The sequel to Chili Palmer's hit movie tanked and now Chili's itching for a comeback. So when a power lunch with record-label executive and former associate Tommy Athens ends in a mob hit, he soon finds himself in an unlikely alliance with organized-crime detective Darryl Holmes and the likely next target of Russian gangsters. But where others see danger, Chili Palmer sees story possibilities.
Enter Linda Moon, a singer with aspirations that go further than her current gig in a Spice Girls cover band. Chili takes over as Linda's manager, entering the world of rock stars, pop divas, and hip-hop gangstas. As he wings his way to success in the music business with his trademark cool, Chili manipulates his adversaries and advances his friends, all the while basing the plot of his new film on the action that results.
In Get Shorty (1990), Leonard skewered the film industry in a rollicking crime read that became not only a bestselling book but also a megahit movie. This razor-sharp sequel veers from the venality, egomania and basic bad taste of the movies with the similar attributes of the pop-music business. After one hit (Get Leo) and one flop (Get Lost), Chili Palmer, former loan shark and now movie producer, thinks the record industry is fertile ground for his next flick. He hasn't lost touch with his old Brooklyn friends, though, and while lunching with one he witnesses his pal's mob-style murder. As he's not a serious suspect, Chili becomes friendly with the investigating LAPD detective. He has also become interested in Texas-bred singer Linda Moon and her effort to break into the biz, which puts him on the wrong side of her inept but murderous manager, Raji. When a Russian gangster is found shot dead in Chili's house, matters complicate further as Chili wades through a rogues' gallery including more Russians, a mob hit man, seriously criminal gangsta rappers, Raji's giant gay Samoan bodyguard and assorted other denizens of La La Land. Chili remains a compulsively appealing character throughout, retaining his immaculate cool in lethal situations as those around him wallow in pretension and hypocrisy. Leonard's plotting is as propulsive as ever and his desert-dry wit continues to flare at high heat. Nearly every sentence of this novel reads as if it's dipped in gold. This is a knockout work from a master crime writer: be cool, and relish it. Major ad/promo; simultaneous BDD audio; author tour.