TISHOMINGO BLUES by Elmore Leonard
William Morrow, 2002
Professional high diver Dennis Lenahan knows that he's too old for the carnival circuit. Becoming an attraction at a Mississippi casino seems like the right answer--at least for a while. When he witnesses a murder while on his diving platform, Dennis is thrown into a world of Dixie Mafia, illegal drugs, and the opportunity for more money than he's ever dreamed of.
His new friend, Robert, introduces Dennis to a family of blues music that might be real, or might simply be Robert's fantasy. Which is pretty much the story for Robert as a whole. Dennis wants to believe him, but Robert insists on involving him more and more deeply in a conflict between drug clans--all played out in a civil war re-enactment. Eventually Dennis is forced to confront his moral values--or admit that he really doesn't have any, and the blues may be his only guidance.
Author Elmore Leonard (click here to see our reviews of additional novels by this author) writes compellingly about the morally ambivalent world of professional crime and men trying to make their way through the world. Dennis is an interesting hero--not completely amoral but certainly not endowed with any special respect for the authorities. Robert is an entertaining and compelling foil to Dennis--intelligent, experienced, and completely without any morals, yet still likable and in control both of himself and those around him.
Fans of Leonard's fiction will want to pick this one up--it's definitely a winner. Those new to Leonard will want to read more--(I'll recommend the immortal STICK (buy it from Amazon) as Leonard's best although he is perhaps better known for GET SHORTY (buy it from Amazon)).
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