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Elisha Sitnikov
Elisha Sitnikov

Elmore Leonard's The Switch: The Classic Crime Story on CD (Unabridged)

The Switch ((Unabridged CD)) Elmore Leonard: A Review

If you are looking for a witty, clever, and thrilling crime novel, you might want to check out The Switch by Elmore Leonard. Leonard was one of the most acclaimed and influential writers of crime fiction in the 20th century, with more than 40 novels and dozens of short stories to his name. He was also known for his adaptations into movies and TV shows, such as Get Shorty, Out of Sight, Jackie Brown, and Justified.

The Switch ((Unabridged CD)) Elmore Leonard

The Switch is one of Leonard's earlier novels, published in 1978. It is the first of two books featuring the characters of Ordell Robbie and Louis Gara, who later appear in Rum Punch (1992), which was adapted into Jackie Brown by Quentin Tarantino. The Switch is a classic example of Leonard's trademark style: sharp dialogue, black humor, unpredictable plot twists, and memorable characters.

The Switch tells the story of a kidnapping gone wrong...or terribly right, depending on how you look at it. It involves a trio of criminals, a wealthy businessman, his unhappy wife, and his greedy mistress. It also explores the themes of betrayal, revenge, and empowerment in a darkly comic and suspenseful way.

Plot summary

The novel begins with Mickey Dawson, a bored housewife who lives in a luxurious mansion in Detroit with her husband Frank, a corrupt real estate developer, and their son Bo. She is unhappy with her marriage and her life, but she doesn't know how to change it.

One day, she is kidnapped by two lowlifes named Ordell Robbie and Louis Gara, who have just met in prison and decided to team up for a big score. They demand a million dollars from Frank for Mickey's safe return.

However, what they don't know is that Frank has a secret girlfriend in the Bahamas named Melanie Ralston, a former model who likes to spend his money. Frank is already planning to divorce Mickey and run away with Melanie. He doesn't care about Mickey's fate and refuses to pay the ransom.

Ordell finds out about Melanie and flies to the Bahamas to confront her and Frank. He threatens them with a gun and demands the ransom money. But Melanie convinces Ordell that Frank would pay him $100,000 if he kills Mickey instead. Ordell agrees to do it, even if it means betraying Louis.

Meanwhile, Louis is guarding Mickey at a hideout with a third accomplice named Richard Edgar Monk, a white supremacist who hates Ordell for being black. Louis starts to feel sorry for Mickey and develops a bond with her. He realizes that there is no ransom coming and that Ordell may have double-crossed him.

He decides to help Mickey escape from Monk's clutches and take her back to her home. There, they confront Frank and accuse him of leaving her to die rather than pay the ransom. Mickey also reveals that she knows about Frank's illegal scheme of building apartment complexes with stolen materials. She implies that she could inform the authorities at any time and ruin his life.

She then leaves Frank and takes some of his money and valuables. She tracks down Louis and Ordell, who have reunited after Ordell lied to Louis about killing Mickey. Ordell has also brought Melanie back from the Bahamas with him, without Frank's knowledge.

In the final scene, Mickey, Louis, and Ordell are wearing masks and about to kidnap Melanie, hoping that this time Frank will pay up.


The Switch is a novel that explores the themes of betrayal, revenge, and empowerment in a clever and entertaining way. It shows how the characters betray each other for money, love, or survival, and how they seek revenge for their wrongs. It also shows how Mickey, the victim of the kidnapping, becomes the mastermind of the second kidnapping, gaining control over her life and her captors.

The novel also showcases Leonard's style of writing, which is characterized by realistic and witty dialogue, dark humor, and suspense. The dialogue reveals the personalities and motivations of the characters, as well as their conflicts and alliances. The humor comes from the absurdity and irony of the situations, as well as the contrast between the characters' expectations and reality. The suspense comes from the uncertainty and danger of the plot, as well as the twists and turns that surprise the reader.

The novel also subverts the expectations of the crime genre and the reader. It does not follow the typical formula of a kidnapping story, where the kidnappers are either caught or paid off. Instead, it shows how the kidnapping fails and leads to another kidnapping. It also does not present the characters as stereotypes, but as complex and flawed individuals who have their own agendas and emotions.


The Switch is a novel that deserves to be read by fans of crime fiction and Elmore Leonard. It is a smart, funny, and thrilling story that will keep you hooked until the end. It is also a novel that has been adapted into a movie called Life of Crime, starring Jennifer Aniston, Tim Robbins, John Hawkes, Mos Def, Isla Fisher, and Will Forte. The movie was released in 2013 and received positive reviews from critics and audiences.

If you are interested in reading The Switch or watching Life of Crime, you can find them on Amazon or other online platforms. You can also check out other novels by Elmore Leonard, such as Rum Punch, Get Shorty, Out of Sight, or Freaky Deaky. You won't regret it!


  • Q: Is The Switch a sequel or a prequel to Rum Punch?

  • A: The Switch is neither a sequel nor a prequel to Rum Punch. It is a separate novel that features some of the same characters (Ordell Robbie and Louis Gara) in different situations.

  • Q: How faithful is Life of Crime to The Switch?

  • A: Life of Crime is a fairly faithful adaptation of The Switch. It follows the same plot and dialogue as the novel, with some minor changes in details and settings.

  • Q: What are some of the differences between Life of Crime and The Switch?

A: Some of the differences between Life of Crime and The Switch are:

  • The movie is set in 1978, while the novel is set in 1971.

  • The movie changes some of the names of the characters: Melanie Ralston becomes Melanie Dawson; Richard Edgar Monk becomes Marshall Taylor; Bo Dawson becomes Will Dawson.

  • The movie adds some scenes that are not in the novel: Frank's encounter with a hitman; Ordell's meeting with a drug dealer; Melanie's seduction of Louis.

  • Q: Why did Quentin Tarantino choose to adapt Rum Punch instead of The Switch?

  • A: Quentin Tarantino chose to adapt Rum Punch instead of The Switch because he liked the character of Jackie Brown more than Mickey Dawson. He also wanted to make a movie about an older woman who is not usually seen as a protagonist in Hollywood movies.

  • Q: What are some other novels by Elmore Leonard that have been adapted into movies or TV shows?

A: Some other novels by Elmore Leonard that have been adapted into movies or TV shows are:

  • 3:10 to Yuma (1957) - adapted into two movies (1957 and 2007)

  • Hombre (1961) - adapted into a movie (1967)

  • Valdez Is Coming (1970) - adapted into a movie (1971)

  • 52 Pick-Up (1974) - adapted into a movie (1986)

  • Stick (1983) - adapted into a movie (1985)

  • Glitz (1985) - adapted into a TV movie (1988)

  • Get Shorty (1990) - adapted into a movie (1995) and a TV series (2017-2019)

  • Maximum Bob (1991) - adapted into a TV series (1998)

  • Rum Punch (1992) - adapted into a movie called Jackie Brown (1997)

  • Pronto (1993) - adapted into a TV movie (1997)

  • Riding the Rap (1995) - adapted into a TV movie called The Hunted (2001)

  • Out of Sight (1996) - adapted into a movie (1998) and a TV series called Karen Sisco (2003-2004)

  • Cuba Libre (1998) - adapted into a movie called Havana Nights (2004)

  • Be Cool (1999) - adapted into a movie (2005)

  • Tishomingo Blues (2002) - adapted into a TV movie called Tishomingo Blues: A Novel for Television (2004)

  • The Hot Kid (2005) - adapted into a TV series called Justified (2010-2015)

  • Road Dogs (2009) - adapted into a TV movie called Road Dogs: Elmore Leonard's Out of Sight Returns (2010)

  • Djibouti (2010) - adapted into a movie called Djibouti: A Novel for the Screen (2012)



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