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Rum Punch

(Ordell Robbie & Louis Gara #2)

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  9,642 ratings  ·  518 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 3.91  · 
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 ·  9,642 ratings  ·  518 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.
Daniel Villines
Feb 20, 2021 rated it really liked it
In Rum Punch we revisit characters from Leonard’s earlier novel, Switch, which allows his readers to marvel at the long-term growth of Ordell Robbie, Louis Gara, and Melanie Ralston. Let’s just say that Ordell Robbie becomes a criminal of the type that Quentin Tarantino and Samuel L. Jackson cannot resist depicting in the movie adaptation of this novel, Jackie Brown.

Rum Punch is classic Elmore Leonard. The characters are a beehive of activity, each of them trying to manipulate life to their adv
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
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
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
Bud Smith
Aug 22, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Just the shit. The absolute shit. Only focused on the characters. And through that focus never wavers from what is important to the story. Plot is squirrelly like life is. As chasing down that squirrelly plot in pursuit of understanding the characters, it gets to be that he’s not writing about characters, he’s writing about people and in doing that he’s not hashing out a plot but unspooling a close knit transcendence above the little life and its maze of lust and guts problems … major writer wri ...more
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. ...more
Jan 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another of my forays into 'Which is better, the book or the movie?'

I hadn't read 'Rum Punch' until now. I had seen 'Jackie Brown' - Quentin Tarantino's adaptation - twice before, but not recently. So I just gave it another look.

This one's something of a hard call in terms of 'Which is better?' because, in a way, the question doesn't really apply. Leonard's novel is one of his best. In it, he does what his fans love most about what he does. The story is a well-thought-out, complicated, sleek-and
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 (
Jason Allison
Mar 26, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Know how they say the book’s usually better than the movie? It’s cause of writers like Leonard.
May 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Only my second Elmore Leonard read. I really enjoyed it. The whole reason I wanted to read this is because I love the film Jackie Brown. The film follows the book pretty closely. Even had a lot of the same dialogue. I like the way Elmore Leonard writes and I have yet to read anything else quite like it.
Jun 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
After months of popular physics, the crime novels just don’t seem the same.
May 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well, for a non-native maybe not the easiest read - but with Tarantino's movie in the back of my mind this really was kind of unputdownable! I have to search for some more Elmore Leonard and hope some of his work got transalted into German.... ...more
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
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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

Other books in the series

Ordell Robbie & Louis Gara (2 books)
  • The Switch

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