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Up in Honey's Room

Up in Honey's Room

4.2 11
by Elmore Leonard

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German-born Walter Schoen, now living in Detroit, is a dead ringer for Heinrich Himmler. Walter's American wife, Honey Deal, doesn't know he's a German spy, but she's tired of telling him jokes he doesn't understand—it's time for a divorce. Along comes Carl Webster, the hot kid of the Marshals Service. He's looking for a German officer who escaped from a POW camp in


German-born Walter Schoen, now living in Detroit, is a dead ringer for Heinrich Himmler. Walter's American wife, Honey Deal, doesn't know he's a German spy, but she's tired of telling him jokes he doesn't understand—it's time for a divorce. Along comes Carl Webster, the hot kid of the Marshals Service. He's looking for a German officer who escaped from a POW camp in Oklahoma. Carl's pretty sure Walter's involved, so Carl gets to know Honey, hoping she'll take him to Walter. Honey likes Carl and doesn't much care that he's married. But all Carl wants is to get his man without getting shot. It's Elmore Leonard's world—gritty, funny, and full of surprises.

About the Author
Elmore Leonard has written more than three dozen critically acclaimed books during his highly successful career, including the bestsellers The Hot Kid, Mr. Paradise, Tishomingo Blues, Be Cool, Get Shorty, and Rum Punch. Many of his books have been made into movies, including Get Shorty and Out of Sight. He lives with his wife, Christine, in Bloomfield Village, Michigan.

Editorial Reviews

The Age (Melbourne
“Action-packed and pricelessly funny.”
Walter Schoen isn't just a Heinrich Himmler look-alike; this Detroit butcher is a dedicated Nazi spy who, when not busy slicing sausage, is avidly assembling Allied production data for his friends in Berlin. Tired of his covert shenanigans, his wife, Helen, divorces him. Looking for a good time, if not more, she lands in the lap of Carl Webster, the "Hot Kid" of the U.S. Marshals Service. At the moment though, the only couplings that interest Webster are the handcuffs that he'd like to snap onto the wrists of Hitler's American helpers. Elmore Leonard's unconventional crime novel has more wrinkles than a bloodhound.
Carolyn See
… reading Up in Honey's Room is like dancing with the stars, and he's the star. You don't have to teach him anything or look for flaws in the smoothness of his steps or watch to see whether there will be gaps in his plots, or whether his characters will -- if even for an instant -- slip out of character. You just get to be lost in the dance with him as he gives unimaginable depth and dimension to the phrase "easily and effortlessly."
— The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly

Set in the waning days of WWII, bestseller Leonard's disappointing 40th novel finds gunslinging U.S. marshal Carl Webster, introduced in 2005's The Hot Kid, on the trail of Jurgen Schrenk and Otto Penzler, German POWs escaped from their Okmulgee, Okla., detention camp. The pair wind up in Detroit in the care of Walter Schoen, a butcher and Himmler look-alike, with whose ex-wife, wisecracking bottle-blonde Honey Deal, Carl soon finds himself smitten. While married Carl contemplates breaking his marriage vows (Honey does anything but dissuade him), Otto disappears and a dysfunctional German spy ring—led by hard-drinking Vera Mezwa and her cross-dressing manservant, Bohdan—cozies up with Jurgen. Vera and Bohdan, meanwhile, are secretly planning to disappear, but Bohdan wants to put in the ground anyone who could later give them up to the Feds. Leonard's writing—line by line—is as sharp as ever, but the plotting is uncharacteristically clunky and the pacing is stuck in low gear. Leonard has written a lot of great books, but this isn't one of them. (May)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal

Set in the Midwest during the last year of World War II, this book brings back Carl Webster, the U.S. marshall whom Leonard introduced in The Hot Kid. This time Carl is on the trail of two escaped German prisoners of war, one of whom aspires to be a real cowboy while the other runs off with a Jewish woman. Carl himself gets tangled up with Honey, a beautiful young woman once married to a German American butcher who prides himself on being a dead ringer for Nazi SS commander Heinrich Himmler. Carl's investigation eventually leads him to an inept Nazi spy ring and a nest of bizarre characters who could form the nucleus of a promising freak show. Compared with Leonard's other novels, Up in Honey's Roomis slow moving and doesn't have a particularly satisfying resolution. Nevertheless, its quirky characters and interesting period setting should fascinate many listeners, who will also enjoy Arliss Howard's laconic narration. Recommended for libraries with established Leonard fans.
—R. Kent Rasmussen

Kirkus Reviews
Tulsa deputy U.S. Marshal Carl Webster, his hell-raising reputation secured by The Hot Kid (2005), tangles with Nazis in a slow-motion dance in wartime Detroit. Walter Schoen, a dead ringer for Heinrich Himmler who was born the same day at the same hospital, is convinced that he's Himmler's secret twin. Apart from his oh-so-cute habit of pointing a cocked finger at his now-estranged wife Honey while passing gas, Walter isn't a lot of fun, and it's no wonder Honey left him five years ago. Now, as the war winds down, Walter's in the spotlight-not because he looks like Himmler, but for equally unlikely reasons. Otto Penzler and Jurgen Schrenk, a pair of SS officers imprisoned in Tulsa, have escaped and made a beeline for Detroit, where Walter holds court with Countess Vera Mezwa Radzykewycz and her motley retinue: transvestite cook/housekeeper Bohdan Kravchenko, rib-joint Grand Dragon Joseph J. Aubrey and obstetrician Michael Taylor. Carl Webster has followed Otto and Jurgen in cold pursuit-not because he's reluctant to capture or kill them, but because FBI agent Kevin Dean has ordered him to leave them alone until the Feds figure out what they're up to. The upshot is that the SS escapees are hiding in plain sight with Walter and company while Carl circles in frustration, unable to get any closer to them than Honey, who's perfectly willing to go to bed with both him and Jurgen. The extended tableau vivant is the perfect backdrop for the laid-back conversations in which the characters discuss love, loyalty and a plan to assassinate President Roosevelt in honor of the Fuhrer's birthday. Despite constant threats of violence and occasional doses of same, the lazy plot is almost an afterthoughtto the spectacle of a bunch of "useless spy ring guys" as compulsive as windup toys, and about as consequential.
Associated Press Staff
“As usual, (Elmore Leonard) tells his story in his flawlessly colloquial prose style, with pitch-perfect dialogue.
"The dialogue flows as fast and smooth as any words ever uttered in the service of a story."
The Age (Melbourne))
"Action-packed and pricelessly funny."
The Age (Melbourne)
"Action-packed and pricelessly funny."
USA Today
“Combines everything we love about Leonard’s works—big guns, morally clueless murderers, sexy dames and handsome lawmen. A masterpiece.”
Toronto Sun
“Honey Deal is hot, hot, hot. Classic Leonard.”
New York Times
“When you read Elmore Leonard, you enter Mr. Leonard’s world. A trip like that is its own kind of vacation.”
Buffalo News
“The kind of delicious drama that will keep you coming back for more.”
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“A great summer read.”
Washington Post
“Reading UP IN HONEY’S ROOM is like dancing with the stars and Elmore Leonard’s the star.”
Associated Press
“As usual, (Elmore Leonard) tells his story in his flawlessly colloquial prose style, with pitch-perfect dialogue.
Boston Globe
“With Dashiell Hammett-type wit (Leonard) has once again created characters who live far beyond their storylines.”
Philadelphia Inquirer
“Elmore Leonard is still at the top of his game.”
Richmond Times-Dispatch
“It’s the cast of characters that makes readers keep turning the pages.”
St. Petersburg Times
“The wisecracks and sexy patter and vivid characters are what make Leonard a guy we’re always happy to see.”
Cleveland Plain Dealer
“A best-selling bet. Dead-perfect dialogue, deadpan humor and dead-on vivid characters typical of Leonard.”
The Times (London)
“So compulsive, so entertaining, so satisfying. Dialogue as imaginative, unpredictable and witty as we have come to expect from Leonard.”
Poughkeepsie Journal
“The pacing is fast. The dialogue is dead-on. This is vintage Leonard.”
Booklist (starred review)
“The dialogue flows as fast and smooth as any words ever uttered in the service of a story.”
Christian Science Monitor
“Bullets fly, but as with most ELmore Leonard novels, things really move when the dialogue gets going. Grade A.”
Vancouver Sun
“UP IN HONEY’S ROOM is a fun read. Leonard’s gift for dialogue is as shiny as ever.”
Seattle Times
“Proof that (Leonard) is at the top of his game.”
“No American author has a better ear for dialogue. Leonard is as straight a shooter as his hot-kid hero.”

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
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4.18(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.75(d)

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Read an Excerpt

Up in Honey's Room
A Novel

Chapter One

Honey phoned her sister-in-law Muriel, still living in Harlan County, Kentucky, to tell her she'd left Walter Schoen, calling him Valter, and was on her way to being Honey Deal again. She said to Muriel, "I honestly thought I could turn him around, but the man still acts like a Nazi. I couldn't budge him."

"You walked out," Muriel said, "just like that?"

"I valked out," Honey said. "I'm free as a bird. You know what else? I won't have to do my roots every two weeks. Dumb me, I spent a whole year wanting him to think I'm a natural blonde."

"He couldn't tell other ways you aren't?"

"Anytime Walter wanted some, he'd turn out the light before taking off his pajamas. He was self-conscious about being skinny, his ribs showing, so it was always pitch-dark when we did it. He said American food, all it did was give him gas. I had to learn to cook German, big heavy dinners, sauerbraten with red cabbage, bratwurst. For the first time in my life I had to watch my weight. Walter didn't gain at all. He still passed gas, only now it was okay, it was German gas. He'd cut one, aiming his finger at me like it's a gun? I'd have to pretend I was shot."

"And fall down?"

"If I was near the sofa. Or stumble around holding where I was shot. The first time, I did it on my own, acting goofy? But then every time he cut one and I heard it, I had to pretend I was shot."

"You and hubby having fun."

"Except he never laughed or even smiled. I'd see him aiming at me . . . " Honey let a moment of silence go by. "Tell me how my brother's doing. Is he working?"

"He's back in jail. Darcy got in a fight he swears he didn't start. Broke his foreman's jaw and it violated his parole. Darcy has to finish the sentence he got for making moonshine and do time for assault. He's working in the kitchen as a butcher making five cents an hour while I'm trying to live on tips." Muriel's voice turned pouty saying, "'What do I have to do, get you boys to have another round?' Here're these hotshots with coal dust in their pores saying things like 'How about showing us your goodies?' I roll my eyes and act cute, it's worth about a buck and a half. But hey, I want to hear about your situation. Walter hit you and it woke you up or what? You were only married to him about a year."

"One year to the day I walked out," Honey said, "November the ninth. I brought him a plate of Limburger and crackers, he won't eat American cheese. Walter's sitting by the radio, the volume turned up. I said, 'You happen to know what anniversary today is?' He's listening to the news, the German Army going through Poland like rhubarb through a tall woman. France is next and England's getting ready. I asked him again, 'Walter, you happen to recall what anniversary falls on November the ninth?' It was like I lit his fuse. He yells at me, 'Blutzeuge, the Nazi Day of Blood, idiot.' He's talking about the day Hitler started his takeover in 1923 that didn't work and he ended up in prison. But that date, the ninth of November, became a Nazi holy day. It's why he picked it for our wedding. 'The Day of Blood.' Only Walter called it 'the Night of Blood' as we're going to bed together for the first time. I let him think I was still a virgin, twenty-five years old. He climbed on top, and it was like a one-minute blitzkrieg start to finish. He never asked if I was okay or checked the sheet, he was through. Anyway, I said to Walter, standing by the radio with his cheese and crackers, 'Dumb me, I thought you'd remember the ninth as our wedding anniversary.' He didn't bother to look up, he waved his hand at me to get away, stop bothering him. I took that as my cue and walked out."

Muriel said, "You didn't hit him over the head with the cheese plate?"

"I thought about it but went upstairs and took twelve hundred dollars, half the money he kept stuck away in the bedroom closet. He didn't think I knew about it."

"Is he on the lookout for you?"

"Why, 'cause he misses me? We had so much fun together?"

She told Muriel, now that she wasn't keeping house for the Kaiser she had an apartment in Highland Park and was back at J.L. Hudson's doing what she called "tit work," fitting brassieres on big foreign women who'd come here to work. "Some of 'em, you have to hold your breath or their B.O.'ll knock you unconscious." She told Muriel she ought to come to Detroit and stay with her, get a real job while Darcy's doing his time. Next, she had to ask about her mom. "How's she doing at the home?"

"I doubt she knows where she is," Muriel said. "I walk in and kiss her, she gives me a blank look. It's pitiful, your mom not being that old." "You sure she isn't faking, playing 'poor me'? Remember I came here I asked her to live with me? She says oh, it's too cold up north. Afraid she'll slip and fall on the ice and break her hip."

"The other night," Muriel said, "they showed an Errol Flynn movie and your mom got excited, she thought Errol Flynn was Darcy." Muriel put on a slow tone of voice and was Honey's mom, wanting to know, "'What's Darcy doing in this movin' pitcher? When'd he grow a mustache?' But anytime Darcy came to visit, her only living son, your mom didn't have a clue who he was. I told Darcy how she got him confused with Errol Flynn, Darcy says, 'Yeah . . . ?' Like, what else is new? He thinks he's a dead ringer for Errol Flynn except for the mustache. You want to bet he isn't growing one this minute, sitting in his prison cell?" She said, "You see a resemblance, Darcy and Errol Flynn?"

Up in Honey's Room
A Novel
. Copyright © by Elmore Leonard. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Elmore Leonard wrote more than forty books during his long career, including the bestsellers Raylan, Tishomingo Blues, Be Cool, Get Shorty, and Rum Punch, as well as the acclaimed collection When the Women Come Out to Dance, which was a New York Times Notable Book. Many of his books have been made into movies, including Get Shorty and Out of Sight. The short story "Fire in the Hole," and three books, including Raylan, were the basis for the FX hit show Justified. Leonard received the Lifetime Achievement Award from PEN USA and the Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America. He died in 2013.

Brief Biography

Bloomfield Village, Michigan
Date of Birth:
October 11, 1925
Place of Birth:
New Orleans, Louisiana
B.Ph., University of Detroit, 1950

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Up in Honey's Room 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Lollypop99 More than 1 year ago
Honey is a peach! What a character. The story is very noir and it is like reading about Bogie and Slim. A must read. I don't want to give the story away, but it occurs after War World II.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Elmore Leonard really whips up a good tale with Up In Honey's Room. You're brought back to the 1940's where there are good and bad guys and no gray. Of course, Mr. Leonard creates his own gray area with a likeable Nazi who used to drive Panzers in Africa killing British. Funny and sexy and all Elmore Leonard. I'm surprised it hasn't been made into a movie yet.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've never written a book review so I'll keep this, my first attempt, brief. I purchased in the form of audio book. I typically listen to a book as I go about my errands, to and from work, etc. This book was so much fun that I looked forward to every trip to the grocery store, post office and so on, just to get back to the dry hilarity of the characters and Arliss Howard's voice! No, this isn't a "deep" book, it's light, funny, offbeat, campy and way too short.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
If what draws you to Elmore Leonard is his easy flowing way with characters, you'll love this one. Stay away, though, if you're looking for a tight plot or loads of suspense and action. Most of these characters are audacious to the point of making you laugh out loud, and, while there is risk, danger, and murder, it seems less important than how everyone will work out his relationship with everyone else. I loved it, but I also like his books with more action and thrills.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a quick read for me and it flowed well. It's not Leonard's best, but it's darn good. As usual Leonard has his quirky characters and he has asembled some that won't let you down. This book has suspense, action, sex, and great laugh out loud humor. 'The Hot Kid' federal marshall Carl Webster is back and after a Nazi POW esscapee. Along the way he encounters sexy and smart Honey as well as other characters that compliment each other. I have read most of Elmore Leonard's works and he always entertains.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you've read Leonard before, then you know what to expect: quirky characters, a dialogue-driven story, and one page-turning surprise after another. Honey, briefly married to Walter, a German butcher in Detroit, comes back into his life to help US Marshall Carlos Webster capture two German POW's who escaped from an Oklahoma prison camp. The chase brings them into contact with some of Walter's other pals --- all members of a pro-German spy ring. Of course, the personalities are all in conflict, all a bit bungling, and all out for themselves. An original story, superbly written, with plenty of humor and excitement. A must read!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think Elmore Leonard is losing his touch. This was one of the worst books I have read in a long time, and that is sad to say because I usually enjoy Leonard's books. Mr. Paradise was just ok, and now Up In Honey's Room was outrightly bad. I felt like I was reading a mess. All the characters were a bunch of idiots. The plot shouldn't even be called a 'plot' because it was so boringly slow and all over the place. The characters' personalities were inconsistent. Honey was the only slightly interesting one. I just felt like this book was all over the place, with little suspense or substance to the storyline. It was very unrealistic too. I am not even sure if I will purchase any more of Leonard's new books after reading this last one. It is really too bad.