In this sequel to Leonard's hugely popular Get Shorty, Chili Palmer becomes a moviemaker with one hit and one flop to his credit. Be Cool is the movie of his life - imagined as he lives it. The supporting cast includes the Russian mafia; gangsta rappers; rip-off elements of the record industry; Chili's new friend, Darryl, who is a detective working organized crime; and other fascinating riffraff too numerous to mention. Campbell Scott seems made to read Elmore Leonard, or perhaps Leonard writes to be read by Scott. Either way, Scott's Chili is a perfectly irreverent full-speed-ahead kind of guy. The rappers are take-nothing-from-no-one dudes. Scott also does women's voices well, and his regional accents convince.
Enter Linda Moon, a singer with aspirations that go further than her current gig in a Spice Girls cover band. Always keeping the fledgling film in mind, Chili takes over as Linda's manager, entering the world of rock stars, pop divas, and hip-hop gangstas. As he wings his way to success in the music business with his trademark cool, Chili manipulates his adversaries and advances his friends, all the while basing the plot of his new film on the action that results. Rife with drama, jealousy, and betrayal, all Chili needs to do is survive to make a new box office hit.
©1999 Elmore Leonard; (P)2005 HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.
"As good as Get Shorty was, and it was very good, its sequel is better." (Booklist)
"Thoroughly entertaining....What's impressive about Be Cool is the number of plot complications Leonard juggles so wittily." (New York Times)
"Leonard's plotting is as propulsive as ever, and his desert-dry wit continues to flare at high heat. Nearly every sentence of this novel reads as if it's dipped in gold. This is a knockout work from a master crime writer: be cool, and relish it." (Publishers Weekly)
Elmore Leonard's novels translate so well to audio. I believe the reason for that is the spot-on dialogue. In the front flap of <i>Rum Punch</i> the Seattle Post-Intelligencer said "...if this isn't how people talk, they should take lessons..." <i>Be Cool</i> is no different. Leonard establishes his characters through witty conversation. There's no long boring backstory to wade through. It is a very refreshing change from the majority of writing that continually haunts the bestseller list.
The narration, which is critical with an Elmore Leonard novel, is great. The reader makes the characters jump out of the story. He has them cold.
The plot is simple yet interesting. Nothing complex, just bare bones storytelling. Held my interest throughout. Recommended.
The character Chili Palmer
If you liked Get Shorty, you'll also love Be Cool
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