Review: The Switch (By Elmore Leonard)

The Switch Source: Goodreads

The Switch
Source: Goodreads

Length: 184 pages

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Ordell Robbie and Louis Gara found perfect partners in each other when they were in the same prison. Now that they’re free, they’ve got a plan to execute – kidnap the wife of a wealthy Detroit developer and make some easy ransom money. If the hoops they had to jump through to get their plan working were not enough, they hit an impassable obstacle when they realize that everything about their plan was perfect except for the fact that the husband of the woman they’re now holding just doesn’t want her back! The next thing they’re doing is wondering what two criminals are supposed to do with a victim whose rescuer refuses to rescue her. But that becomes the last thing on their mind when they realize that the victim is not so victim-esque after all – and that the quiet, suburban wife they kidnapped now wants in so that she can get some good, old fashioned revenge.

My take:

The Switch is an interesting enough read, but not really one that would remain in your memory forever and ever. It’s more of a book that you would read for some light hearted entertainment or as a holiday book.

One of the main reasons for this is the slang in the book. Perfectly suitable for the time when the book was published, the language and general behavior of the characters can strike you as a bit odd. Then there is that feeling that you’re waiting for something to happen that just doesn’t. Whether this is because of the way the blurb was written or something else, the result is that you feel a little impatient when turning the pages; and the story seems to drag occasionally.

What the book does have going for it though is the plot which is funny while still being filled with twists, turns, and suspense – a perfect mix. Then there are some of the characters that you really like and with whom you easily associate. You do find yourself rooting for some while wishing the worst for others, so the character development, although done in the strangest way I’ve ever seen, is still pretty great. This can be seen especially in the case of Mickey and Louis, two characters that I found to be really interesting.

What really raises the rating of the book though, putting it more into the likable category than the average in my opinion, is the end. The end is actually laugh out loud funny and leaves you feeling incredibly satisfied while still wishing you had a couple more pages to turn. It doesn’t end such that you don’t know what happens next – you know just what happens, but it plays out only in your imagination, and that is actually perfect.

Of course the book also tells you that crime fiction need not be too serious just to be taken seriously, and can be really thought provoking to writers who want to stick to the norm while still being innovative. As a reader though, the book offers little more than a quick, light read that is perfect for fans of crime fiction, especially crime humor. While you may not miss the biggest thing in your life if you choose to skip this book, it can be an interesting read on a holiday or a relaxing weekend – a fun option for those book breaks that are between the really-heavy-reading sessions.

– Rishika

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