Working at his brother-in-law's New Orleans funeral home isn't reformed jewel thief Jack Delaney's idea of excitement - until he's dispatched to a leper's hospital to pick up a corpse that turns out to be very much alive ... and under the care of a beautiful, radical ex-nun in designer jeans. The "deceased" is the one-time squeeze of a Nicaraguan colonel who's ordered her dead for trying to "infect" him, and Sister Lucy's looking to spirit the young woman away from his guns and goons. Plus Lucy's getting ideas about spiriting away some of the colonel's millions as well - and someone with Jack Delaney's talents could come in very handy indeed.
©1987 Elmore Leonard (P)1993 Recorded Books Inc.
Once again, the combination of Elmore Leonard and Frank Muller delivers. This is the story of Jack Delaney, the ex-nun Lucy Nichols, who ran a hospital for lepers in Nicaragua, and the horrible murderer General Dagoberto Godoy. The setting is New Orleans, where we find Jack three years out of prison, working for his brother-in-law at a mortuary. He and Lucy meet, and sparks fly. She saw Godoy murder lepers at the hospital and wants to avenge their deaths. General Godoy is in New Orleans raising money for the Contras, with a letter of support from none other than Ronald Reagan, who says in Spanish that "he ain't heavy, he's my brother." If you don't laugh at this stuff, you need to look for your funny bone. The plot again thickens, with scams and betrayals flying by, and once again I challenge any reader to predict the ending. Leonard is a true master of his craft, and Muller is simply like no other human being in his capacity to pull us into each book with what seems like casual reading, but is in fact the most skillful narration anywhere. It's good to see Leonard set this book in New Orleans, as his skill at describing location and characters with efficiency is unmatched. Other authors may bore us with plot exposition and dialogue that leads nowhere. Leonard points each piece of dialogue forward so that the plot advances with each paragraph. Neither he nor Muller can be hurried, and they don't need to rush. Listeners are rewarded with the best entertainment money can buy. Enjoy yourselves, and be grateful that this body of work, collectively a masterpiece which may never be matched, is available for us to read. There is nothing better than this.
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