All Mod Cons

Elmore Leonard published the novel Pagan Babies back in 2000 but I just read it this week. It is an Elmore Leonard book, therefore the plot is full of cons and double crosses, the dialog is witty, the prose is terse, and the characters are gritty and lively – oddball yet believable.  In this book, Father Terry  leaves Detroit half a step ahead of the law to become a rural priest in Rwanda during the recent genocide. During his first mass, some forty souls are slaughtered in front of him where they have sought sanctuary. After five years, Dunn returns to Detroit and gets caught up in the schemes of local mobsters and with Debbie, an aspiring stand-up comic who just got out of prison for hitting her ex-boyfriend with her car. The ex-boyfriend conned her out of $67 grand and she hatches a succession of schemes to get payback.

On LibraryThing and Goodreads I gave this book 4 stars. It probably only merits 3 stars. Consider the fourth a gratitude star. I can always depend on a Leonard novel to be worth reading.

I really needed a good read after having just forced my way through Quinn by Iris Johansen. My first and last Johansen. The writing was  flabby and weak. All the dialogue sounded just like the narration and I hated the narration. The characters were romance novel cliches crowbarred into a thriller format. And the plot. Oy, the plot. Sensual, fragile yet tough forensic artist Eve quests for decades to find out what happened to her missing daughter, aided by hunky FBI man and former Navy Seal Quinn. One suspect is her hunky ex-lover, former Army Ranger and father of the missing girl, who doesn’t know whether he killed the girl or not because sometimes his brain short-circuits thanks to torture by North Koreans. But he must be innocent because the daughter’s ghost appears to him as well as Quinn and Eve. Aaaaaaaaaaaa. I can’t say why I wasted the time to finish this (I skimmed the second half) except I knew it was a best seller and wanted to see why. I found no explanation. To restore my faith in book buyers, I tell myself that the other two books in this trilogy must be way better. You won’t get me to test that theory.

Johansen fans – I regret if I have offended you. Looking for a positive – we will never compete for her library books!

(This post comes from this Daily Prompt.)


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