When the Women Come Out to Dance

( 13 )

Overview

Elmore Leonard, a literary icon praised by The New York Times Book Review as "the greatest crime writer of our time, perhaps ever," has captured the imagination of millions of readers with his more than three dozen books.

In this short fiction collection, Leonard demonstrates the superb characterizations, dead-on dialogue, vivid atmosphere, and driving plots that have made him a household name -- and once again illustrates that the line between...

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Overview

Elmore Leonard, a literary icon praised by The New York Times Book Review as "the greatest crime writer of our time, perhaps ever," has captured the imagination of millions of readers with his more than three dozen books.

In this short fiction collection, Leonard demonstrates the superb characterizations, dead-on dialogue, vivid atmosphere, and driving plots that have made him a household name -- and once again illustrates that the line between the law and the lawbreakers is not as firm as we might think.

Federal marshal Karen Sisco, from the bestselling novel Out of Sight, returns in "Karen Makes Out," once again inadvertently mixing pleasure with business. In "Fire in the Hole," Raylan Givens, last seen in Riding the Rap and Pronto, meets up with an old friend, but they're now on different sides of the law. In the title story, "When the Women Come Out to Dance," Mrs. Mahmood gets more than she bargains for when she conspires with her maid to end her unhappy marriage.

All nine stories are Elmore Leonard at his vivid, hilarious, and unfailingly human best.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

The New York Times has called Elmore Leonard "the greatest crime writer of our time, perhaps ever." Of course, there's much more to his writing than just crime, and there's no better way to show the broad range of this author's talents than with a collection. It offers variety for diehard fans and is a great sampler for readers who've been looking for the best place to start.

In When the Women Come Out to Dance, you'll find terrific crime stories (of course) that offer perspectives from both sides of the law, plus baseball, a western, and more. In all, there are nine stories, some short and some long, some contemporary and some historical, each showcasing this talented author's understanding of human foibles and of the ways they can blur the line between right and wrong. These stories have never been collected before in one volume, and the title story, "When the Women Come Out to Dance," is brand new.

Leonard writes about arson in "Sparks," aging in "Hanging out at the Buena Vista," and baseball in "Chickasaw Charlie Hoke." Conspiracy to murder offers a permanent solution to an unhappy marriage in "When the Women Come Out to Dance." Raylan Givens (from Riding the Rap and Pronto) sees a new side to an old friend in "Fire in the Hole," while federal marshal Karen Sisco (from Leonard's bestselling novel Out of Sight) mixes business with pleasure in "Karen Makes Out." The past offers a backdrop in "Hurrah for Capt. Early" and "The Tonto Woman," and life, death, and the movie business get a workout in "Tenkiller."

Whether writing humorously or poignantly, in action-packed episodes or laid-back descriptions, Leonard's remarkable talent rings true in every detail of this excellent collection. Sue Stone

People
“If Leonard were a new kid instead of a past master, this fiction collection would make his name.”
USA Today
“Elmore Leonard’s 39th book ...finds one of America’s most accomplished novelists presenting his most accomplished female characters in years.”
People Magazine
"If Leonard were a new kid instead of a past master, this fiction collection would make his name."
Library Journal
Never mind the official pub date; there's a one-day laydown on November 19. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Rummaging through Leonard's attic via these nine stories revives some fond memories and turns up a couple of forgotten treasures. Though half the volume is devoted to two novellas, the shorter pieces are the best, their characters racing against time-literally so in "Hanging Out at the Buena Vista," a tour de force that demonstrates why mating rituals among the elderly are so abbreviated-to dive into the sparring matches they live for. The title story, which pairs a woman who wishes her husband would die with another whose husband already has, offers a model of Leonard's slanting dialogue, with every sentence charged with overtones that send their relationship hurtling toward a final twist. "The Tonto Woman" recounts a rustler's determined courtship of a landowner's untouchable wife, and the equally erotically charged "Sparks" pits an insurance investigator against the only dweller in the Arroyo Verde to lose her house to a recent fire. Readers who want to see the prototype for Karen Sisco's Out of Sight (1996) or savor a quasi-postlude to the Spanish-American War yarn Cuba Libre (1998) or find out how Chickasaw Charlie Hoke got his job as Billy Darwin's celebrity host in Tishomingo Blues (2002) will all be satisfied. And the two longer entries-"Fire in the Hole," which follows former buddies respectively into the white supremacist movement and the US Marshals Service, and "Tenkiller," a second-chance romance for a rodeo rider turned Hollywood stunt man who's picked up considerable baggage along the way-are as generously plotted as most novels, even if they do sometimes get tangled in their spurs. Fresh evidence why it's a mistake to pigeonhole Leonard as a writer of westerns or crimenovels. Like his mentor, John D. McDonald, the man's interested in everybody who relishes a good fight, whether it's with sharp-tongued words or shotguns.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060586164
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/6/2004
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 524,900
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Elmore Leonard

Elmore Leonard wrote forty-five novels and nearly as many western and crime short stories across his highly successful career that spanned more than six decades. Some of his bestsellers include Road Dogs, Up in Honey’s Room, The Hot Kid, Mr. Paradise, Tishomingo Blues, and the critically acclaimed collection of short stories Fire in the Hole. Many of his books have been made into movies, including Get Shorty, Out of Sight, and Rum Punch, which became Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie BrownJustified, the hit series from FX, is based on Leonard’s character Raylan Givens, who appears in Riding the Rap, Pronto, Raylan and the short story “Fire in the Hole”. He was a recipient of the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, the Lifetime Achievement Award from PEN USA, and the Grand Master Award of the Mystery Writers of America. He was known to many as the ‘Dickens of Detroit’ and was a long-time resident of the Detroit area.

Biography

Elmore Leonard has written more than three dozen books during his highly successful writing career, including the bestsellers Be Cool, Get Shorty and Rum Punch. Many of his books have been made into movies, including Get Shorty and Out of Sight. He is the recipient of the Grand Master Award of the Mystery Writers of America. He lives with his wife in Bloomfield Village, Michigan.

Author biography courtesy of HarperCollins.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Elmore John Leonard Jr.
      Elmore Leonard
    2. Hometown:
      Bloomfield Village, Michigan
    1. Date of Birth:
      October 11, 1925
    2. Place of Birth:
      New Orleans, Louisiana
    1. Education:
      B.Ph., University of Detroit, 1950
    2. Website:

First Chapter

Chapter One

Sparks

They sat close to each other on the sofa, Canavan aware of Mrs. Harris' scent and her dark hair, parted to one side, she would hold away from her face to look at the map spread open on the coffee table.

Canavan was showing her the areas destroyed by fire, explaining how the hot Santa Ana wind swept the flames through these canyons and on down toward the Pacific Coast Highway. Close to four thousand acres destroyed but only nine homes this time, including Mrs. Harris' Mediterranean villa, here, at the top of Arroyo Verde. Nothing like five years ago when over two hundred homes were lost. He showed her photographs, too, fires raging against the night sky.

Robin Harris said, "Yeah ... ?" looking at the photos but not showing any real interest.

Canavan kept glancing at her, Robin a slim turn-on in a trendy kind of way: pale skin and heavy eyeliner, silver rings, designer-ripped jeans, barefoot, a black sleeveless top that showed the chain, tattooed blue steel, around her upper left arm, the one close to Canavan.

The profile he had in his case file described her as the former Robin Marino: sang with a rock band that played L.A. clubs, produced one album, gave it up five years ago to marry Sid Harris: the legendary Sid Harris, lawyer to platinum-selling recording artists. Now a widow at thirty-seven, Robin was estimated to be worth around ten million. She had lost Sid to a coronary thrombosis, at home, only three months ago, Sid sixty-three when he died. And had lost the house in the Malibu hills three weeks ago, close to a million dollars' worth of furniture and contents destroyed. But she had bought theWilshire apartment, where she was living now, right after Sid's death. Why? It was on Canavan's checklist, one of the things he'd ask her about.

She said, "What's the point?" Meaning the map and the pictures. "I saw the fire, Joe. I was there."

Arriving, he had introduced himself and handed Robin his business card that said Joseph Canavan Associates, Insurance Investigations. She had looked at it and said, "Are you a Joe or a Joseph?" He told her either, but usually Joe. She said, "Well, come in and sit down, Joe, anywhere you like," picking up on his name in a way that sounded natural and gave him a glimpse of her personality. She looked at his business card again and said, "You're not with the insurance company, like the ones before." He told her they called him in when they red-flagged a claim, had questions about it. All it meant, certain conditions existed the company felt should be investigated. Canavan said they wanted to know in their hearts the fire was either accidental or providential before paying the claim. Robin said, "Well, I can tell you the same thing I told the fire department, sheriff's deputies, the state fire marshal's office, the California Forestry Department and a guy from Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. The fire marshal's guy brought a dog that sniffed around. He said when the dog was working it ate seventy Kibbles a day. What would you like to know?"

This was when Canavan first arrived.

Now he turned from the map to look at Robin sitting back in the sofa. She resembled a girl in the movies he liked a lot, Linda ... very sexy, had an Italian name. He said, "I wanted to show you the path of the main fire, where it came down west of your place, on the other side of the ridge."

"So how did my house catch fire," Robin said. "Is that the question? How about sparks, Joe? The wind blows sparks over the ridge from the brush fires in Boca Chica and they land by my house. You buy that? Or a rabbit or a coyote caught fire and ran like hell right through my yard. They said on the news, look out for animals that catch fire and spread it around. Otherwise, I have no idea. Joe, I watched my house go up in flames. I might've stayed till it burned down, I don't know, maybe not. A deputy came up the road and made me leave."

Linda Fiorentino.

That was who Robin looked like, in that movie -- he couldn't remember the name of it -- where she goes in a bar called Ray's, remembering that because of the sign, the Y in ray's shaped like a martini glass. Linda goes in and asks for a Manhattan. The bartender ignores her and she asks him who you have to blow to get a drink around here. Those weren't the exact words, but that was the idea. Robin had that same effortless way about her, confident, with the New York sound like Linda's, a cool chick, tough. Watch your step with her.

"So you weren't living in the house at the time."

"I was here. I happen to see it on TV -- fire trucks, people loading their cars, coming out of the house with their insurance policies, running around looking for pets. One guy had all their good china in a basket and was lowering it into the swimming pool. I thought, I better get up there, quick."

"Load your car," Canavan said, "with anything of value, uh? But I understand the house was already on fire. I think that's in the statement you made."

"By the time I got there, yeah." Linda waved her hand in the air. "The back of the house, by a brush thicket. Sid was supposed to have it cut back, but never got around to it. The sky by that time was thick with smoke."

"See, what the company wonders about, why your house was the only one on Arroyo that caught fire."

"I guess 'cause there aren't any close by. I'm at the very top of the road. Have you been up there?"

When the Women Come Out to Dance. Copyright © by Elmore Leonard. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 14 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2007

    Short, Sweet, yet Slightly Unsatisfying

    Elmore Leonard has a knack for vivid characters and punchy dialogue, and his short stories are no exception. Every story draws you into its world, albeit briefly. Unfortunately, these feel like fragments of a larger whole, and don't really stand on their own as short stories (with a couple notable exceptions, including the Karen Sisco story, 'Karen Makes Out'). The short story format, if anything, works counter-productive to the subtle pacing of Leonard's novels and it's clear that the transition doesn't come naturally to him. Fans will enjoy this hodge-podge collection, but this isn't the best place to start for readers new to Leonard.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2003

    Intoxicating

    Elmore's writing is decades ahead of its time. Reading him is like listening to music; there are rhythms and currents, the whole greater than the parts. Nothing like it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2002

    That Elmore Sound.

    On Dec. 4's episode of Charlie Rose, Elmore Leonard equated style to sound. Style, he said, lives in the sound of the language. Rhythm, pulse, beat. This author is pure music.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 22, 2012

    Like the crime fiction? Don't miss these short stories.

    Bought it for Raylan, but so enjoyed them all. Mr. Leonard is awesome.

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