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Gold Coast

3.55  ·  Rating details ·  1,196 Ratings  ·  77 Reviews
“Lean, mean, darkly funny.”
Boston Globe

“A zingy thriller by the master of hard-boiled suspense.”
Dallas Morning News

“Elmore Leonard may be the greatest crime novelist in the world,” declares the Seattle Times, and truer words have never been written. Just follow the Grand Master of mystery and suspense to Florida’s Gold Coast and you’ll quickly discover that it’s so. I
Paperback, 320 pages
Published October 1st 2002 by HarperTorch (first published 1980)
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Mar 19, 2015 rated it it was ok
2.5 stars.

Title this review, “The Time One of My Favorite Authors Wrote a Book I Didn’t Like Very Much.”

It happens. R.E.M. gives us Around the Sun, Quentin Tarantino writes and directs Death Proof, Michael Fassbender appears in Jonah Hex. Even our most reliable artists stumble from time to time – it would be unreasonable to expect otherwise – and with any luck, they recover. That’s largely how I feel about Gold Coast, a book that seems to have something on its mind but doesn’t execute very well.
Nov 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: the-dirty-south
So much fun. Right on page 9, what I love about Elmore: Karen, “Playing a role and enjoying it. It was real.”

Or page 61, Maguire in a rant after my own heart: “I didn’t say I didn’t like it, I said it wasn’t real. It’s like a refuge. Nothing can happen to you there, you’re safe. But it’s got nothing to do with reality. It’s like you’re given security, but in exchange for it you have to give up yourself. You have to become somebody else.”

Getting it, even in the stories that are just pure fun, the
Jessica Lave
Aug 07, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: e-leonard
I was a little disappointed with this one. Leonard is one of my heroes, and I just couldn't get into this one. I was all for Cal's role in the story because he seemed like a decent guy in spite of some of the choices he made, but Karen as a protagonist was just unlikeable. Stick up her ass the entire book, and the ending was both unexpected and a let-down after getting through the rest of the book. I was surprised because I had heard this was one of the really good ones to add to the Elmore Leon ...more
Craig Pittman
Apr 22, 2011 rated it liked it
I first read this book years ago, and then tossed it aside, not realizing its important place in the Leonard canon: It's the first one he set in Florida, a state he'd been visiting for years and a place where he'd bought his mother a hotel to run. Leonard's quirky tale of a swamp-bred psychopath, a robber-turned-dolphin-trainer and a Mafia widow with an odd problem also marked a bridge between Charles Willeford's offbeat Hoke Mosely thrillers and the wackier Carl Hiaasen crime novels that began ...more
Jun 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: crime-gangsters
I’ve read some really harsh reviews of this book here on Goodreads and I just don’t understand. This is Elmore Leonard and this is what he does. He usually has a two-bit shit-bag Like Rowland and Rowland is up there among the best two-bit shit-bags. He’s just aching to rape and kill yet he exercises a bit of restraint to further his bigger plan, which is never really revealed. I listened to the fantastic audio-book narrated by the late great Frank Muller and reading when I was at home. If you’ve ...more
Apr 01, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another great story from Elmore Leonard. With the mob involved, a beautiful widow in need of help, and with the help of a drifter and ex-con, she fights back. Leonard was one of the finest writers of crime fiction, and in his heyday I would say the finest.
Lucy Somerhalder
The actual plot was pretty good, and there are some laugh-out-loud moments, but I found the writing a bit jarring.
Dec 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: leonard
this is something like the...15th, 16th from leonard for edition.

dedicated: for bill leonard

story begins:
one day karen dicilia put a few observations together and realized her husband frank was sleeping with a real estate woman in boca.

karen knew where they were doing it, too. in one of the condominiums frank owned, part of oceana estates.

time & place
*florida...fort beach
*karen's present address, 1 isla bahia...the harbor beach section of lauderdale
Peter Rowe
Read at some point late 2002
Rob Smith
This is part of my Swampy's Florida book collection.

Not sure why I had trouble connecting with this book. It does occur to me that I've had trouble connecting with characters in past Elmore Leonard books in the past. It was particularly difficult with this book. It could be that I've recently been reading books with very well drawn characters. These are well defined, but in the typical Leonard caricature that I struggled with. I should add there is one character that has a few levels that appear
Linda Nonalaya
May 31, 2014 rated it liked it
This is the first time I am reading a book from this author. There were so many characters in this story I had to write their names on a separate paper to keep them straight. When I did that I could see the story more clearly. I had no idea how this story was going to end. Would Karen ever be able to have a sex life again? How would this be enforced? Could the stipulations of her deceased husband get changed? Who was going to help her? Did she want help? Did she like her rich lonely life? I thin ...more
Brian Wilson
Apr 13, 2014 rated it liked it
I recently purchased a drop-leaf table that Elmore Leonard once owned, and perhaps he wrote some of "Gold Coast" while sitting at it. Even if he didn't, the novel is an enjoyable crime caper that has aged well, unlike most other remnants of the late-1970s. I picked it up at our Florida rental condo's book exchange and finished it in a couple of days. I mention this because Elmore and I are both from Detroit. And because "Gold Coast" took place in Florida. And because I read it in Florida. Seriou ...more
Aug 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, florida
My second Elmore Leonard book was much more what I expected from him: a breezy crime story with snappy dialogue and likable characters of questionable morals. Starts with a great premise: the widow of a crime boss discovers that she loses everything if she ever has a relationship with another man. Her late husbands wishes are carried out by a monster of a human named Roland, but Karen finds an ally in an ex-con named Maguire.

Where Leonard takes that idea is really cool. There's plenty of cat an
Gold Coast by Elmore Leonard Gold Coast by Elmore Leonard - Pretty standard Elmore Leonard. I've read several of his novels now and I don't think you can really go wrong with him. I thoroughly enjoyed this one from start to finish. It didn't quite jump out and grab me like some of his others did, but as far as I'm concerned it was a great read. I just learned upon finishing this that Elmore Leonard died just this August. I'm really disappointed to hear that. I'll definitely miss him. Fortunately there are so many more of ...more
Apr 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Funny dialogue, break-neck pacing, interesting characters, bla bla bla... I'm having problems finding new ways to describe "good Elmore Leonard books" which is very ironic cuz Leonard himself had, at this point, found a good way to capitalize on his strengths on and churn out roughly the same book every year but making it a damn good time with every outing.

Special note to the appearance of Roland Crowe, first appearance of a member of the Florida Crowes, those delightful screw-ups from Justifie
Feb 24, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: brain-candy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Elizabeth (Alaska)
Nov 12, 2011 rated it liked it
With this, I wandered far from my usual faire, and enjoyed myself doing so. It's a pretty much R-rated (language, violence) crime novel set in south Florida with the usual elements of the crime boss, thug, helpless women.

There is no mystery, and the ending isn't entirely unpredictable. But like I said, I enjoyed myself reading this. It would make a thoroughly enjoyable B-movie. Not complete trash, but I couldn't possibly make a steady diet of this genre. Still, I'll be sorely tempted to pick up
Krok Zero
Nov 10, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fall-2010
Sometimes you gotta put everything else on hold and chow down on some Elmore Leonard. This one has the usual third-act problems and bullshitty non-ending, but who cares? There is a particular pleasure to reading Leonard that is different from reading any other crime fiction...but that is a topic for a more thoughtful review to be written when I am less tired, or, better yet, to be written by someone else.
Neill Goltz
Aug 04, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: thrillers
Thank God this was not my initial Elmore Leonard read. Simply a terrible book. (Alright, alright - disclaimers:

1) I was listening to it via CDs for a long road trip from Bozeman to Fargo; and
2) I had a hitch-hiker along for the Livingston - Fargo leg.

But still - story line was really weak, and the characters non-likable or non-memorable.

Chili Palmer - see "Get Shorty" and "Be Cool" - is still the best
Mar 24, 2012 rated it liked it
An interesting premise: A mob boss's wife is left a fortune after he suddenly keels over. The catch is she can't ever be with another man, and he has his wiseguys around to make sure she remains faithful. Of course it's not long before the wiseguys start sniffing around the pile of dough. Leonard's good characters and dialog keep the story moving, but the plot unravels a little bit, and the end was unsatisfying for me.
Dec 24, 2013 rated it it was ok
I was really disappointed with this clunky little story of a mob widow "forced" to lead a chaste existence following the death of her possessive husband. Leonard's trademark snappy dialogue is there but this really needed an editor. Too many plot twists go nowhere, scenes totally lacking context being inserted to confuse and infuriate this reader.

I found the characters lacking any empathy making it impossible to care what happens to them.
Quentin Feduchin
Nov 05, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: detective-murder
Another very good book from Elmore Leonard.

Again, it is nothing if not realistic, There are some unpleasant people around and a woman in trouble.

It's a great story, well worth reading and will hold your attention all the way through; it took me no time to read it.

It ends in typical E. Leonard fashion: unexpectedly..
Sarah Nurse
Feb 16, 2014 rated it liked it
I admit to reading this because I liked the film. I also recalled that the author was quoted as not liking the film adaptation, so I wanted to see what the differences were! Very few, as it turns out. It's a good read, as you'd expect, and even the dialogue was used in the film. So what was his problem? Well, the ending was totally different. I rather preferred the film.
Tom Marcinko
Dec 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
Mafioso tries to enforce his wife's loyalty from beyond the grave. I'd read this one some years ago. One of his best, IMO.

~He wanted to get it done and present her with it. There, the guy’s off your back. Making it look, not easy exactly, but not too hard either. There. You have any other problems?~
Jun 08, 2009 rated it it was ok
plot line was very interesting, but the book was too short. it seemed that mr. leonard was in a rush to finish this book, and skipped over many important details he could have gone into, making this much more enjoyable. and the end of this book - was so abrupt that i was angry i had even read the whole book to get to it.
Jan 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a good read, I couldn't put the book down - unless forced to by work!
It is easy to read, characters are either like able or you want to have a shower to remove the creepiness of them.
The revenge of a dead husband putting a chastity belt on his 44 year old wife and the story that unfolds.
Read it, enjoy all the way to the very last page!
Leslie Bratspis
Apr 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I love reading Elmore Leonard. He's the master of writing "bad" characters with foibles that are so funny you can't help laughing despite their dirty deeds. Some say he writes characters you love to hate. As always, the story was convoluted with many twists and turns. The ending was unexpected. If you like reading crime fiction, you can't go wrong with one of his novels.
Michael Stewart
Sep 21, 2013 rated it liked it
Again, well-drawn characters by Elmore Leonard. But the book just doesn't have the 'zing' of the others I've read. I may have over-dosed from reading five Leonards in a row.

Now, on to "SWAG", aka "Ryan's Rules", from 1976. Then that'll be it for the Leonard novels for quite a while. I have to get back to Robert Graves, George R.R. Martin, and Ian McEwan.
Jul 18, 2010 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: yes
At first this seems like a silly book with lots of sex, but the author slowly draws you in to the story and the characters become more 3 dimensional, until the end when it all comes together. Like Steve Jobs says, you have to connect the dots backward. I consider a book good if I'm still thinking about it after I finished. I did with this one.
Jan 25, 2010 rated it it was ok
Eh, this book was okay. Nothing spectacular. Very stereotypical characters, and the dead guy forcing his wife to be celibate for the rest of her life was rather strange. Oh, the trials of being a mob boss' wife. After a while, I was getting very tired of Roland using the word "dink." Hadn't heard that in a long time, and it was VERY much overused at the end.
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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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