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Be Cool (Chili Palmer #2)

3.45 of 5 stars 3.45  ·  rating details  ·  4,522 ratings  ·  186 reviews
New York Times bestselling author Elmore Leonard is back, and he's brought Get Shorty's Chili Palmer along for the ride.An unforgettable, hilarious, and spot-on insider's look at Hollywood as only Leonard could write it, Be Cool takes readers on a back-side tour of Tinseltown's other big business--the music industry.

Chili Palmer's follow-up to his smash hit film Get Leo bo
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Audio Cassette, Abridged
Published February 9th 1999 by Random House Audio (first published 1999)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jamie
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
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Jim
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.
Sincere W.
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
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Josh
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
Nekouken
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
Lori
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
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Sarah B.
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
Steven
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
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Sam Pendlebury
Chili Palmer, shylock turned producer, back looking for ideas and inspiration for third of three movie deal following success of Get Leo and flop Get Lost. Conceit Elmore Leonard also looking where his fictional character, Chili, will look see where supposedly real life characters take him and these characters themselves alternately wonder if they will play a part in the yet-to-be-written movie or just be used as material for Chili's 'treatment'. Movie was made same title.

Hitmen get whacked ego
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Amy
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.
Pigfender
I wanted to like this. People say such good things about Elmore Leonard, and I'd enjoyed the movie version of the first Chili Palmer story (Get Shorty). Sadly, I just can't get on with Leonard's writing. After about 50 pages I muttered something to Mrs Pigfender like "life is too short for books you're not enjoying" and stopped reading.

I've tried to put my finger on why I didn't get on with it. My guesses are:
- He's trying too hard to be cool and getting it wrong, like a literary version of Guy
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Carolyn
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.
Jason
Get Shorty was full of memorable characters and was an engaging read that provided the basis for the hit movie starring John Travolta. Unfortunately, John Travola's portrayal of Chili Palmer seems to have influenced Elmore Leonard's treatment of the character in the sequel, Be Cool. This reads as a movie script and is devoid of the empathetic characters that populated Get Shorty. There are flashes of brilliance throughout the book but they are soon lost to pages and pages of empty dialogue. Mayb ...more
Edward Chapman
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.
Lutine Bonnemaison
Livre lu plus par obligation que par intérêt, et au final une lecture accélérée, en diagonale, que je n'ai su véritablement apprécier.
A part quelques passages, je me suis plutôt ennuyée, l'humour et l'univers employés ici n'étant pas vraiment les miens.
Je ne dis pas que Be Cool est un mauvais livre, simplement qu'il ne correspond pas à mes goûts personnels et que je ne m'y suis sans doute pas attaqué l'esprit ouvert, ce qui n'aide pas.
Le roman possède malgré tout des bons côtés, une rythmique
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Rachael Quinn
What I love about the Chili Palmer books is how tongue in cheek they are about themselves. It's like watching a really good spoof. In fact, the movie was almost exactly like that, exciting but funny with little asides about not doing cameos. In the first chapter, Chili says that a sequel has to be better than an original. Leonard pulls that off with this book. Actually, the whole book really pokes fun and sequels to the point where all of the people you are supposed to like prefer the first of P ...more
Elisabeth Crisp
It's embarrassing to admit that this is the first Elmore Leonard book I've read. Even more embarrassing is that I chose this one because it was available for immediate download from the public library. Look past pragmatism for a moment. Be Cool is more than Chili Palmer #2. It's a send up of the entire genre of movie sequels.

Leonard is a master of plot. Protagonist Chili Palmer puts a plan in motion to see what happens next. If it works, the scene stays in the picture. If it doesn't, he'll let t
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Thomas A
Be Cool

Be Cool
By; Elmore Leonard
pp. 384
June 2002
25.60
9780060082154
Harper Collins



Be Cool was a smart, funny, and exiting novel. It starts out with Chili Palmer, the former Miami loneshark, and his lunch with a friend named Tommy Athens from his days in Brooklyn. When Chili goes up to go to the bathroom, he comes back and watches Tommy gets shot before his own eyes. Chili gets questioned by a cop named Darryl Holmes who helps him through the whole story. They find out that Tommy was killed
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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
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wally
dunno what the first elmore leonard story is that i read. maybe this one, within the last few years. this is another where i'd seen the name used by others in their stories, maybe a character from their story read leonard, so i had to see what all the hullabaloo was about.

leonard writes good stories...you got your plot, your characters, you action/dialogue, point a to point b, maybe a twist or two, but that's life, right? chili palmer is a hoot. linda moon. i like his characterizations, the stor
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Rex Fuller
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
William Galaini
Charming, but forgettable almost the hour you finish it, Be Cool is a mild distraction. Having not read the first book, but having seen the film Get Shorty, I was pretty excited to snatch this novel up off the shelf.

First off, it is surprisingly bland, with characters built for the sake of 'quirk' without actually functioning as people. We aren't compelled by their conflicts and we don't find them particularly insightful. The absurd situations that spring up are somewhat inorganic and clearly oc
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Christina
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
Toby
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
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Tom Marcinko
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.
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John
Wow, I had always heard that Elmore Leonard was good, but I sort of didn't believe people...I'm not that into crime fiction and I didn't think I would like it too much. But this was a lot of fun. His dialogue is absolutely perfect, and that is not the most common skill for a pulpy writer. I feel like most of my guilty pleasure writers, like Stephen King or various mystery writers, have good stories but bad dialogue. People don't talk right, but I get so caught up in the narrative that it doesn't ...more
James
Dec 10, 2008 James rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  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
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Martin
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
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Andrew
I remember liking Get Shorty a lot, but not much else about it. Four years later reading Be Cool had me thinking it was even better than I remembered. I love Elmore Leonard, and this is one of his better characters. Leonard had the ability to write like things would really happy... for characters to talk and think like real people. It's a surprisingly difficult task, considering how real we all are. Leonard pulls it off beautifully. Read the book. Read all of his books.

Lawrence Leporte
Jul 12, 2013 Lawrence Leporte rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who've already read all of Elmore Leonard's better books
Maybe 3.5 stars, but rounding up to 4 because it's Elmore Leonard.

EL is known for his dialogue and economy, but with this one I almost felt as if I was reading a play. Also I have pretty well zero interest in the pop music scene in Los Angeles, so it was something of a struggle for me on that level (unlike Cuba Libre, which piqued my interest in the Spanish-American War, the destruction of the USS Maine, etc).

As one would expect, though, the craftsmanship is outstanding and certainly up to EL's
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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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Chili Palmer (2 books)
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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.”
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