52 Pickup by Elmore Leonard

Elmore Leonard's novels and screenplays are best known for their gritty realism.

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52 Pickup by Elmore Leonard


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Reader Reviews
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful: Fun novel that falls apart at the end, June 10, 2003 Reviewer: The Gooch from Corona, CA United States How does one go about judging a suspense novel? The easiest criteria is probably the level of difficulty you have in putting the book down because of how heavily you get hooked into the plot. By this standard, Elmore Leonard's '52 Pickup' was a great novel. I read the entire 300+ pages in two sittings, which could have easily been condensed into one had I not forced myself to put it down the first time knowing I needed something to read on a 4-hour flight the next day. Leonard writes great characters, even better dialogue, and creates a thrilling cat-and-mouse game where the hero and villains are constantly gaining and losing the upper hand against each other. Watching the hero of this novel, Harry Mitchell, struggle to balance running his successful business amidst the threat of a union slowdown, reconciling his marriage after confessing to his ill-advised affair, and dealing with three thugs who are trying to extort large sums of money from him, made for some very entertaining reading. There is another standard for judging a suspense novel that I found '52 Pickup' wasn't as successful at, which is the level of believability. The problem I had with this novel was that for the ending to work required that the respective IQ's of the three main villains had to abruptly drop about 100 points each. I just found it odd that three guys who so expertly planned their crimes in the early portion of the novel would suddenly become so gullible later in the same book. I'm not saying that Mitchell's method of dealing with his extortionists was completely unrealistic, just that I thought everything sort of fell into place too easily. In particular, I found it hard to believe that a criminal as intelligent as Alan Raimy would have been so careless in the final scene of the book. Also, while Leonard wisely made Mitchell a former war hero to make his grace under pressure a bit more realistic, I did find it to be a bit much how he seemingly never felt fear, no matter how grave his situation became.

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