Jackie Brown was originally published as Rum Punch—and was
then renamed after it became a Quentin Tarantino film. It might surprise (and baffle)
readers, then, that there is no Jackie Brown in the book. It sure baffled
There is, however, a Jackie Burke. She’s a flight attendant who’s
caught bringing cash from Jamaica to Miami for gun smuggler Ordell Robbie. All kinds of
law enforcement agencies are after Ordell, so when they catch Jackie with $10,000 and a
little bit of cocaine in her bag, they offer her a deal—they’ll drop the charges if she
leads them to Ordell.
Jackie decides that the safest plan is to play both
sides—and then take the half-million that Ordell’s been trying to get her to transport
and make a run for it. So while Ordell is gathering his three girlfriends and his ex-con
buddy, Louis, to help him get the cash while avoiding the cops, Jackie is planning a con
of her own—with the help of Max Cherry, a fed-up bail bondsman.
Even if I
overlooked the title-character-less nature of this book, I still can’t say that I liked
it. The book itself was well-written and crisp, but the characters were soggy. I kept
telling myself that it would be okay—that it was just taking me a while to get into the
story, and it would pick up sooner or later. But it never did. I never found a
character that really mattered to me, and the story never really excited me (which could,
of course, be because I didn’t care about any of the characters).
I’m not going to give up on Elmore Leonard yet (mostly because I kinda liked the movie
Get Shorty), I’ve definitely given up on Jackie Brown—whoever the heck she