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Glitz

A book by Elmore Leonard

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Miami Vice, The Novel

  • Jul 3, 2007
Rating:
+3
As the title suggests, "Glitz" is Elmore Leonard giving you ambiance from double barrels. You get Puerto Rico, home of tropical drinks and crazy tourists, where life is cheap amid postcard vistas. You get Atlantic City, a decayed relic of another time made anew with casinos that advertise visitor winnings on giant billboards.

"Yeah? And how much of it did the suckers put back in? They didn't say."

At the center, you get Vincent Mora, a Miami Beach police detective whose idea of medical leave after being shot in the hip involves taking stock of the killing of a woman friend who fell 18 stories from a high rise condominium building. Nothing phases Vincent, whether doing battle with the Atlantic City mob or pushing the buttons of a freak he sent up in the past. He always plays it cool.

"Your house could be on fire, but I'd never tell from your voice, would I?" he is told.

For Leonard's detractors, put off by his singular success among crime-fiction novelists, Vincent would be Exhibit A. Too tough, too collected, they say, and they have a point. Other storytellers examine their protagonists' fears as a way of pushing the tension. Leonard pretends it doesn't exist, or brushes it off with a shrug.

But you get great moments from such disengagement, like the way Mora sizes up a casino tough guy: "Vincent liked the way Jackie came right at him. Fat little guy with his pinkie ring, his pictures of stars - wanting to sound tough, hip - with lifts in his alligator shoes...He had known many Jackie Garbos in Miami Beach; they were fun. You could act just a little naive and they'd perform for you."

"Glitz" was first published in 1985, and when I saw it in paperback a year later, something about that original Meyer/Ziemienski cover grabbed me. Pink and brown Spanish hacienda behind gunmetal Rolls and palm trees, title in neon, all smacked of "Miami Vice", the hot show of the time. No earth tones, just like the series. Reading it, I discovered it was exactly that. Vincent needs a shave like Sonny Crockett, and goes to work on the bad guys with subterfuge and humor that strains belief but keeps you wanting more. Leonard had anticipated the TV series some years before, with a comic pitch session about undercover narc cops in "Stick", and here he was raking in the chips.

To say "Glitz" is an effective immersion in style is not to deny it has faults. There's a subplot involving Vincent's dealings with a casino owner's wife that comes out of nowhere and dissipates, as if Leonard thought he needed to further display Vincent's studliness. Later, he scores a needed ally in an ex-football player simply by outmachoing the fellow into taking his side.

But Vincent Mora, despite his one-dimensionality, never disappoints for entertainment. Leonard gives him a worthy adversary in a momma's boy named Teddy who hardly lives up to his name. Leonard always does villains well, and in Teddy you get one of his best.

I enjoyed "Glitz" and you will, too, provided you let it wash over you like a Gloria Estefan song and don't sweat the details. Leonard has written better books, but it's easy to get lost in the glow of this exercise in consummate star power.

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More Glitz reviews
review by . October 11, 2012
Did I chase the glitz and glamour money fame and power? Quote
The story begins when a thief tries to rob a man carrying grocers to his home. What the robber didn't realize was that the other man was a cop. In the shoot out that followed, the police officer is wounded and the robber died from his wounds.      The injured man, Lt. Vincent Moro, goes to San Juan to recuperate. He spends much of his time with a lovely, but naive prostitute named Iris. Her goal is to go to Atlantic City to become a hostess at a casino.      …
review by . March 10, 2004
Elmore Leonard is definitely my favorite author. The way he cruises through the text and keeps you hooked along every word is a talent only he posesses. GLITZ is one of Mr. Leonard's greatest crime novels, an intriguing work that hooks you from the first sentence and holds on to you until the finale.Seven years ago, Teddy Magyk (a.k.a. "Mr. Magic") was imprisoned after Vincent Mora brought him down for raping a senior citizen. Now Teddy's out, and he wants revenge. But there are some things he didn't …
About the reviewer
Bill Slocum ()
Ranked #311
Reading is my way of eavesdropping on a thousand conversations, meeting hundreds of new and fascinating people, and discovering what it is about the world I enjoy most. Only after a while, I lose track … more
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Wiki

Psycho mama's boy Teddy Magyk has a serious jones for the Miami cop who put him away for raping a senior citizen -- but he wants to hit Vincent Mora where it really hurts before killing him. So when a beautiful Puerto Rican hooker takes a swan dive from an Atlantic City high-rise and Vincent naturally shows up to investigate the questionable death of his "special friend," Teddy figures he's got his prey just where he wants him. But the A.C. dazzle is blinding the Magic Man to a couple of very hard truths: Vincent Mora doesn't forgive and forget ... and he doesn't die easy.

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Details

ISBN-10: 0060089539
ISBN-13: 978-0060089535
Author: Elmore Leonard
Genre: Mystery & Thrillers
Publisher: HarperTorch
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