Ian Rogers Presents The Biblio-Files – Episode 3: "The Switch," by Elmore Leonard

Most people know that Quentin Tarantino’s film “Jackie Brown” was adapted from an Elmore Leonard novel called “Rum Punch.” What they may not know is that this story was actually the second novel to feature some of these characters.

With industry news reporting that a movie is now in the work, I thought it would be a good time to revisit one of Leonard’s early Detroit crime novels, “The Switch.”

I think every horror author has to try his or her hand at a haunted house story. Likewise, I believe every crime author has to write a kidnapping story. In “The Switch,” Leonard puts his own unique twist on the popular trope, delivering his usual blend of humour and action.

Ordell Robie and Louis Gara are two low-rent criminals who decide to kidnap a woman named Mickey Dawson. Mickey’s husband, Frank, runs a lucrative — and illegal —real-estate business, and the kidnappers know he won’t go to the police, not with the chance of exposing his own illicit activities.

What the kidnappers don’t realize is that Frank doesn’t really want Mickey back. He has a girlfriend in the Bahamas named Melanie, and she has some ideas of her own about how they can use the kidnapping to their own ends. Or at least hers. Add in a moronic white supremacist and a womanizing country-club yuppie, and you’ve got the makings of a classic Elmore Leonard caper.

“The Switch” was originally published by Bantam, and is currently available from HarperCollins.

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