Thursday, February 13, 2014


Dear Great Book Guru,  Valentine’s Day is a lovely respite from the snow and cold of February and I plan on celebrating with friends at a local restaurant, but I also would like something good to read this holiday weekend. My friend Jim Doherty mentioned Elmore Leonard as an author I might enjoy.  Any thoughts?  Be My Valentine

Dear Valentine,  I had never read any Elmore Leonard until recently and I do think you might find him a good choice. Known as the Dickens of Detroit for his colorful characters and conversational flavor, Leonard has written over thirty novels, many that have been made into movies and television series (“Get Shorty”, “Justified”, “Out of Sight” among others}. His early books were Westerns but later he concentrated on contemporary Detroit and its surroundings- always with desperate but decent heroes who show little respect for the  conventional mores of   law and order.  PAGAN BABIES is a  favorite of mine.  It opens with Father Terry Dunn hearing the confessions of his parishioners in modern day Rwanda. Soon however Terry and the reader are back on the streets of Detroit with aging mobsters, fugitive felons, attractive ex-convicts, bumbling assassins, all in pursuit of the American dream or at least a great deal of cash. Everyone has a secret, everyone has a mission- and Leonard brings  them all together in a humorous- at times poignant- fast-moving conclusion.

Happy birthday this week to Joseph Anzalone, Shannon Doherty, Victor Ambrose,  and Lousie Voccoli- readers  who always find time for a good book!

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