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Rum Punch

(Ordell Robbie & Louis Gara #2)

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  8,899 ratings  ·  458 reviews
Ordell Robbie makes a fine living selling illegal high-powered weaponry to the wrong people. Jackie Burke couriers Ordell's profits from Freeport to Miami. But the feds are on to Jackie - and now the aging, but still hot, flight attendant will have to do prison time or play ball, which makes her a prime 'loose end' that Ordell needs to tie up...permanently. Jackie, however ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published December 1st 2004 by Orion Publishing Group (first published 1992)
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Average rating 3.90  · 
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 ·  8,899 ratings  ·  458 reviews

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Glenn Russell
Nov 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing

I recall someone saying how Elmore Leonard isn't old school `cause he built the school. Very true. My favorite Elmore Leonard novels are Tishomingo Blues and Pagan Babies; Rum Punch is my very favorite, thus this review. Also, in addition to reviewing the book, let me plug the audiobook read by Joe Mantegna. The voice of Joe Mantegna is pitch-perfect, his rhythm and inflections capturing each of the characters, male and female, as well as the mood and charged atmosphere of the entire story.

Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

4.5 Stars

“My ass may be dumb, but I ain’t no dumbass” – Ordell Robbie

Well, call me a dumbass because I had no idea that Rum Punch was the real name for

For the past 17 years I’ve been singing the praises of Tarantino’s film – only to find out Elmore Leonard was actually the mastermind behind this product. (In defense of my undying Tarantino love – casting Pam Grier as “Jackie Brown” rather than some rando white broad a
Dec 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: serial-thrillers
This is classic Elmore Leonard story telling.
Leonard takes the phrase ‘There’s no honour amongst thieves’ and cranks it up more than a few notches. All the characters here are villains. Some are nice and some are down right horrible but they’re all villains just the same.
One of the horrible villains, Ordell Robbie, is a gun dealer with a great deal of money banked off shore, $500,000.00. to be exact. He wants to get his hands on his money and with the help of some of his nefarious friends sets u
Jul 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Even more resonant and layered than The Switch, but just as compulsively readable and enjoyable, this is Elmore Leonard at his best. He never condescends to his flawed, conniving, desperate, and altogether human characters, and he never tips his hand as to where his twisty plot is headed. It’s a pleasure to know that he was incredibly prolific, and that there are so many more of his novels I have yet to read.
I finally made it over to my winter stockpile of Rick Bass and was settling in. Getting used to the rhythms of it again (which takes no getting used to at all, for me). Letting the slow, deep, calm, quiet solitude fill up my soul. Then I was housesitting for a few days. There, I watched Jackie Brown. Then, I had to pull out Rum Punch.

I thought, oh boy. This can’t work. Rick and Elmore, Bass and Leonard? My two favorites but, so so different. I thought, what if one taints the other? What if one m
Unlikeable, un-root-for-able characters, rampant sexism, and not a lick of excitement. Huuuuge disappointment for my first (and likely last) Leonard book.
Sep 26, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

A great place to start if you haven't read any Leonard: the Miles Davis of crime writers.
Paul Bartusiak
Nov 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After all these years, my first Elmore Leanord book.

What a Punch it packs!

Narrative form is truly different, even the tense of what someone speaks, and perspective can change in a heartbeat, so effective.

The dialogue pops, makes you really see the characters, makes you laugh out loud:

    "Man, this shit works on my nerves," Ordell said. "Tells me I should change the plans around. First thing, I have to find somebody to take Simone's place."
    "Don't look at me," Louis said.
    "I'm not lookin

*** TRIGGER WARNING: Language, Sexual Themes, Drugs and Violence ***

The only reason that I finished this book was because it came recommended by one of my family members. I was hoping that it would get better. I understood that it was a time piece and I can honestly say that it doesn't live up to the hype. It also didn't age well. There was no issues with pacing just plot. I feel that the author was trying to give some well thought out and sophisticated action packed gang related story and it d
Camille Dent
Feb 17, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Not my kind of story in general, but I think avid readers of the genre would enjoy it a lot! I was really intrigued by the writing style, even if the plot itself didn't do much for me. Leonard's limited third-person narratives work extremely well as both story-telling and character development media.
Feb 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is absolutely a high point in a career full of them. Like always, though, I find Leonard's stuff hard to review because all of his books, to one degree or another, are variations on a theme: double- and triple-crosses perpetrated by A) a shrewd woman, B) a world-weary guy (who typically has the hots for the shrewd woman), C) a couple incompetent villains, and D) assorted other Miami and/or Detroit lowlifes. And of course all of it is shot through with Leonard's unerring ear for dialogue.

Around the World of Crime and Mystery
1992 - North America
Hook - 2 stars: "Sunday morning, Ordell took Louis to watch the white-power demonstration in downtown Palm Beach." Yep, and you know this area well as you'll find Mira Lago there today. Yep, that opener is stupendous in timeliness. And the next lines, right out of today's headlines, "Young skinhead Nazis," Ordell said. "Look, even little Nazigirls marching down Worth Avenue. You believe it?" Now, those lines certainly grab your attention (
robin friedman
May 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Flight Attendant And The Bail Bondsman

Elmore Leonard's novel "Rum Punch" (1992) tells a tangled tale of crime, violence and double-crossing written in a punchy style with sharp dialogue. The plot is confusing to follow at first, but it works out. Most of the story is set in West Palm Beach, Florida; but the setting is not the primary focus of the book. The main interest of the work lies in the snappy writing and in the characters and their relationships.

While the book is full of sexual scene
Jun 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
After months of popular physics, the crime novels just don’t seem the same.
Dec 28, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
For the most part, this really isn’t my genre, which is why it took me so long to finish it. I found it boring and pretty predictable overall.
Kathy Davie
Aug 25, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
A crime novel involving gun running and smuggling in Florida.

My Take
It has parallels with Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series in its easy, laid back style while it's casually violent on the criminal side. On the cop side, they're also easy and laid back and good with laying it on thick. I would like to know who snitched about the money Jackie's bringing in.
"She said, 'That man works? Has a job?'

'He's a bail bondsman.'

'I wondered,' Simone said, '"cause he don't know shit about robbing people
Nellie Mitchell
Jul 25, 2019 rated it it was ok
Not my favorite style, lots of dialogue. A couple of the characters were interesting, and the story felt like I was reading a movie or tv show script.
Oct 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: crime-gangsters
I picked this up the other day in a pawn shop for 1€ in English and reread it in a day. The book is brilliant with dialogue so authentic that it barely qualifies as English at times. Elmore Leonard has the ear of a great musician when it comes to writing dialogue from the street. I used to live down in this area of south Florida so I appreciate his eye for detail in his descriptions of this tacky suburban hellscape.

I read this book many years ago and when I saw Quentin Tarrantino’s shitty film
Rob Epler
Jul 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you like Elmore Leonard--and you should--this is another fun read. Though the basis of the Quentin Tarantino film Jackie Brown, it's quite different. But if you're looking for the usual tight plotting, vivid characters, & crackling dialog, pick it up. Leonard's books are all quick reads, & are generally what I'd call snappy. At this point I've read 29 of his books (& listened to 4 more of 'em), so take my fandom for what it's worth. ...more
Aug 09, 2015 rated it liked it
Of all the books by Elmore Leonard that I have read, this is my least favorite. The story line and characters wandered all over the place, making the plot somewhat difficult to follow.

In addition, Leonard's prose wasn't as crystalline as usual.
Jun 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Absolute fun. I had not read anything from Elmore Leonard before, and I had seen Jackie Brown; so this felt like a safe option. Now I can explore Leonard a little further.
Dec 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: leonard
this is the....17th...18th...from leonard for me...

dedicated for jackie, carole, and larry

story begins:
sunday morning ordell took louis to watch the white-power demonstration in downtown palm beach.

"young skinhead nazis," ordell said. "look, even little nazigirls marching down worth avenue. you believe it? coming now you have the klan, not too many here today. some in green, must be the coneheads' new spring shade. behind them it looks like some bikers for racism, better known as the dixie knigh
Jun 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In 1997, Quentin Tarantino released a crime film called ‘Jackie Brown’. I remember seeing the film and liking it very much. Recently I had the occasion to see the film again, and this time I noticed that the film was based on a novel by Elmore Leonard, one of my favorite crime writers, only he called the novel ‘Rum Punch’.

So I picked up the book, and I enjoyed it very much also. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys crime fiction. The world lost a great and entertaining writer in 2013. Nobody writ
Craig Pittman
Jan 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I went through a binge-read of Elmore Leonard novels years ago, how did I miss this one? It takes place entirely in Palm Beach County and features one of Leonard's most interesting protagonists, cool and somewhat crooked flight attendant Jackie Burke, along with veteran bail bondsman Max Cherry and arms dealer/murderer Ordell Robbie.

When Tarantino turned this into a movie, he renamed Jackie Burke as Jackie Brown and cast Pam Grier, which was a smart move, as was casting Samuel L. Jackson a
Harsha Ilapakurty
This was my first Elmore Leonard novel. WOW, do I love it! I kind of knew coming off of Justified that the stories and characters Leonard creates are just made for me. All the characters are different shades of grey - Except for Max, which is why I found his arc to be the most compelling because he is an extremely principled person constantly surrounded by people without those scruples and the whole time you're wondering why he hasn't broken yet.

Max is a bail bondsman and surrounded by a lot of
May 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Four and a half stars. Four Later Novels is a collection of novels that includes Leonard's most famous, Get Shorty. Rum Punch, from this collection, was made into a movie called Jackie Brown which did justice to the book. Ordell, Melanie and Louis are recycled characters from a previous novel, The Switch. Louis has just gotten out of jail for bank robbery, Ordell is making lots of money selling guns and Melanie is living on one of Odell's apartments. Jackie is an airline stewardess for an econom ...more
Sagheer Afzal
Apr 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
A highly skilful book. Elmore Leonard is a master of this genre. And like Stephen King, having read just one of his book, I have purchased the rest of his crime books. I doubt very many writers are able to animate characters so vividly through dialogue alone. This book also has some wry humorous touches as well. The only reason why is was not a five star rating was the decidedly weak ending.

You may ask why read this book when you can watch the film 'Jackie Brown' The fact that the movie does no
Anthony O'Connor
Jul 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Despite being a big fan of Quentin Tarantino's Jackie Brown I'd never actually read the book. Cracking read as always from Elmore, but what struck me is the number of plot threads the movie doesn't even touch. There are nazis, ex wives and more shenanigans from the ATF agent. Interesting that some of the more cinematic elements of the book didn't make it to the cinema.

Sharp dialogue, spare description, wonderful characters. Feels almost like watching an extended director's cut of Jackie Brown, a
Apr 19, 2017 rated it liked it
I've read a few Elmore Leonard books in the past and they tend to follow a similar kind of formula. The women are usually described a lot in terms of appearance and how men see them but they're generally a lot smarter than the male characters, who usually think that they're smarter than they are. This one's worth reading mainly for the famous Jackie Brown, even if she is a skinny white woman in the book, as she's definitely one of his best characters (if not the best).
Sep 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
I had seen Jackie Brown, the movie adapted from this book, several times before finally reading Rum Punch. Despite knowing the story, Leonard's writing style and the heist plot kept me captivated the whole way through. As with other Elmore Leonard books, this one is a very easy read with no filler. It moves along at a very quick pace yet manages to develop the characters and their motivations quite well. I really enjoyed my time reading Rum Punch.
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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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Ordell Robbie & Louis Gara (2 books)
  • The Switch

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