Friday, August 30, 2013

Forgotten Books: Mr. Majestyk -- Elmore Leonard

I was till thinking about Elmore Leonard this week, so here are a few comments on one of his lesser-known books. 

Mr. Majestyk started out as a screenplay, and Leonard turned it into a novel about the time it was filmed so it could be released in conjunction with the movie.  Majestyk is a melon farmer, and in a way he's like some of Leonard's characters in his western novels.  He's a seemingly mild-mannered guy who can't be pushed around.  Push him, and he's going to push back.  He's a military vet who knows how to push.

Bobby Kopas tries to get Majestyk to hire some melon pickers who aren't up to snuff instead of the skilled workers Majestyk usually hires.  Kopas gets what he deserves, but Majestyk goes to jail as a result.  There he's involved in a jailbreak with Frank Renda, a mob hit man.  All Majestyk wants to do is get back to picking his melons, and he kidnaps Renda, planning to trade him to the cops for his own release.  Renda escapes and wants revenge.  Big mistake.

There's a lot of action in the book, the usual good writing, and some great characters.  In other words, everything you're looking for in an Elmore Leonard book.  It's one of my favorites among his novels, and if you've passed it by because it's not as well-known as some of the others, you should check it out.  The movie's very good, too.  One of Bronson's best.

7 comments:

Louis XIV, "The Sun King" (Nick Jones) said...

Ha, I think that's my copy, Bill!

Existential Ennui Book Review: Mr. Majestyk

Nice review – and good to see the book getting a bit more exposure.

Bill Crider said...

Could be. I stole it from the Internet, being too lazy to scan my copy.

Louis XIV, "The Sun King" (Nick Jones) said...

Glad to be of service, sir. *doffs cap*

August West said...

I saw the movie first then read the novel a few years later.(My favorite Bronson film) Of course the novel portrayed a deeper and darker character which gets rooted from his Vietnam past. The novel as always is better, but like you said Bill the movie is damn good also. A must read for Elmore Leonard fans and a must see for Bronson fans too.

Gerard said...

I did like the flick. I have not read the novel.

Kelly Robinson said...

Nice coif for a melon farmer, I must say.

Jeff S said...

I read that edition of the paperback. Both it and the movie (which used to pop up on tv all the time) were fun thrillers, if plot wise more simple then Leonard's other work.