As a longtime fan of Elmore Leonard's writing, I still feel a sense of excitement run through me when I see he has a new work coming out. He has authored more than 35 novels, and it amazes me that with each new title that he still has more to say.
Mr. Paradise is a taut crime novel that unfolds in less than a week. It is classic Leonard, complete with the requisite quirky characters, fast dialogue and intriguing storylines. Mr. Paradiso is a wealthy old retired attorney. Montez is a black ex-con who, for the last ten years, has worked as Paradiso's right hand man. Lloyd is the house servant, attending to Paradiso's cooking and household chores. Tony Jr., Paradiso's son, thinks his father is losing it. He knows this to be true when the old man decides to leave Montez the mansion after his demise.
When Paradiso finds Chloe on the Internet, he sends Montez off to hire the woman as his girlfriend. For five grand a week, she is more than willing do whatever the old man likes. What the old man likes is for her to do dirty cheers by the side of the television set while he watches tape of Michigan football games.
One night he decides two cheerleaders would be more fun, so Chloe ropes in her roommate, an underwear supermodel named Kelly. A flip of the coin changes everything for everyone that night. For everyone, that is, except Mr. Paradiso. When Chloe and Paradiso are alone downstairs and Montez and Kelly are upstairs, two criminals arrive and murder both Chloe and Paradiso -- only the police are led to believe that Chloe is really Kelly and that Kelly is actually Chloe.
Detective Delsa is on the case. He is a likeable cop. His wife, also a police officer, has died. The lonely Delsa dedicates his every breathing moment to the job. What he finds as he works this case is that being lonely can be dangerous. As he gets close to the investigation, he can't help but become attracted to Kelly/Chloe. But is she playing him like a card?
Impossible to put down, enjoyable from start to finish, Mr. Paradise is quick, engaging and entertaining. As always, I look forward to more and more and more by Mr. Elmore Leonard.