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Preview — 52 Pick-Up by Elmore Leonard
Detroit businessman Harry Mitchell had had only one affair in his twenty-two years of happy matrimony. Unfortunately someone caught his indiscretion on film and now wants Harry to fork over one hundred grand to keep his infidelity a secret. And if Harry doesn't pay up, the blackmailer and his associates plan to press a lot harder -- up to and including homicide, if necessa...more
Elmore Leonard sure knows how to weave a serpentine tale, doesn't he? He takes a story that seems simple on the surface, that of some blackmailers hitting up a pigeon for money, and turns it into something else all together. It was ...more
"If you want it, here it is, come and get it
Make your mind up fast
If you want it, anytime, I can give it
But you better hurry 'cause it may not last
Did I hear you say
That there must be a catch?
Will you walk away
From a fool and his money?"
--Paul McCartney, 1970
Ever played 52 Pickup? It only takes two players. A standard deck will do. It's a joke, man. The dealer's in on the trick. The stooge is the pigeon, the patsy. The dealer shuffles the deck. Ready? The de ...more
Ah, but the mid-life crisis has made more than one man stupid, and Harry has a fling with a woman half his age. Just as he is about to break it off, Harry is confronted by a trio of blackmailers who have films that show his infidelit ...more
It's a shame, ain't it? Everybody is trying to mess everybody.
That's rich, coming from the mouth of a small time crook, trying to blackmail a middle aged guy having an affair with a much younger woman, but it is a rather good resume of the plot of this Elmore Leonard novel. Actually, it could be said it is a fair assessment of most E.L crime capers, where nothing goes according to plan and things go pear shaped in an ugly way with obstinate regularity.
I was curious about the title, but it only ...more
But perhaps it's not so surprising, after all. Many years ago, I learned to my great astonishment that my professor was an avid reader of mystery novels (I don't know whom ...more
Oh Leo, you and your two low-life friends did indeed pick the wrong guy to blackmail this time.
I read 52 Pickup as a monthly read in the Pulp Fiction group here on Goodreads and I'm really glad I decided to participate. This was such a well crafted and well written crime story. The characters and their actions were realistic and it didn't come across as "phony" or one-dimensional as often these ...more
All three books share one very distinct Leonardian quality: precision. There is nothing extraneous in any of the stories. Leonard tells only what is necessary and then moves on. It keeps the novels short and fast.
I would also argue that same quality keeps the books from reaching past a ceiling they always seem to hit. While they are go ...more
Timothy plays Raylan Givens in the FX series Justified. (He's also my latest mid-life crisis, as anyone who gets my updates will know. ) That series is based on characters created by Elmore Leonard, and specifically a short story called "Fire in the Hole".
So after watching 2 seasons of Justified (all in the course of 3 weeks, but who's counting?) I was curious. I vaguely remembered that the movies Get Shorty and Out of Sight were based on his books, but until ...more
Detroit businessman Harry Mitchell was having a mid-life crisis. He had an attractive wife at home. He had a voluptuous girlfriend on the side. And now he had a problem with porn movies.
He was in one.
A man with a stocking over his head and a .38 in his hand wanted a hundred grand to keep Harry's picture out of circulation. But the hoods behind this blackmail scam made a big mistake when they fingered Harry Mitchell for their pigeon...
With Elmore Leonard ...more
There’s a big smile on my face: the Library of America has just published the first in a projected three-volume set of the novels of Elmore Leonard. “Fifty-two Pickup” is the first of “Dutch’s” novels to be included. I haven’t read it for years and years, and forgot how good it was, and still is. It’s the story of a businessman who made a big mistake by stepping out on his wife for the first time after twenty-some years. He has to face the music wi ...more
Detroit businessman Harry Mitchell is a self-made man, happily married for over twenty-two years and a pillar of the community. But then he slips - he meets a young 'model' and begins an affair. One night he arrives at his girlfriend's apartment and finds more than he bargained for. Two masked men have caught his misdemeanours on camera and now they want a cool hundred grand. But they've picked the wrong man, because Harry Mitchell doesn't get mad - he gets even.
For some reason, I found this book to ...more
The final chapter is a little flat and anticlimactic. It left ...more
That line comes from Elmore Leonard's immensely pleasurable Fifty-Two Pickup, but it could just as easily have come from its literary forebear, The Friends of Eddie Coyle. According to the chronology provided in the Library of America's inaugural volume collecting his best work, Leonard was advised to read George V. Higgins' game-changing crime novel in 1972, with its legendary dialogue and brilliant portraits of the sad sacks of th ...more
Three ambitious, though not p ...more
Local businessman Harry Mitchell is the respectable, hard-working boss of a small Detroit engineering company. Happily married to his wife Barbara for twenty-two years, he has a mid-life crisis affair with a young model from a nudie bar. Turns out the model works for some local hoods who start blackmailing Mitchell, threatening to expose him if he doesn’t pay them large. That’s where the novel starts. The main s ...more
Thats what the synopsis reads. This is the story of how Harry extracts from his wife's wrath after having an affair, from blackmailing criminals who have killed his mistress after pinning the blame on him, and from a labour relations officer who is gunning for Harry's head. Not to mention a friend whose got his eye's on a pissed off Mrs. Mitchell.
52 Pickup got me hooked on to Elmore Leonard, and along with Cat Chaser it is on the top of the rankin ...more
More than anything else, what I find intriguing about Leonard's books -- the few I've read at an ...more
I don't know, man. This is pretty good. The set-up is great: group of three half-assed thugs try to scam a presumed rich man out of six-figures through blackmail, and then ramp it up with a murder charge when he calls their bluff. The half-asses are ...more
Thriller un po' datato, ma abbastanza coinvolgente ed entusiasmante.
Tre delinquentelli credono di fare il colpo grosso trovando un pollo che si diverte con l'amante e ricattandolo, ma, ben presto, si rendono conto, che hanno scelto l'uomo sbagliato.
La trama non è di quelle impossibili che sanno tessere alcuni maestri del genere. Si presenta abbastanza lineare con pochi personaggi e, essenzialmente, pochi punti di vista, ma ...more
So, this is what true pulp fiction feels like.
This is my first time reading his works, and this first impression initiates a mounting curiosity about his other works. Elmore Leonard was famous in the US for his Western works in the 50s and subsequently for his crime fiction and comedic writing in the 60s and 70s. Fifty-two Pick Up is one of his most memorable crime fictions, having made into a movie starring Roy Scheider and Ann-Margret.
At the center of the boo ...more