Rum Punch
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Rum Punch

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  4,573 ratings  ·  197 reviews
From America's top writer of hardboiled crime, the novel that Quentin Tarantino made into the film JACKIE BROWN.
Paperback, 304 pages
Published December 1st 2004 by Orion Publishing Group (first published 1992)
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Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

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 Bu...more
Jamie
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...more
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.

Perha...more
Carl Brush
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...more
Rob
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.

Rum...more
Matt
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...more
wally
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
...more
Leftbanker
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...more
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 dire...more
Hayden
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.

4/5
Tracey
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.
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.
Fred
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
Brady
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 airport montage, a one-minute shot of a TV gun show and a lot of excruciatingly long pauses a la Quentin Tarantino's smug...more
Kenneth
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...more
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
Mark
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...more
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
Maddalena
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
Alec
Another adventure of pure escapist glee, Elmore Leonard's novels continue to be a refreshing break from more intense reading...like 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
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
Veronica
I read this, mostly because its the novel that inspired one of my favorite movies...1997's "Jackie Brown", so beautifully adapted and directed by Quentin Tarantino. In most cases, the book is superior to the movie. In this case, I'll say the movie outweighs the book...but only a smidgen! Turning the white "Jackie Burke" into the black "Jackie Brown" and casting Pam Grier was genius, as was turning the Ordell Robbie character from lighter skinned to darker skinned so he could be portrayed by Samu...more
Ursula
I had this one hanging around forever. I'd tried to start it a couple of times and couldn't really get into it for some reason. Anyway, I made a go of it this time.

The book, as you may know, is the basis for the movie Jackie Brown. I apparently forgot/didn't know that (I didn't see the movie), and it wasn't until the end that I said to myself, "hey, isn't this the plot of Jackie Brown?"

In my defense, the main character in the book is named Jackie Burke, and her physical description is more Bridg...more
Jennifer
This book is like a million times better better than the movie Jackie Brown. There were several exciting action packed sub plots which were left out of the movie eg. neo nazi's, gangs with rocket launchers, samurai sword wield fugitives etc. Further the themes of aging, lost dreams and wasted lives which were poignantly explored in the writing, didn't come across in the film at all for me. Tarantino really stuffed up the adaptation of this awesome book. It's a short book too so it's not a big co...more
Chris
Rum Punch was an enjoyable read and it is clear why Tarantino chose it as the basis of Jackie Brown. A clever and interesting tale, with characters that often appear in Mr Leonard's other works - this story kept my interest and was different enough from the movie to still provide some surprises. Also, like most books, it provided more depth and character development than a film ever can. I think that this story lives up to the hype of Mr Leonard's storytelling abilities.
Manraj Basi
I read this because Jackie Brown is my favorite Tarantino film, and I just generally enjoy the crime novel genre. The dialogue is very authentic, for the setting, I think Elmore Leanord is able to capture how people speak in the criminal world in a way that not many writers can. Jackie's character is complex, she exudes sexuality like that of the damsel archetype, but she has the gall and wit necessary to survive in the criminal world— traits we usually associate with men. Unlike the film, Bail...more
Paul Jellinek
After Leonard passed away last year and all the eulogies hit the press and the airwaves, I felt like I should give him another try, and Rum Punch was supposed to be one of his best. But it still didn't work for me. I made it to the end, but didn't pick up the other Leonard book that I'd bought--and I don't plan to any time soon. Sorry, Dutch.
Matt
I walked into the library hoping to get _Dead Babies_, which my odd friend thought was the best book he'd ever read, and came out with this one, not knowing it was the book _Jackie Brown_ is derived from. It'd been long enough since I'd seen the movie, and was different enough from what I remembered, that I was still able to really enjoy this.

Leonard does all the things you know he does-- funny washed up characters, beat-up romantic losers as his heroes, comedy capers that go wronger than that....more
Amanda Bennett
I enjoy a good heist story, so, naturally, I enjoyed this book.

The writing style/dialogue/thoughts are very authentic. As you think the words in your head it "sounds" just like youre standing with the characters, listening in on the conversation. Leonard has the Miami dialect nailed.

I'm going to have to check out the movie version of the book (Jackie Brown).

***warning: spoilers ahead***

It was funny, not laugh-out-loud funny, but funny, when Ordell ended up getting his gator shoes in the ocean be...more
Guy Salvidge
Enjoyed this plenty, although perhaps a little less toward the end. It's a fairly convoluted crime story concerning a gun-runner called Odell, a stewardess called Jackie Burke and a bail bondsman called Max Cherry. The writing is strong, the dialogue punchy, and it's all well done throughout. I enjoyed this more than Vachss' novel Shella, which I read at practically the same time. Why? Because this one has verve, dammit. I must admit that I found some of the to-ings and fro-ings confusing and a...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
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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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