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Tishomingo Blues

3.66 of 5 stars 3.66  ·  rating details  ·  5,706 ratings  ·  214 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
ebook, 416 pages
Published March 17th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books (first published 2002)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Kemper
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
...more
Jamie
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
...more
Jim
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.
Mike
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
...more
Melanie
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
This was was 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 ster ...more
Jessica
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
Kathy
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
...more
Alec
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.
3
...more
wally
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

epigraph
i'm going to tishomingo to have my ham bone boiled,
i'm going to tishomingo t
...more
Jim Leckband
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
...more
N N
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
...more
Kathy Hall
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
...more
stefan
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
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
...more
Patricia
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
...more
Stacielynn
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
...more
Duncan Mandel
SUMMARY: 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-loving Detroit hustler touring the Southland in a black Jaguar, Taylor's got his own secret agenda re the "Cornbread Cos ...more
Maureen M
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
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
Jayne
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
...more
Mao Gallardo
I guess this was where Boyd Crowder got the idea to fire a rocket launcher into that African church?
Michael McGrinder
A helluva read. Over a hundred pages of reviews precede me, so I'll forego any further description. I've read everything Elmore Leonard ever published, and I consider Tishomingo Blues his very best. It is wonderfully invested with his trademark dialogue, sardonic humor, casual surprises, easy characterization and superb story-telling. If you have never read anything of his, begin with this one. If you've read Leonard and liked him but missed this, pick it up. Elmore Leonard wrote a great number ...more
Randy
I've probably read over a hundred crime genre books but I finally got around to the prolific and well-know Elmore Leonard who has written about a hundred books all by himself. I picked up Tishomingo Blues at the Lummi Island Library book sale for $.50 and have to say it was worth every penny. I wouldn't go so far as to agree with the blurb by the Baltimore Sun on the book cover that the book is a "certified masterpiece." But it's a good tale, well-told. It's actually a clever plot that involves ...more
Matt
This is really vintage Elmore Leonard. I went through a phase and read too many of his books at once, so I got burned out. That's been several years ago now, and it was time to come back to Leonard. I haven't read any of his westerns, but his non-westerns have an unmistakable style.

By unmistakable style, I mean they're all virtually identical, there are few surprises, wherever the characters are from they talk as if they just got off the boat from a Mafia movie ... in Detroit. But god they're su
...more
Nekouken
Tishomingo Blues is perhaps the most unlikely success I have ever seen. I'll demonstrate this by first describing it to you:

A professional high-diver, having set up a regular gig over the summer at a run-down hotel in the deep south, witnesses a murder and makes friends with a drug dealer enamored of the old-style '20s-era blues, and the two of them join a Civil War re-enactment with the murderers, their employers, a Vegas mob boss and a retired minor league pitcher.

And yet it's one of the most
...more
George Nicholis
Favorite Elmore Leonard book. Bought this at Border's in Munroe Falls, OH and read it during our trip to Spain in 2009. Finished half of it while on an over-night train from Grenada to Barcelona. I remember sitting in the narrow hallway outside my cabin so I wouldn't keep my room-mates awake with the light on. Loved it.

From my blog:

My second foray into the realm of Elmore Leonard turned out to be a different, more comedic journey than the first. Tishomingo Blues follows famous high-diver Dennis
...more
Judith
Enjoyable, easy-to-read novel, featuring some wacky characters along with the sane ones.

Star of the story is Dennis Lenahan, high-dive performer. He likes to climb to 80 feet and dive into a small tank. Usually does it at fairs but got tired of it, so he talked the owner of the Tishomingo Casino in Tunica, Mississippi, into letting him set up there. While preparing for his first test dive, Dennis is on top of his ladder when he manages to witness something he wishes he hadn't.

It soon becomes cle
...more
Alexis
I looked forward to reading this from the beginning of the book, which started off great and made me nostalgic. I knew so many of the areas and references, that I felt right at home. But about a third of the way into the book, I completely lost interest. I found myself interrupting by reading two completely different books instead and then forcing myself to finish this one. I wound up skimming probably the last 100 pages.

The writing is good, especially the banter. But the story just got boring
...more
Frederick Bingham
The story of Dennis Lenahan. He is an itinerant high diver, traveling from one amusement park gig to another. He finds himself at the Tishomingo casino in Tunica, Mississippi. He is setting up his pool and platform when he witnesses a mob hit from the diving platform. From then on he is propelled through a series of events to takes sides in a mob war going on.There are a number of great characters in the book. A washed up baseball player who can talk of nothing else but his former glory on the p ...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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