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Rum Punch (Ordell Robbie & Louis Gara #2)

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  7,591 Ratings  ·  348 Reviews
From America's top writer of hardboiled crime, the novel that became Tarantino's hit film JACKIE BROWN.
Paperback, 304 pages
Published December 1st 2004 by Orion Publishing Group (first published 1992)
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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 as “Jackie B
Feb 17, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: the-dirty-south
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
Apr 20, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Clásica novela policial de los noventas que Tarantino filmaría par de años después. Un ritmo vertiginoso y los personajes y situaciones típicas del genero hacen una lectura rápida y entretenida.
Unlikeable, un-root-for-able characters, rampant sexism, and not a lick of excitement. Huuuuge disappointment for my first (and likely last) Leonard book.
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
Dec 27, 2010 rated it really liked it
I wouldn't have even thought of picking this up if it wasn't on the cheap rack at a book store, and if it didn't say on the cover that it was the film that inspired Quentin Tarantino's film 'Jackie Brown.' To say that inspired it is understating the significance of the book slightly. If I didn't know better, I would think it was actually just a novelization of the film.

In the end this gives me a positive view of Elmore Leonard and lessens the significance of 'Jackie Brown' the film, because pret
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.

Quentin Tarantino ha trovato in questo libro una sceneggiatura praticamente già pronta, dialoghi compresi. Infatti, il film si discosta pochissimo dal romanzo, a parte qualche personaggio minore in meno e un finale leggermente diverso, che è anche più credibile. Prevale indubbiamente l’azione, tuttavia i personaggi acquisiscono un certo spessore proprio in virtù del loro comportamento e di come reagiscono di fronte ai fatti.

Tutto sommato, però, ho preferito la pellicola, forse perché per i film
Mar 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is the novel that eventualy gave birth to JACKIE BROWN,Tarantino's best film.There are some diferences;Jackie is white,location is Miami Beach,there is much more sex and so on.Writing is excellent,crystal clear and tight,dialogues are splendind-Leonard is Tarantino's favourite writer-and plotting is without flaws.Up until this novel I found Leonard to be a bit overrated,but after this little masterpiece I'm close to beign a fan.
Sara Zovko
Sep 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Zanimljiva, brza radnja, pomalo duhovita, bez filozofije(jer je i nepotrebna u priči koja se vrti oko pohlepe, novca i šverca oružjem).
Nije ni čudo da je Tarantino napravio film Jackie Brown prema ovoj knjizi jer stil je vrlo sličan njegovom.
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
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
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.
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
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
Aug 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
What a hoot & a holler! This over-the-top crime novel is filled with interesting characters--some are low-lifes, some are on the borderline between honest and criminal, some are just getting by as best they can, etc. Leonard's dialogue is a treat, of course, as is his plot. The Independent refers to this as "hard-edged pop art," a perfect description. Dead bodies pile up and those still alive do what they must in order to stay that way. And someone is going to end up with a very large bag of ...more
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.
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).
Apr 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
Second book by Elmore Leonard and it just keeps getting better. Casting about for the next book to read.
Feb 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-02-february
Dec 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Wanneer het einde van een boek nadert en het plot zich langzaam ontrafelt. Het langzaam bereiken van een climax. Ik hou daarvan.

Had ik maar 1% van de koelbloedigheid van Jackie Brown.
Carl R.
Aug 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I picked up a copy of Rum Punch from a place I was staying on a recent vacation. Having somehow missed it among all the Elmore Leonard I had read, having also solid reason to believe it would lie neglected on the shelf where I found it, I decided to give it a new home. According to the message penciled inside the battered cover, it had cost somebody only 2 pounds sterling, so no great loss if I never get back to Bradford-on-Avon to return it.

Then, a few pages into it, I got the word of his deat
Adam Brown
Like many others, I read Rum Punch because I adore Jackie Brown and was curious to see how Quentin Tarantino had adapted Elmore Leonard's material. Anyone who has seen a Tarantino film will understand that I was surprised to find that he had made the story, or at least one of its subplots, sweeter than Leonard's novel. The world of Rum Punch is mean by comparison; everyone is crooked (even the philandering cop). I actually found it a little disorienting to be involved in a story with almost no d ...more
Matt Raymond
The only Quentin Tarantino movie I ever liked & have been able to rewatch is Jackie Brown. While everything else he's done has been a tongue & cheek throwback to the movie genres he grew up with, Jackie Brown was less of a modern blaxploitation picture and more of a story about desperate people forced to do desperate things. This isn't a review of the movie, obviously, but the main reason I liked it is because of this book, which I only just got around to reading. And now that I've read ...more
Leonard's uncanny ear for dialogue is in full effect here. Also notable is his tendency to back up and replay a scene, or part of a scene, from the perspective of a different character, which allows him to add subjective layers and facets to his cast. Tarantino adapted this to film as Jackie Brown; it has one of those intricate plots that expects the reader/viewer to do some thinking or be bamboozled along with certain of the book's cops, criminals, and federal agents. At every point, I rooted f ...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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“He sat in the living room in the dark, an expert at waiting, a nineteen-year veteran of it, waiting for people who failed to appear, missed court dates because they forgot or didn't care, and took off. Nineteen years of losers, repeat offenders in and out of the system. Another one, that's all Louis was, slipping back into the life.” 3 likes
“That goddamn Louis, you see what he done? Put his cigarette butt in here. I’m gonna punch him right in his smokin’ mouth.” Max turned back to the form, glades mutual casualty printed across the top. He said, “I know how you feel. But when you hit an ex-con who’s done three falls, they say you better kill him.” 1 likes
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