Book Review: Gold Coast by Elmore Leonard

Gold Coast
by Elmore Leonard
Copyright 1980
Publisher: HarperTorch
336 pages

Rating: 7.5/10

Summary: Gold Coast has all of the hallmarks of Elmore Leonard’s best work – exotic settings, interesting characters, and a lots of action. It’s all good, but somehow it’s a little less than his very best. Still, it’s lot of fun.

Review: Gold Coast starts with an unbelievable premise – Karen DiCilia’s mobster husband Frank dies. He leaves her $4 million but she gets to keep it only if she never touches another man. Frank’s will also instructs his old mafia cronies to make sure that Karen remains faithful.

Strong Points

If you can get around the ludicrous plot, Gold Coast is fun. Leonard makes good use of the Fort Lauderdale, Florida, setting. Also, he keeps things moving by knowing which scenes to include and which to leave out. As with all Leonard books, Gold Coast has snappy dialogue and a good “twist” ending.

To make matters more interesting, there is Roland Crowe, a brutish ex-cons with designs on both Karen and her fortune. One of the other characters issues the following description of Roland:

“G–d— Roland – he didn’t know anything about his except he was built like a six and a half foot tree stump and had the hands and the reach and a hide it would be hard to even dent, ‘less you hit him with a tire iron. From behind.”

Areas for Improvement

Besides the plot, there are other issues with Gold Coast as well. The police don’t always behave in a realistic way. (They allow Roland to dictate the action during a domestic disturbance). Also, some of the scenes are a bit confusing and – at times – the characters’ motives are difficult to discern.

Summary

Leonard’s fan will enjoy Gold Coast. It’s not his very best, but it’s still quite good.

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About mobilemojoman

I have been a Mobile resident for about a decade. Working as a college professor keeps me off the streets and pays the bills. I am married to a woman (the MojoWoman) who is a much better person than I am and we have two beautiful girls who keep us both jumping. My interests are varied - food & drink, sports, politics, exercise, books, travel, Mardi Gras, and all of life's rich pageant. In the future, I'd like to learn more about sailing, photography, Cajun/Creole cooking, making beer and wine, and writing.
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