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Publisher's Summary

In this collection of new and recently published short fiction, Elmore Leonard demonstrates the superb characterizations, dead-on dialogue, vivid atmosphere, and driving plotting that have made him a household name. And once more this master of crime illustrates that the line between the law and the lawbreakers is not as firm as we might think.

Federal marshal Karen Sisco, from the best-selling 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. In all nine stories, each unique in their own right, reluctant heroes and laid-back lowlifes struggle for power, survival, and their fifteen minutes of fame.

Vivid, hilarious, and unfailingly human, these stories ring true with Elmore Leonard's signature deadpan social observations and diabolical eye for the foibles of the good guys and the bad.

©2002 Elmore Leonard, Inc.; (P)2002 HarperCollinsPublishers, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"The razor-edged dialogue and brisk storytelling won't disappoint." (Publishers Weekly)
"These clever, perceptive, ironic short stories by the author of Get Shorty and other crime classics boast stylistic verve and strong characterizations. Narrator Taye Diggs has a pleasant, calming sound that brings out the smoothness of the writing." (AudioFile)
"Especially noteworthy are the women in these tales, uniformly strong, funny, and complex. But perhaps Leonard's greatest accomplishment is in transforming a notoriously underread form, the short story, into something with mass appeal." (Booklist)

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Average Customer Ratings

Overall

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Story

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  • Overall

Typical Elmore

Once again, Elmore's wonderful prose makes you feel the places and the people with a stunning reality. Alas, third person descriptive style, although great for novels, is not best for short stories.

The stories are uneven: the best ones, such as Karen Makes Out, are great reads, but the bad ones, such as Ten Killer, just never reaches any level of excitement. I felt the Villains were too weak and the good guy lacking in motivation and style.

If you normally enjoy Elmore's realism, you should enjoy these stories

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Leonard's leftovers

Elmore Leonard's tough, cool heroes and dialogue don't compensate for how one-dimensional his characters are, or how his plots limp to unsatisfying conclusions. Because his showdowns are always between brave, smart heroes and stupid, feckless villains, all suspense is drained from the stories.

This collection feels tired and recycled, as though Leonard was trying to create a meal out of three-day-old leftovers. He drags in characters from his novels, but doesn't give them anything fresh to do.

In two of the longer stories, the hero comes back to his home town, reconnects with the formerly-married woman whom he longed for but never slept with in high school, and winds up in the woman's kitchen facing down the leader of a group of moronic, white-trash criminals. Sure, one villain is eating fried chicken, and the other just wants a cup of coffee, but that difference hardly makes the plots distinct.

In two other stories a woman commits a crime and is then blackmailed by a person who knows about it. Yep, that's supposed to be the clever denouement.

For far more inventive plots, try "Twisted," Jeffrey Deaver's fun collection of crime/suspense stories. Deaver really knows how to surprise you.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Monotone delivery made it difficult to follow

Taye Diggs' monotone delivery made it difficult to follow I abandoned it after two tries

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
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  • Story

Not Sure

Would you try another book from Elmore Leonard and/or Taye Diggs?

I will probably not get another Elmore Leonard Book

If you’ve listened to books by Elmore Leonard before, how does this one compare?

NA

Would you be willing to try another one of Taye Diggs’s performances?

No - voices for each character were the same and I think the reader focused on being too cool versus telling the story.

Was When the Women Come Out to Dance (Unabridged Stories) worth the listening time?

I have given up

Any additional comments?

I enjoy readers that add voices with character and some drama in their voice.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Story

Don't

Misnomer. Book 2-1/2 is a ploy to sell more books. Because of that I have read/listened to my last Elmore Leonard book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • AJ
  • 02-12-15

Great stories, good narrator, production lacking

Several cuts were obvious and transition music played where it shouldn't have been. Aside from that it was highly enjoyable

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

Mixed Elmore Leonard stories; great Taye Diggs.

This is a collection of stories by Elmore Leonard. Several of the stories have recurring Leonard characters: Ben Webster, Karen Cisco, and the best story in the book, which is called Fire in the Hole, is the basis for the TV series, "Justified." Taye Diggs does an excellent job of narration. His voice is comfortable and friendly. There are a number of regional American accents, particularly Kentucky and West Virginia, black and white, redneck and sophisticated urban. Diggs does them all well. He is a movie actor, and I'd be happy to hear him read more books. Fire in the Hole forms the entire basis of Justified. The story covers several episodes and many of the characters in the series. Much of the TV show, of which Leonard is the executive producer, is lifted directly from the story. Who writes better dialogue than Elmore Leonard? The main characters in Fire in the Hole are Raylan Givens, also a recurring character in a number of other books, Boyd Crowder, a guy that Raylan once worked in coal mines with, and Eva Crowder, the widow of Boyd's late brother Bowman. He is late because Eva killed him at their dinner table after suffering years of abuse at his hands. Fire in the Hole is worth the price of the book, even if you haven't seen Justified (Timothy Olyphant plays Raylan, which might motivate some of you to watch it, as he is both a great actor and incredibly handsome). I would start with the books by Leonard rather than this collection, but for many of us, any Elmore Leonard is good Elmore Leonard.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

Classic Elmore Leonard

What did you love best about When the Women Come Out to Dance (Unabridged Stories)?

Elmore leonard is a great storyteller and a wonderful writer.These were great short stories.

What three words best describe Taye Diggs’s voice?

The only thing I had against the reader was that he often lapsed into what sounded like a black dialect when the story called for a white country dialect. It sort of detracted from the story telling in that it jarred one out of the moment.

  • Overall
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  • Story

Classic Leonard

Fantastic collection of short stories. Many that turned into some of his best novel's.
-Scribe Podcast

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  • Story

the best

Elmore Leonard was the master of crime fiction and this book of short stories proves it.