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Split Images

3.64 of 5 stars 3.64  ·  rating details  ·  717 ratings  ·  56 reviews
Quintessential Elmore Leonard, Split Images stars Palm Beach playboy Robbie Daniels. He's the kind of guy who gets away with everything -- even murder -- until a vacationing Motown cop, Bryan Hurd, starts asking questions. When this millionaire reptile reveals the psychopath beneath his slippery skin, Hurd finds out this is one helluva way for an out-of-town lawman to spen ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 356 pages
Published October 2002 by HarperTorch (first published 1981)
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Cuba Libre by Elmore LeonardLast Stand at Saber River by Elmore LeonardGet Shorty by Elmore LeonardThe Bounty Hunters by Elmore LeonardThe Law at Randado by Elmore Leonard
Novels of Elmore Leonard
21st out of 46 books — 6 voters
The Acid Diary by Daniel S. FletcherTo Kill a Mockingbird by Harper LeeJackboot Britain by Daniel S. FletcherInto the Wild by Jon KrakauerBlood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West by Cormac McCarthy
Fifty States of Reading
25th out of 55 books — 2 voters


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Community Reviews

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James Thane
As is almost always the case in a book by Elmore Leonard, the characters in Split Images take precedence over the plot.

Robbie Daniels made millions in the Detroit industrial company that he inherited from his father. But Robbie has little interest in being a captain of industry. He much prefers the role of Palm Beach playboy. He especially likes golf, women and guns. He also likes killing people.

Robbie fantasizes about the idea of killing truly despicable bad guys who are beyond the reach of th
...more
Jamie
I need to come up with a way to rank just these books of Elmore’s. There are so many, I try to reserve the five stars for only the very best, but there are so many that are the very best. As soon as I love them enough to read again and again, they’re top-shelf for me.

Let’s say, if I sort them into the top third, the middle third, and the bottom third— which still gets high marks— this one is a top-third for sure.

There’s just something here that really gets me. I like this era of his work so muc
...more
Daniel Villines
There are writers that use their characters to explore the nature of humanity. They dissect their character's thoughts and actions in order to get to the The Heart of the Matter. They work for small bits of truth in a sea of reality and they often succeed, if they are good.

But humans do not fall open to scrutiny so easily. Often in life, the person in front of you simply acts without any hint as to the reasons why. There is no narrator speaking from above and their complexity is protected by the
...more
Bryant
More and more all I want is for someone to tell me a story. Just tell me a story. Give me something to get invested in, make me fall in love with somebody. Break my heart, keep me turning the pages. Leonard has crafted his style around this notion, pared his writing down to the bare-bones, giving you exactly what you need with the upmost precision and economy. He is a master storyteller. This is a fantastic story.
Daniel
Coming off of The Reckoning, I needed something like an Elmore Leonard novel: dialogue-driven and page-turning. I’ve read around twenty of them, but never this one from 1981. This isn’t his best.

The title epitomizes the book: didn’t he have an editor to tell him how clunky it sounds? It doesn’t roll off the tongue. And while the titles of Leonard’s books are like the titles of James Bond movies, this one falls flat. The other issue is that the plot revolves around a millionaire who wants to kil
...more
wally
this is one of 45 stories from leonard i've read to date...18 dec 14...although i read this one back in march of this year. read this one on the kindle and this is the cover they used...if it matters.

story begins:
in the winter of 1981 a multimillionaire by the name of robinson daniels shot a haitian refugee who had broken into his home in palm beach. the haitian had walked to the ocean from belle glade, fifty miles, to find work or a place to rob, to steal something he could see. the haitian's n
...more
Michael
What a relief! After reading Leonard's disappointing most recent, "Raylan", I thought my days of enjoying this master writer's works had come to an end. Fortunately he has written some three dozen or so books and I've only read about 20 of them so I reached way back (30 years!) for one he wrote in 1981 and found the same great writing that had originally made me a fan of his.
Split Images deals with a wealthy young playboy named Robbie Daniels who is very clever and gets his kicks killing people
...more
Johnny
There is not one admirable, personable character in Split Images. Elmore Leonard and his readers are likely to feel ambivalent about all of them. The female journalist, Angela Nolan, clearly uses men to fulfill her voracious ambition. The millionaire playboy, Robbie Daniels, is a psychotic threat to anyone who gets in his way. The policeman who retires to become Robbie’s bodyguard, Walter Kouza, was a Detroit cop with a Wyatt Earp complex who doesn’t let either the law or morality get in the way ...more
Leew49
Golf isn't doing it any more for Robbie Daniels. A few years back, he shot another man on a duck blind, killing him. Maybe it was an accident, maybe not, but part of Robbie Daniels enjoyed it and wanted to do it again. And Robbie has the time and money available to a man who has always been rich, the ungrateful beneficiary of his father's hard work. He never flies on an airline, preferring to catch a ride on someone's corporate jet, has never seen the inside of a Holiday Inn, can't remember the ...more
Tony
I pretty much agree with the general consensus that Leonard is a master of the crime genre and of storytelling in general. His books manage to be perfectly unadorned by stylistic flashiness and yet chock full of compelling characters and sparkling dialogue. That said, this book has to rank as one of his less successful ones -- either that, or just hasn't aged very well. It's preoccupations -- guns and video voyeurism -- are both completely of the time it was written (1981) and still relevant tod ...more
Betty
Leonard writes a good book, no question. I just finished reading City Primeval, written the year before this one, and the basic structure of the novel was very similar. Divorced honorable detective, check; egocentric criminal, check; female interest, check; squad room banter, check; Detroit, check. And so on. But he is such a capable writer and there wasn't a clunker of a word or phrase. So I just have to admire his writing chops. And be grateful that he was a prolific writer.
Natasha
I love Elmore Leonard's writing style and stories. Since he recently passed away, and this book had been unread on my bookshelf for a while, I thought it a good time to pick it up.
There were some unexpected turns in the story, which is always a nice bonus, but overall, it's what you'd expect from him.

The basic premise is a wealthy man shoots a trespasser on his property while he's being interviewed for a story. The journalist ends up meeting with a detective who ends up investigating the wealt
...more
Stephen Baker
I've read about 30 Elmore Leonard books, and this is my favorite. The villain, Robbie Daniels, is charming and despicable. the journalist, Angela, is scheming and a little bit wicked. The cop is closer to the Leonard standard formula. the pacing is perfect, scenes set nicely in Florida and Detroit, dialog on pitch and funny. I've read it four times, and my copy is underlined with notes in the margin, because I used it as a manual for novel writing.
Fred
Normally, a Leonard novel without the trademark gallows humor would be lacking a crucial element to consider it much of a success, but "Split Images" actually excels because it chooses to play it straight. The tension heightened, the sudden bursts of violence rendered all the more tragic and the consequences made all the more real. An eerily prescient story of gun violence as power fantasy and the media's role in propagating the worst symptoms.
Dan Downing
First published in 1981, "Split Images" is unmistakably Elmore Leonard. It also is without doubt not the same Elmore Leonard who was writing a decade later; or two or three decades later. He simply started out unique and became great. He got better and better, sitting in his writing room with a legal pad and writing.
"Split Images" is a beautiful love story, a crime novel, an exercise in letter perfect dialogue. Think we speak the same way now as in 1981? Read this and find out. ( We don't.)
This
...more
Jake
As what seems to happen when I read Elmore Leonard, I enjoy his less-heralded works more than the popular ones. This is a good example. It meanders a bit in the beginning and I almost quit but it turns out to be more focused than his usual works with good characters and a good plot/resolution.
Rich Linder
A wonderfully written book, the dialogue as good as dialogue gets. Elmore Leonard. I've been liking him since I read Freaky Deaky and Maximum Bob. What I like most is how leonard never overexplains. he trusts the reader to get it. Split Images is a story about Bryan Hurd, a cop, and Robbie Daniels, a rich guy whose ambition is to "take out" some of the world's worst bad guys. Of course Robbie, a charming and calculating guy, is also as bad as they come--and he is always surprising you, openly di ...more
Dean Lombardo

I have always loved John D. MacDonald and Elmore Leonard, each a master of taut, gritty and entertaining crime fiction novels. Although Leonard's "Split Images" (1981) is a bit TOO rough in the beginning, the dialogue TOO casual, I ended up loving the novel by the end. The characters are amazing, starting with Police Lieutenant Bryan Hurd, lovely/loveable journalist Angela Nolan, and brazen, millionaire bad guy, Robbie Daniels. My favorite character, a guy who kept me in stitches, was Walter Kou
...more
Bobby
While not one of my favorite Leonard books, Split Images is still rock solid. The foundation is a couple of terrific, fully fleshed out characters, a Lt. Bryan Hurd and rich pretty boy Robbie Daniels who likes to operate on the other side of the law on occasion, just for fun. As usual, you get to know the characters very well, thanks mostly to Leonard's genius use of dialogue. The ride he takes us on in Split Images is also quite a ride. Well worth reading.
J.C.
a fantastic book from 1981. this book was part of Elmore Leonard's more darker books. somewhere along the line he got funny and more entertaining (Get Shorty, Tishomingo Blues) but this one is harsh and gritty. there is no happy ending only random violence and heart break.

but it is a pretty visual book and in the right hands would make one terrific movie.

Holly
Elmore Leonard never disappoints. Split Images is a fast paced, intense story about bringing justice to a murdered Haitian. His work is always intricate delving in to the lives of both sides of the law. When you look at his body of work, so many of his books have been made into movies or TV. You can't miss when you pick up Elmore Leonard.
Sue
I'm gonna admit it, the only reason l picked this up is because l'm a massive "Justified" fan. And l was not disappointed. All of the blurbs about Leonard's writing are true. Quick and biting, fast paced and clever. The thing is, l'm just not a huge fan of crime dramas and murder mysteries. So take the 3 stars with a grain of salt.
Steve
This book features Robbie Daniels, a cocky charismatic billionaire, and one of Leonard's best-drawn characters. He is up against a level-headed homicide detective and a journalist. The story jumps from Detroit to Florida and back, and features just enough guns, drugs, deception and murder. A good read, indeed.
Tom
I really like Elmore Leonard - but this was a bit pedestrian by his normal high standards. Better than "nothing to read", certainly, but nowhere as good as 'Be Cool', 'Pronto', 'Get Shorty', or 'City Primeval'.
Andreas Fasbender
Mar 02, 2012 Andreas Fasbender rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone who does not know Elmore Leonard yet, just like any other book of him
Shelves: kindle
"If work was a good thing the rich would have it all and not let you do it."

Just like in any other book of grand master Mr. Elmore, the story of this chase falls back to its characters and dialogues. And just like any other book of him, I like it and swallow it fast.
Donald
The reason I like Elmore's stuff is that he tells a lot of the story through his characters dialogue. Getting a story like this as an audiobook makes you really pay attention (driver's beware). This one is about a guy who likes killing people as a sort of hobby. Good read.
Marlene
'Twas just okay. I've come to expect a lot more from Elmore Leonard, so I was disappointed. I was surprised to see the phrase "Pagan Babies" in here... I'll have to check when Leonard wrote Pagan Babies, but I think it was later...
Marc
evil...brilliant
Jennifer
This was not as enjoyable as other Elmore Leonard novels that I've read. I just didn't like or believe in the character Robbie Daniels, who was pretty significant. I also found Brian's relationship with Angela a little sketchy.
Nicki
I didn't like this at all and gave up as it seemed that it was going to be full of the F-word and I didn't feel like hunting for the plot amongst bad language. I still want to try some more books by this author though.
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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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