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Be Cool (Chili Palmer #2)

3.48  ·  Rating Details ·  5,209 Ratings  ·  226 Reviews
BE COOL offers a second entertaining installment in the career of Chili Palmer - originally a Miami loan-shark but now a big-shot in Hollywood. Chili gets interested in the music business acting for a girl-singer with a lot of soul. Trouble is, everything that happens to Chili strikes him as being material for another great movie ...
Paperback, 304 pages
Published March 3rd 2005 (first published February 24th 1999)
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Joe Valdez
Published in 1999, Be Cool is the sequel to Elmore Leonard's Get Shorty Whether it was good vibes or his fans or the money, or all three, Leonard felt compelled to continue the misadventures of Miami Beach loan shark turned film producer Ernest "Chili" Palmer in Los Angeles. The reader is quickly brought up to speed that Chili's movie Get Leo was not only produced but was a hit. As the story goes, the studio moved forward with a sequel, the producer balked, the studio let him come up with a stor ...more
Jul 03, 2013 Jamie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mr. Chili Palmer says it himself in this one, his own sequel: “A sequel has to be better’n the original or it’s not gonna work.” And I don’t know that it’s better than Shorty, but it’s sure about as much fun.

In fact, the only thing denting this one is that in between the two, I watched the movie Get Shorty. Travolta is a love-him-or-hate-him kind of actor, I think, and I lean towards the latter. He was so not the Chili in my mind and I wish I didn't have to work so hard in this one to picture an
Nov 12, 2010 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-thriller
Elmore Leonard pisses me off because he writes so well that, in my nimble mind, the task of writing a novel seems to be a no-brainer. I DO know better. Leonard is so much fun to read because he's so easy to read. That's not to say his writing is simple, far from it. He just does it so well, with a perfect flow to dialogue and exposition. Be Cool is the continued adventures of Chili Palmer and the usual cast of miscreants. Have fun.
Verge LeNoir
Sep 06, 2015 Verge LeNoir rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
5 out of 5

For a fun breezy read from the master of the Crime Fiction genre Mr. Elmore Leonard (RIP)

Chili ‘look at me’ Palmer, the ex-wise guy (okay so he was ‘loosely connected’) ex-loan shark from Brooklyn by way of Miami Beach, is in Los Angeles now where he has re-invented himself as a movie producer whose in dire need of material for a new film project. And he gets one; at a lunch meeting with a shady record producer which opens the book with a bang.

Intrigued by this music business thing, h
Aug 06, 2008 Kandice rated it it was amazing
I think I like this more because of the reader (Campbell Scott) than the story. When I stop listening and go about my day, I try to think about the plot and what is going on in the tale. It just isn't that great. I get back in the car, turn it on and am immediately sucked in. Scott's voice is just so lovely. It's deep and a bit throaty. He doesn't "do" voices, but somehow you always know when a woman is talking. To me, that's the real mark of a great reader.

It's a bit unfair to Leonard that I've
Sincere W.
Jun 15, 2012 Sincere W. rated it it was amazing
Jesus, if I'm ever able to write dialogue this well I can die a happy man.

This is a fun read, full of interesting characters and very funny scenes. There's Shylocks, gay Samoans, rappers, music execs and a healthy dose of gangsters. The characters develop in unexpected yet logical ways. And the interactions between characters is crisp and authentic.

The story concept - if that's what you'd call it - is damn clever, too. The main character, Chili Palmer is putting together what's to be his third
Jul 31, 2016 Dave rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The return of the charming thug Chili Palmer does what too many sequels do by capturing some of the spirit of the original but not much else. Although this is a pleasant enough jaunt with Chili using his magic on the music industry this time, the story is too much of a retread. What was once surprising and innovative is now too familiar. My expectations were perhaps too high, but this is just a merely adequate thriller with paint-by-numbers background characters.
Nov 10, 2015 Peter rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-thriller
Be Cool (1991) is the second in Elmore Leonard’s Chili Palmer series. Ernest (Chili”) Palmer was introduced in Get Shorty as a mob-connected Miami loan shark chasing down a deadbeat in LA. The deadbeat, Harry Zimm, is a producer of B movies and Chili joins with him to produce a movie called Get Leo. The movie is a success and the profits pay off the producer’s loan and give Chili an asset boost. But a sequel named Get Lost tanks at the box office.

Chili comes out of it with cash and a reputation
Yong Lee
Dec 24, 2016 Yong Lee rated it liked it
Elmore Leonard's Be Cool: Chili Palmer is looking for the next big thing, but has to survive a United Nation of gangsters looking for a cut. ...more
Jul 07, 2008 Nekouken rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
Elmore Leonard's Be Cool was the long-awaited sequel to Get Shorty, but as eager as I was to read it, after I was finished, I was not only disappointed but I realized why it was a terrible idea in the first place. In my review of GS, I described Chili Palmer as a neanderthal at a fencing match. In BC, he's the same neanderthal, except he's learned to fence just in time to go bowling. At the time the book starts, Chili is part of the Hollywood machine; his mobby directness is gone in favor of Hol ...more
Rex Fuller
Apr 22, 2013 Rex Fuller rated it it was amazing
At the Four Seasons...yeah LA not NY, you know I been back a week already. So I'm looking and who comes in but Chili Palmer. Yeah, the man himself. We go back to the old days and he comes over and we catch up. Gives me a Cohiba panatela and we don't light up account of the rules everywhere. And I ask him it bother him the reviews and stuff they say about Be Cool. How they say it don't "measure up" to Get Shorty and "formulaic." And he says, what, he's supposed to read guys who couldn't get somet ...more
Nov 30, 2008 Lori rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008november
I didn't realize when picking this up (another book sale cheapo) that it was the sequel to Get Shorty, which I don't think I've ever read or seen. (I kept being bothered by the idea of Travolta as Chili Palmer, though that must be the role he plays.) Even as I figured it out, though, I decided to read it anyway. It certainly looked like it could stand on its own.

And for the most part, it did. Fast plot, fast characters, fast action, fast read.

Which is basically the problem. Even though billed as
Sarah B.
Jan 02, 2011 Sarah B. rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book, but I didn't love it as much as other Leonard books. It's set in Hollywood, and although the main character Chili Palmer is out-of-place (having missed both movies, I managed to picture a middle-aged retrosexual and not John Travolta for Chili), the rest of the characters are mostly pretty terrible Hollywood stereotype people. I didn't want to know them better and I didn't care if they succeeded or failed to achieve their superficial desires. Except Eliot: him I loved. Fortuna ...more
Feb 27, 2015 Josh rated it liked it
I read a lot of reviews saying this book was way worse than Get Shorty and some of Leonard's worst work but I really enjoyed it. In fact, I think I liked it better than Get Shorty. They are both very similar and I don't see how you could like one and not the other because they're different enough to be different books. I'd give this 3.5 stars if I could, I feel like it was a little better than 3 stars because I enjoyed it so much but not enough to give it 4. Don't let bad reviews fool you, just ...more
Sep 16, 2009 Steven rated it it was ok
I had high expectations for Elmore Leonard - perhaps this wasn't the best introduction. Didn't like the non-grammatical voice his characters would pick up and drop over the course of the story.
The music industry plot line and character development on Linda Moon was good and kept interest, but the song and rap lyrics? Please.
Definitely dates because of the pop culture references, but not too much.
By the end of it, I was ready to be done. He's too smooth, his characters telegraph the next twists
Jul 25, 2011 Amy rated it it was ok
I'd put it in 'summer beach read' category. Again Chili P is working on a movie idea and everyone he comes across (and manipulates?) is a potential character or scene. But everything is a scene, no action happens, Chili usually is just describing (talking, talking, talking) to someone what happened. I won't say the ending, but it summed up how I felt about the book - no real story.
David Ward
Feb 02, 2010 David Ward rated it liked it
Shelves: mysteries, fiction
Be Cool (Chili Palmer #2) by Elmore Leonard (Delacorte Press 1999) (Fiction - Thriller). This is the sequel to Get Shorty, and it is a movie about sequels. Chili Palmer is a Hollywood rewrite man, but the cards are stacked against him. My rating: 7/10, finished 1/1/2011.
Asghar Abbas
Jan 07, 2016 Asghar Abbas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Better than its movie, more racist and still about movies, music part playing a small role.
Both had huge Samoans.
Jan 02, 2009 Carolyn rated it liked it
An easy, amusing read, but something of a time-waster as there were no lessons to be learned, no personal insight to be shared, nothing memorable. Soooo not my scene.
Edward Chapman
May 11, 2011 Edward Chapman rated it liked it
Sequel to Get Shorty and just not up to the original. Chili Palmer is still himself, but the story and the other characters can't compare.
Charley Ilg
Feb 04, 2017 Charley Ilg rated it liked it
Another book I read because I saw the movie. And this might be the second case where I thought the movie was better (first one being 'High Fidelity'). Even though there were many instances where events were different in the book, I thought that the movie made things more entertaining.

Considering this was supposed to be a gangster style of novel, I feel like I couldn't tell when parts were supposed to be funny, and when they weren't. This could be because the movie was so ridiculous at times, but
Oct 29, 2016 Megargee rated it liked it
This book had the perfect ending. At least in terms of quantity; I turned the last page as my plane landed in Las Vegas after a 4.5 hour flight from Atlanta. In terms of quality, oh well. It kept me more or less distracted from my cramped seat and stiff legs. I wasn't that great a fan of Get Shorty and did not expect a great deal from its sequel so I was not disappointed. Since it was a used paperback, it fit in my pocket and I can leave it behind for the next passenger or airplane cleaner secu ...more
Dave Allen
Mar 15, 2017 Dave Allen rated it it was amazing
Classic Leonard. Fascinating characters, gripping plot, smooth writing.

Dude makes it look easy.

Jj Burch
Dec 27, 2016 Jj Burch rated it did not like it
I honestly don't know why I finished this book. It was super dated, slightly racist, and not funny at all. I cared about no one. I'm sad I spent the day reading this and it made me realize I really need a system to stop reading books so I don't waste time on crap.
Stephen Gallup
Upon finishing Get Shorty recently, I planned to read some more examples of Leonard's writing in the near future. My friend Ed recommended one of his westerns, but as things turned out the next title to come my way was this sequel to Shorty. Just as well. I was still thinking about the way characters in that story were preoccupied with turning their lives into a movie, and Be Cool carries that theme still further.

The main character is still Chili Palmer, whose rough life prior to arriving in Hol
Tom Marcinko
Dec 09, 2012 Tom Marcinko rated it really liked it
The sequel to Get Shorty. Not quite as funny, but then what is? Aerosmith is immortalized in this novel.

Some quotes:

“But as far as it being illegal, I always saw it as a gray area, open to question.”

“…the people I was alleged to have been associated with.”

Maybe putting him on and telling the truth at the same time.

“I forgot,” Linda said, “you used to be a crook.”
“Actually, I never thought of myself that way.”

“…What’s he need a bodyguard for?”
“I guess,” Linda said, “‘cause he’s such an asshole.
Aug 29, 2007 James rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Hard-up Elmore Leonard fans
i've realized that i have a huge problem with books that try to fictionalize the music industry, and it's that they always seem so fake. being a complete and total music nerd, whenever i read a book or story featuring a fictional label, band, or whatever it may be, it kind of makes my skin crawl because it feels so put on. it also highlights the difficulty in coming up with decent names, whether they be for band or label.

but that's just a problem that I have -- it's not the only problem this boo
Feb 26, 2011 Toby rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Get Shorty was a great film; Be Cool was not. Leonard's novel was a better followup than the resulting Travolta-Thurman flick, and my impressions of it as a sequel are based on having seen Get Shorty but not having read it.

Be Cool is standard Elmore Leonard -- 300 pages of crime hijinks, sex, guns, and one badass being more badass than the other badasses and saying badass things while he's at it. Into this mix toss an indictment of the record industry -- the slimy promoters, the mercurial loyalt
Aug 07, 2008 Martin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008books
I realized after rating "Be Cool" that I have rated all the Elmore Leonard books I have read three stars. This may be unfair; I absolutely LOVE Elmore Leonard. I guess since I devour his books so quickly and they go down so easily they tend to not make much of an impact or be terribly memorable. Yet, they are just great books. Pitch-perfect, hilarious, exciting, gritty, always delicious. I love Elmore Leonard, so much I can’t find enough food metaphors to describe him and his writing.

At any rat
Jun 30, 2013 Christina rated it it was ok
Yes, I read this book because I saw the movie and yes, this is the first Leonard book that I've read. Now that we've got that out of the way, I can kind of see the mass appeal, but it just wasn't for me. However, the story's development from page to screen was quite interesting because the differences were vast. In the movie, Chili could do no wrong, Raji could do no right, and Linda was a pie-in-the sky angel who was as pure as a sapphire sparkle. But Leonard's version was far from that. I foun ...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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Other Books in the Series

Chili Palmer (2 books)
  • Get Shorty (Chili Palmer, #1)

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“You know what people who go to nude beaches look like?"

"Tell me."

"People who shouldn't go to nude beaches."

"Is Chili Palmer joining the tour?'

"I wasn't told"

"Ask Nick for me."

About a minute went by. Now he heard Nick saying, "Tell him if he goes near Chili Palmer I'll see that he suffers excruciating pain and will never fucking walk again in his life."

And, then Robin's voice: "Nick said to tell you that if you go near Chili Palmer he'll have your legs broken."

"Why couldn't he say it like that?"

"He reads, but the wrong books.”
More quotes…