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Killshot

3.70  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,240 Ratings  ·  246 Reviews
Armand Degas is a Mafia hit man the guys call Blackbird. He is cool and composed and knows a good score. So when punk crook Richie Nix tells him about his surefire scheme to extort $10,000 from a middle-of-nowhere Michigan real estate agent, Armand signs on. What the two thugs don't count on is Carmen Colson and her ironworker husband, Wayne, being in the real estate offic ...more
Paperback, 334 pages
Published February 17th 1999 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published 1989)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Kemper
Sep 03, 2013 Kemper rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Who would be more dangerous, two sociopathic killers teaming up or a middle-aged couple who could use some marriage counseling?

Armand Degas (a/k/a Blackbird) sometimes does contract killing for a group of mobsters in Michigan and Canada, and while visiting his old hometown after murdering a man in Detroit, he meets Richie Nix. Nix is a small time armed robber and all-around punk who doesn’t think twice about shooting anyone who crosses his path. Richie has come up with a scheme to extort money f
...more
Mara
I'm gonna commit what should be the most flattering of intellectual property crimes, and pass along the opening query with which Kemper begins his (admittedly superior) review of this book:
Who would be more dangerous, two sociopathic killers teaming up or a middle-aged couple who could use some marriage counseling?
Well if that isn't a question for the ages, then I just don't know what is. This is a bit of a lazy review, so I'll give you some extra tidbits of info to take into account while
...more
Joe Valdez
Sep 07, 2014 Joe Valdez rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-crime
The 27th novel by Elmore Leonard, published in 1989 as his renaissance from pulp fiction to the bestseller list was underway, killed me softly. It begins as a routine caper, headed for a bit of home invasion as a pair of crooks tangle with a married couple. It's all carried over with Leonard's sharp, often inspired dialogue, illustrious research and just enough quirkiness to keep me turning the pages. The novel coasts toward its conclusion and when I wasn't looking, knocked me to the mat.

Armand
...more
Cathy DuPont
Aug 27, 2013 Cathy DuPont rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone who loves a well written story
Does it get any better than this? Killshot...five stars not because of this being my tribute to the passing of Mr. Leonard but it deserved five stars on its own. Great book, per usual from Elmore Leonard.


 photo ap_elmore_leonard_ss_ml_130820_ssh_zps39c5f709.jpg
Elmore John Leonard, Jr. Picture Taken September 17, 2012

My tribute read for Elmore Leonard, RIP.

Born: Elmore John Leonard, Jr.
October 11, 1925
New Orleans, Louisiana, United States

Died:
August 20, 2013 (aged 87)
Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, United States

From Wiki: Leonard often cited Ernest He
...more
Jim
Oct 23, 2014 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a downloaded from my library & was my first by this author, so I gave it an extra star for being a good introduction. I don't know who narrated this - the info isn't even on the audio. He was good, though.

The story was fast paced & fairly well put together. There were a few times I wondered why the characters acted as they did, but not one of them was particularly normal. The bad guys were psychos, the authorities stuffed bureaucrats, & the victims were - great. Not exactly
...more
Matthew
Oct 15, 2007 Matthew rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Part of the problem here is that Elmore Leonard is hyped as an Important Writer, a kind of second-coming of Raymond Chandler et al. If I'd sat down to read Killshot (my first and probably last Leonard novel) without those expectations, I'd probably have come away satisfied by this workmanlike but generally unremarkable thriller. As it was, I found myself holding him to a standard against which he doesn't even begin to compete: Leonard is decent at characterization and has a nice ear for local id ...more
Katy
Aug 22, 2013 Katy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Please note: I read this book in 2006. I'm just updating some of the formatting. This is also a celebration of Elmore Leonard, whose life tragically ended this week.

My Expectations: Since I am a fan of the movie adaptations of Elmore Leonard's works (Jackie Brown, Be Cool) I've been wanting to start reading his books. This is the first I've read and I was most impressed with his writing style.

My ThoughtsI was amused to find him not at all sympathetic toward police or U.S. Marshals, although he
...more
Still
Nov 09, 2013 Still rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of Elmore Leonard's best line up of characters and his strongest female lead ever.
This would be a very nice introduction to readers unfamiliar with Elmore Leonard's writing.
It's a thriller straight out of the gate and lacks the kind of jokey exchanges between characters that most readers of EL are accustomed to.
Everything about this novel is perfect.
It's an exciting, suspenseful and ultimately satisfying read.
Highly Recommended.
Jamie
Feb 20, 2014 Jamie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

Maybe a 1.5. It wasn't awful, but I didn't particularly enjoy it.

I admit, I only picked this up because I needed an 'L' author and it also fit another challenge category - that will learn me!

It took me a couple of days to finish because it was just too easy to put down for other books. Kind of reminds me of No Country For Old Men, this does have speech marks but the tone/ style overall was similar. It started off OK, then just went rapidly downhill.

Armand Degas ( Blackbird) is a hit man, there
...more
Rob
Sep 24, 2013 Rob rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like my hero Kurt Vonnegut, Elmore Leonard makes it look so easy that I find myself getting angry at him at the same time I'm enjoying his books. Killshot is a deceptively simple story: a hardened, professional contract killer and a flaky, unprofessional thug stalk a married couple who are responsible for derailing the criminal duo's get-rich-quick scheme. And, plotwise, that's really all there is to it. But peel back just a single layer and Leonard is actually exploring two things: 1) the dying ...more
Dan
Feb 20, 2012 Dan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
i finally picked this up after years of enjoying the various film-adaptations of elmore leonard stories, but having never read one of his novels.

like the best films of his work (the original 3:10 to yuma, the tall t, mr. majestyk, jackie brown), this novel shows respect to all of its characters. some are good people, some are scoundrels, some are clever, some are idiotic. but leonard takes the time to turn each one of them into something with at least a shred of humanity and complexity, regardle
...more
Jamie
Dec 22, 2014 Jamie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Carmen and Wayne, Richie Nix and the Bird, everybody driving each other stir crazy. Killshot is full of talk talk talk and that’s a great thing, because all I want to do is listen to these conversations all day.

And it’s this batch of books that makes me want to go back and audit some of the ratings I’ve given this year. If these get adjusted, it’s only up, not down.

Re-read July 2014:

Richie and the Bird have to be one of Elmore’s best pairings. Carmen and Wayne have to be one of his best marriage
...more
Josh S
Jun 23, 2012 Josh S rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
More a modern marriage novel than a noir, Killshot is a rambling story that is as much about the relationship between the husband and wife protagonists as it is about the crooks on their trail. It has solid characterization, excellent idiomatic Michigan dialogue and a playful reality that makes everything that occurs totally plausible.

For fans of straight-ahead mystery and crime novels, Killshot will seem unfocused, slack and low-stakes, but taken on its own terms it's a solid story told well.
Brent
Mar 26, 2012 Brent rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my first Elmore Leonard novel and I went with Killshot because this NY Times article rates as his best book ever:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/27/boo...

Turned out to be a great start! I'm totally in love with the TV show Justified, and of course the movies Out of Sight and Get Shorty, so this book delivered exactly what I wanted and expected--quirky characters, gritty violence, humor, and a little excitement. Can't wait to read some more Leonard now.
David
May 29, 2016 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Syd Perry
This was my first Elmore Leonard book and it may be my last. The book started with nothing but horrible unlikable people. I was thinking, "Who cares if these people kill each other? I hope they do." Finally the protagonists appear. People I can root for, but why do they have to do such dumb stuff? They end up in wit sec, the husband is off on a job and the wife decides she'll go back to their house, where the bad guys know they live. Speaking of the bad guys, why are they even terrorizing these ...more
Andrew Webb
This book is ok. Not bad, not great, just ok. The characters are realistic (there are some nice touches like a top of the line hitman eating frozen dinners) and the plot is compelling in that it tells the story of two completely innocent people caught up in a violent situation simply by being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Unfortunately, while the characters are interesting, Leonard doesn't show us their full emotional range. For example, most married couples have their ups and downs. Car ...more
Juanito Dada
Jan 03, 2014 Juanito Dada rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book because I've heard good things about Leonard's trim prose and great dialogue, and I've been trying to learn neat tricks for my own writing.
The plot itself sounds compelling enough. Armand, an aging Ojibwe hitman who is stoic and a bit socially retarded is paired up with Richie, a whiny, wisecracking and sociopathic whiteboy to hunt down a working class, michigan couple. Armand's grandmother is a medicine woman that threatened to turn him into an owl, and Richie screws around wi
...more
Carl R.
May 16, 2012 Carl R. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Typical Elmore in many ways, is Killshot. Stupid, deadly, comic villains. Characters caught in the middle because of their own weakness or venality. Superb dialogue. Excellent scenery. But there’s something different, too. This is as much about the relationship between protagonist Wayne and his wife, Carmen. They’re working class folks living a middling prosperous life in a fairly successful marriage. Carmen has spunk and imagination and ambition. Wayne’s a good provider, but not long on imagin ...more
Bryce Wilson
Sep 20, 2008 Bryce Wilson rated it liked it
Shelves: crime
I've got a confession to make, I'm not an Elmore Leonard fan.

Yes I know, I'm Mr. Hardboiled, and as Elmore Leonard is more or less responsible for modern American crime fiction, revolutionized the use of dialogue in pulp fiction, he writes cracker jack plots, vibrant characters, and by some accounts smells like cinnamon. By all rights I should be shining the man's shoes.

But something is just always off for me in his books and it always manages to ruin them for me.

Killshot's a perfect example,
...more
Eric T. Voigt Voigt
The first book in a long while I could actually tell people the plot of without grasping for understandable nouns or saying "well..." and vaguely defining a few of the themes. Real quick, real satisfying read. Great characters, loved being in their heads while having the third-person keep the action going. And hey, this is the first book I finished in twenty-sixteen. Whoa. Where does the time go? TELL ME.
Jon Clucas
Jun 20, 2009 Jon Clucas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Killshot is easily my favorite Elmore Leonard book that I have read.

The story from the first page through the last convey a sense of existential angst. I have never read a book like this one before: the story irritated me into continuing, just to finish. I enjoyed reading this book, but every time I read some or thought about what I had read so far, I would feel agitated. I wanted to finish hoping that the end would resolve some of the played-up anxiety.

The end is, to me, satisfactory but not id
...more
Donald Schopflocher
Leonard is a master of crime fiction featuring lowlifes and the lower class. His dialogue always snaps, and his characters' internal dialogues always suit them. His writing seems transparent, and never forced. I think he definitely lived his advice to writers: if it sounds like writing, rewrite it. Superior pulp.
Bill Krieger
I have been on a cheesy crime drama spree lately, reading a few Raymond Chandler books that were great. Marlowe! I read online that Killshot was Elmore's best book... so, I dove into the pool.

I didn't enjoy Killshot very much. Here's the main plot line: Some bad guy calls a real estate office out of the blue and tells them he wants $10K or he's going to drive over and beat them up. (sigh) Nothing about Killshot feels very smart: the plot, the characters, or the writing. The narration is third pe
...more
Pat
Dec 15, 2014 Pat rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Liked it, the amount of time he spent in the bad guys heads was pretty cool, but then he just keeps making the characters behave stupidly to boost the tension.

The wife is mad that her husband marginalizes her and treats her like 'the little woman' and bristles when the other characters in the book do it. So you think she's going to show everyone right? Well yea, eventually, but not before she wastes time trying to decide what to wear before getting the shit out of a safehouse where the Witness P
...more
Edoardo Albert
Jul 25, 2014 Edoardo Albert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My first Elmore Leonard; I'm not sure whether there will be any more, not because of Leonard's skill as a writer - he is terse, talented and has the incalculable gift of page turning - but rather because I'm not sure I particularly want to spend too much more time with assorted killers and lowlifes. The portrayal of said killers and lowlifes - a contract killer called Blackbird and a thrill killer called Richie Nix - is, I fear, all too accurate. Mark Shea is fond of saying that 'sin makes you s ...more
Joe Cummings
Jan 28, 2014 Joe Cummings rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I became interested in reading something by Elmore Leonard after watching his TV series "Justified" and learning that he was the author behind several movies that I had seen including "Valdez Is Coming" and "Get Shorty." I also had heard some good things about his writing style. So I quick check at the local library turned up "Killshot" [1989].
The novel is about a half-bred Indian hit man and a white punk recently released from prison-who decide to murder a real estate agent and her husband who
...more
Susan
Dec 02, 2015 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Killshot” (1989) is another vintage Leonard. Newsweek even called it his best to that point.

Settings are Toronto, the Detroit area and Cape Girardeau in Missouri with some references to Florida. Armand and Richie are definitely the bad guys with Carmen and Wayne Colson definitely the good guys.

The confusion comes in this story with witness security (witness protection) program officers crossing the line from good guys to bad guys. Leonard shows readers how the wit sec program can become a nigh
...more
Ariel
Oct 05, 2014 Ariel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult, mystery
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tex Tourais
Dear Elmore,
The last hundred pages were fun, but I couldn't even figure out who I was supposed to sympathize with for the first one-seventy-eight.

I remain,
Unimpressed
ps.
Adding "who says something like that?" after a crap line doesn't change the fact that you wrote a crap line.
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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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