Friday, July 29, 2016

52 Pickup by Elmore Leonard

Title: 52 Pickup
Author: Elmore Leonard
Publisher: Martin Secker & Warburg Ltd (1974) 

Apologies for the technical issues. Hopefully this time around all will be well. 

I don't know if Michael planned for us to post another Leonard tale almost 2 years to do the day from when we did one before but it's a fun coincidence. I had a great time with Hombre but, unfortunately, not at all with this title. (PS Michael, send me some of that warm weather!)

For those that are new to our monthly series, this is when Michael reviews a film adapted from a book which gets a review here.

Click here for Michael's film review of 52 Pickup 
at It Rains... You Get Wet

Title: Should have been called Not Even 1 Reason to Pickup Much Less 52.

Synopsis: A trio of criminals try to blackmail a businessman by exposing his infidelity. As it happens, they end up getting more than they bargained for with this particular businessman.

What works: Leonard's spare prose and snappy dialogue. I do like an author who let's the story tell itself.

What doesn't: For this reader, pretty much everything else. Mitch was so over the top about the only thing I found believable was the fact he thought his stupid ass excuse re Cini was something he should say out loud. Barbara may as well have been called Convenient Mitch Decoration or Needed Plot Device. The union rep was ridiculous, Mitch's "straight talk" employee management scheme was just a little too easy and the criminals were really boring and stupid. I was already grinding my teach in chapter 3 so I knew this was going to be a rough one. One thing I'll say for it, I think you can figure out pretty quick whether it's a title for you or not. And even though I plugged away to the finish, I never came around to rooting for or caring if Mitch got the better of the bad guys.

I could go into the relentless violence against and exploitation of women, the one dimensional or non-existent roles for anyone who doesn't look like Mitch, the faux sexual liberation theme but, really, I think my point has been made re this title. 

Overall: Even this gem of a line didn't make it worth the read. 

"Well, I guess you'll think of a way," Vic said, "if that's what you want to do, light up a briefcase."
"It's kind of what I want to do," Mitchell said. 

Now about that movie... Don't forget to check out Michael's post. 

rating: 2 of 5 stars

Coming up next:  
Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas


  1. I take it you didn't like it so much that… ;-)

  2. Ha! While true, I had at least intended to say *something* :)

    Sorry again for the snafu.

  3. No problem, Rachel. I suspected after finally reading this for the first time, you'd probably not like aspects of it. A good friend who read my review from Facebook recently recalled he did enjoy the film, but made him feel like he should shower afterwards. Obviously, that could apply to the source material, but it is one where YMMV. This was an earlier effort by Leonard, around the time he switched from the western to crime thrillers. If he wanted to make a splash into the genre, this did that. As I mentioned in my film review, this wouldn't be everyone's cup of tea, so do speak. Thanks for putting up with this one, Rachel. We return to the classics next month! :-)

  4. Well, that's annoying. Comment disappeared whilst logging in. Hmmm...

    Anyway, too hilarious about the shower but I can totally understand.

    I definitely liked the Western we read better but it's always interesting to try out something even if it isn't my cuppa.