Arliss Howard demonstrated his mastery of rural American voices in Elmore Leonard's The Hot Kid, in which he first breathed life into the character of Deputy U.S. Marshal Carl Webster. Now, in this adventure - a sequel of sorts - Howard expands on that performance as he voices Nazi POWs, a Ukrainian femme fatale, a cross-dressing hit man, and one of the most carnal Elmore Leonard characters, the lovely Honey Deal. Though the plot sounds like pulp fiction - a lawman tracks POWs and spy rings in 1945 Detroit - the novel is much more. It's a strange, often absurd history lesson that ultimately hinges on whether Carl will honor his marriage vows to his machine-gun-toting spouse . . . or succumb to Honey's charms.
Along comes Carl Webster, the Hot Kid of the Marshals Service. He's looking for Jurgen Schrenk. Carl's pretty sure Walter's involved with keeping Schrenk hidden, so he gets to know Honey, hoping she'll lead him to Walter. Honey likes the hot kid marshal and doesn't much care that he's married. But all Carl wants is to get Jurgen without getting shot.
Next, Carl meets Vera Mezwa, the Ukrainian head of the spy ring, and her lover Bohdan, who has a sly way of killing. And then there's Otto, the Waffen-SS major who runs away with a nice Jewish girl. It's Elmore Leonard's world: gritty, funny, and full of surprises.
©2007 Elmore Leonard, Inc.; (P)2007 HarperCollins Publishers
"This being a Leonard novel, the dialogue flows as fast and as smooth as any words ever uttered in service of a story. It's as if the best of Mel Brooks and Quentin Tarantino were refined into something altogether finer and purer. And, in Honey Deal, Leonard has created yet another of his smart, ballsy, sexy, take-no-prisoners females. If there is a little more slapstick and a little less crime here than usual, it hardly matters. The talk's the thing. Leonard hooks you with his first quotation mark." (Booklist)
The only thing I didn't like about this audiobook is that it isn't longer.
The story centers on Honey of the title. She is a southern woman living in Detroit at the time of the main action (1945). Among her claims to fame is that she was once married to an American Nazi named Walter who could possible win the award for being the most boring man alive. Walter’s claim to fame is that he is a dead ringer for Heinrich Himmler (the most hated man in the world). Walter is so clueless that he’s proud of this resemblance. The scenes from the first and only year of their ill-fated marriage open the narrative. If you are at all familiar with Elmore Leonard’s style, you know that his picture should be next to the term “low key” in the encyclopedia. He is famous for his virtuosic dialogue and with Honey he has created the perfect vehicle for his dry wit and pithy commentary. There is plenty of exciting and sexy action in this short novel carried out by several memorable characters, one of them being Carl (or Carlos) Webster, the star of “The Hot Kid”. Arliss Howard narrates and he is pitch perfect in conveying Leonard’s trademark tone. He is excellent with all the different accents (German, Russian, Southern U.S.,etc.) He is subtle and yet distinctive in his portrayal of female,male, young, old voices. I strongly recommend this one for pure listening enjoyment.
As always, Elmore's characters take on a life of their own. The plot may not be anything to write home about, but the uniqueness of his characters are always a treat to behold. This period piece set in the closing days of WWII in Chicago is filled with witty dialogue and the feeling that Elmore must have known each one in real life.
A must read for Elmore fans.
Yet another excellent Elmore Leonard. "Up in Honey's Room" is another book that includes Carl (Carlos) as a US Marshall. Most importantly the story keeps moving and kept me wide awake from 11PM to 6 AM or so while driving from Boston to Detroit, a trip I do once a year, usually with an Elmore Leonard book that includes Detroit in the story line.
I think you either LOVE Elmore Leonard or you don't. I didn't. I don't mind implausible stories (it is fiction) but this sets new standards for implausibility. Still, it has great snappy dialog and above average sex scenes.
A tung in cheek listen that showcases Lenord's dialog. Don't turn it down because I wasn't crazy about it.
I loved the Hot Kid so much I have practically memorized it and Honey's Room let me live a little longer in view of Carl (Carlos) Webster's ironic brilliance and daring do. All the characters in this book are memorable and intriguing, but the story and the action are not quite up to the standard of the Hot Kid. Nevertheless, I wouldn't have missed it.
I was desolate that it came so soon.
I don't even think of it as a performance it was so convincing. To me, Arliss Howard is the voice of the 1930's.
I loved Honey, so beautiful, appealing, open and direct. However, even though the Polish Countess/German Spy trails a faint scent of a stock character, she is my favorite. She encompasses the essence of a degenerate nobility and the power of a woman capable of intrigue, compassion and murder.
I am a student of 'classic' literature and Elmore Leonard is a prolific producer of
genre pulp fiction. So I stand up when I say his work has a seamy realism and pulse so artistic and close to life he provides profound satisfaction. It should be the basis for at least as many doctoral theses as it has been movies.
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