tenth of a book, a book by a famous thriller/crime writer, and I can't keep my eyes on the page. They wander about the room, the room they've seen thousands of times, unconsciously trying to find something more interesting than the book they are being coerced into reading.

This was my first Elmore Leonard novel and I had high hopes for a thrilling ride with spot-on witty dialogue and comically absurd plots. Maybe this happens with his other
Jun 21, 2015 N N rated it it was ok
Lots of semi-tough American types, babbling ungrammatically. Babbling a lot, all about nothing.

Mr Leonard is on record as despising Raymond Chandler. However, Chandler's big achievement (the unsung one, as always) in the genre was to introduce a perspective which renders interesting and significant all these bland, one-dimensional American types who people the narrative of the American experience. Mr Leonard writes about all the same characters as if they were interesting and important on their
Kathy Hall
Jun 27, 2011 Kathy Hall rated it it was amazing
This was a book that took me along through the most unlikely of subjects to hold my interest - a civil war re-enactment. The stew Leonard made of all the components - the Dixie Mafia, personal vendettas, a high-diving dare devil and a black man who makes the history of the Deep South work for him - simmered along until it came to a lovely boil in the dusty heat of a Virginia, May afternoon.

I've always loved reading Elmore Leonard. His male characters are so real, no cardboard to them and the bes
Cathi Davis
May 29, 2015 Cathi Davis rated it liked it
Reading Elmore Leonard is like having a new friend tell you a story over a bottle of Wild Turkey. It meanders around, characters get brought to life, and the story appears pointless. But it is told soooo well, you don't really mind, and the ending is nearly perfect. Dennis wondering if Robert knows anyone in Orlando. Never disappointing, easy to read, no superfluous bits.
Feb 26, 2015 Shannon rated it really liked it
Oh Elmore, you write great books!
I don't where he gets his unique ideas. I am glad he has such an extensive collection of books, so I can slowly make my way through them all.
Apr 30, 2015 Kevin rated it it was ok
Blah. Ill-defined characters in a bad story.
Mar 25, 2012 stefan rated it really liked it
The supposed master of dialogue does indeed fill his book with dialogue, which defines characters, advances the plot, and I suppose does other things less gifted writers (less good writers) might try to do through expository writing. It's an engaging plot, with a fairly likeable character, with a fun backdrop of Civil War reenacters. The world he describes is not one I'm familiar with -- I guess with a murder mystery, maybe you're forced to hang with some disreputable characters -- but he writes ...more
Jason Lilly
Apr 27, 2015 Jason Lilly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Elmore Leonard fans
A bit disappointing as an Elmore Leonard story, but still full of the witty dialogue and quirky characters that fans will appreciate. If this is your first exposure to Leonard, you should probably move on to something more engaging and impressive, such as Rum Punch or The Hot Kid. But if you're an Elmore Leonard usual, this is familiar territory.

However, I think the familiarity is why I only give this book 3 stars. It does nothing exceptional other than offer Leonard's usual unique style of writ
Max Ostrovsky
Elmore Leonard can spin a good yarn and while this is the first novel of his I've read, I've enjoyed his movies.
As for his written word, I'm more than a bit underwhelmed. I just didn't care about any of the characters and while knowing that the end will entail an overly complex scheme where everything is settled, it just didn't interest me. It could be this book, or it could be the fact that it's formula.
The outcome of the overly complex scheme is not predictable, and that's good. The reveal o
Dennis Lenahan is tired of running his one-man high dive show out of amusement parks in Florida. So after a lot of research and turn-downs, he negotiates a deal with the new Tishomingo Resort, a casino in Tunica, Mississippi, on the River near Memphis. While making the final adjustments to the rigging at the top of his 80-feet-tall ladder, he watches as two men approach the local rigger he had hired to help him assemble the show.

Hearing five shots below him and seeing the two men start to walk a
My husband LOVES Elmore Leonard books and I really enjoyed the movie version of Get Shorty, so when I came across this audio book on the library shelf, I gave it a shot.

This is a rollicking plot that includes a high diver, Civil War re-enactors, gambling, prostitution, drugs, gangsters, murder, and -- of course -- murder most foul. Leonard's characters are wonderful, full of quirky little details that make them come alive. Some you love despite their behavior and some you hate because of it. His
T.W. Dittmer
Jul 01, 2012 T.W. Dittmer rated it really liked it
The story of a man who makes his living diving into a tank of water from an eighty foot ladder.

It's Elmore Leonard, so the plot turns to involvement with organized crime... of course. The Dixie Mafia and ties to the mob in Detroit.

The climax comes during a Civil War battle reenactment.

Another good read by Leonard.
Maureen M
Apr 02, 2014 Maureen M rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: austin
I feel bad that I waited until Elmore Leonard died to read any of his stuff. It was great fun to see the written work of the guy whose screenplay "Get Shorty" I've long admired. My son is a big Leonard fan and he recommended this one as one of his favorites. It's a ripping yarn with a host of intriguing characters and a shaky moral compass that kept me guessing into the final scene. As a Civil War buff, it was enjoyable to see so much of the action set in a battle re-enactment. It also was fun t ...more
Guy Salvidge
Feb 16, 2014 Guy Salvidge rated it liked it
A couple of things bothered me about this one, even though I enjoyed reading it for the most part. I don't approve of the casual nature of the killings described herein. I don't mind people getting killed in crime fiction, but here it's always the bad guys and always with no consequences for the so-called good guys. It's amoral at best, this one. Also, Leonard spends virtually no time trying to build suspense in the lead up to his action scenes. The whole thing is curiously tensionless. And last ...more
Jul 24, 2014 Jayne rated it really liked it
The first Elmore Leonard book I've read, and it won't be the last. A slow start, but an engaging one, as Dennis, a daring high-diver, witnesses a murder from high up on his diving platform. From then on he meets colourful characters including Robert, the jive-talking gangster with his own agenda, and Loretta, the sultry wife of a nefarious local businessman.

Throw in drugs, historical war reinactments and the sub-plot involving the slave trade, and you have a colourful melting pot of goings-on w
Apr 30, 2016 Leftbanker rated it it was amazing
Shelves: crime-gangsters
He had me when I found out the protagonist dives off a platform into a tub of water. Who would build a novel around that? I love it!

An odd mix of characters, themes, social groups, and professions in a typical Elmore Leonard crime novel. Reading his stuff is like going on a carnival ride. Granted, I did listen to at least half of this book while riding my bike but most of the fun came from the prose and not the great scenery I enjoy all around me.

I learned more about Civil War re-enactors than
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USA Geography Cha...: Tishomingo Blues by Elmore Leonard 1 1 Dec 29, 2014 06:03AM  
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  • Death on the D-List (Hailey Dean, #2)
  • King of the Godfathers
  • Deadly Edge (Parker, #13)
  • Shame the Devil
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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