Published by Avon Books
52 Pickup by Elmore Leonard
Detroit businessman Harry Mitchell had had only one affair in his twenty-two years of happy matrimony. Unfortunately someone caught his indiscretion on film and now wants Harry to fork over one hundred grand to keep his infidelity a secret. And if Harry doesn’t pay up, the blackmailer and his associates plan to press a lot harder — up to and including homicide, if necessary. But the psychos picked the wrong man for their scam, because Harry Mitchell doesn’t get mad…he gets even.
This is one of Elmore Leonard’s early books, and he has written many books since. I wanted to review this earlier work so that I could then read something more recent and compare them. This book was made into a film like a lot of Leonard’s books.
It is very easy to read and kept my interest to the last page. Some of the book is very man centred with prostitutes, a dirty film theatre, go-go dancers, and the wife of the hero is beautiful, fit, a good tennis player (but not as good as him) and very forgiving, a wee bit too good to be true, and just what any macho man would want. This does not detract from the plot which has a bit of tension and double crossing among the villains.
It is said by some reviewers that this book does not contain any of the humour and wit of this writers later books and is nastier in the characterisations, but the pace is good and Harry is a fearless flawed hero, war veteran, and schemer to be reckoned with. The writer has realistically portrayed the Detroit factory scene and the problems that can arise with labour and unions. The ending of the book certainly ties up all the ends, although it is a bit far fetched, but after all, it is fiction. I look forward to starting on another of Leonard’s books.