Cover image for The switch
The switch
Leonard, Elmore, 1925-2013.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Dell Publishing, a div. of Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc., 1978.
Physical Description:
216 pages ; 17 cm
General Note:
A Dell book
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library X Adult Mass Market Paperback Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Black Ordell Robbie and white Louis Gara have lots in common--time in the same slammer, convictions for grand theft auto, and a plan for a big score. They're going to snatch the wife of a Detroit developer and collect some easy ransom money. They don't figure on a bum of a husband who has a secret mistress and no desire to get his wife back. Or on his crazy, beautiful broad of a housewife who's going to join Ordell and Louis in the slickest, saviest crime of all...

Author Notes

Elmore John Leonard, Jr. 10/11/25 -- 8/20/13 Elmore John Leonard, Jr., popularly known as mystery and western writer Elmore Leonard, was born in New Orleans, Louisiana on October 11, 1925. He served in the United States Naval Reserve from 1943 to 1946. He received a Ph.D. in English from the University of Detroit in 1950. After graduating, he wrote short stories and western novels as well as advertising and education film scripts. In 1967, he began to write full-time and received several awards including the 1977 Western Writers of America award and the 1984 Writers of America Edgar Allan Poe award. His other works include Get Shorty, Out of Sight, Hombre, Mr. Majestyk, 3:10 to Yuma, and Rum Punch. Many of his works were adapted into movies.

Library of America recently announced plans to publish the first of a three-volume collection of his books beginning in the Fall of 2014. Leonard died on August 20, 2013 from complications of a stroke he had earlier. He was 87 years old.

(Bowker Author Biography)



The Switch Chapter One Mickey said, "I'll drive. I'd really like to." Frank, holding the door open, said, "Get in the car, okay?" He wasn't going to say anything else. He handed her his golf trophy to hold, walked around and tipped the club parking boy a dollar. Mickey buckled the seat belt -- something she seldom did -- and lit a cigarette. Frank got in and turned on the radio. They passed the Bloomfield Hills Police Department on Telegraph, south of Long Lake Road, going 85 miles an hour. Someone at the club that evening had said that anybody coming from Deep Run after a Saturday night party, anybody at all, would blow at least a twenty on the breathalizer. Frank had said his lawyer carried a couple $100 bills in his penny loafers at all times just to bail out friends. Frank, with his little-rascal grin, had never been stopped. The white Mark V -- washed daily -- turned left onto Quarton Road. Mickey held her body rigid as the pale hood followed the headlight beams through the curves, at 70 miles an hour, conservatively straddling the double lines down the middle of the road, the Mark V swaying slightly, leaning -- WJZZ-FM pouring out of the rear speakers -- leaning harder, Mickey feeling herself pressed against the door and hearing the tires squeal and the bump-bump-bump jolting along the shoulder of the road, then through the red light at Lahser, up the hill and a mile to Covington, tires squealing again on the quick turn into the street, then coasting -- "See? What's the problem?" -- turning into the drive of the big brown and white Tudor home, grazing the high hedge and coming to an abrupt stop. In the paved turn-around area of the backyard, Frank twisted to look through the rear window, moved in reverse, maneuvered forward again, cranking the wheel, reverse again, gunning it, and slammed the Mark V into the garage, ripping the side molding from Mickey's Grand Prix as metal scraped against metal and white paint was laid in streaks over dark blue. "Jesus Christ, you parked right in the middle of the garage!" Mickey didn't say anything. Her shoulders were still hunched against the walled-in sound of scraping metal. After a moment she unbuckled and got out, leaving Frank's golf trophy on the seat. It was cold in Bo's room. The window air-conditioner hummed and groaned as though it might build to a breaking point. Mickey turned the dial to low and the hum became soothing. In the strip of light from the door she could see Bo, his coarse blond hair on the pillow, his bare shoulders. His body lay twisted, the sheet pulled tightly against the hard narrow curve of his fanny. Mickey's word. Part of a thought. Practically no fanny at all, running it off six hours a day on tennis courts and developing the farmer tan -- she kidded him about it -- brown face and arms, white body. He didn't think it was funny. It was a tennis tan and the legs were brown, hardmuscled. He didn't think many things were funny. He would scowl and push his hair from his face. Now his face was slack, his mouth partly open. She kissed his cheek and could hear his breathing, her little boy who seemed to fill the twin bed. Bo would be fourteen in a month. "Going on thirty-five," she said to Frank. Only once. Frank had given her a tired but patient head-shake that was for women, the concentration, the psyching up, the single-purpose will to win that a talented athlete must develop to become a champion. (Sometimes he sounded like a Wheaties commercial.) She said, again only once, "What difference does it make if he wins or loses, if he's having fun?" Knowing it was a mistake as she said it. Frank said, "If you don't play to win, why keep score?" (Did that follow?) He then gave an example from the world of golf that drew only a vague parallel. Something about his second-shot lie on the 5-par 17th -- the dogleg to the right? -- where he could chip out past the trees, play it safe; or he could take a wedge and if he stroked it just right, to get his loft and a little kick, he'd be sitting pin high. "You know how I played it?" Mickey, showing interest: How? An unspoken house rule: Never talk about Bo if it's anything that might upset Frank. When the lines from his nose to his jaw tightened, stop. Switch to Bo's overpowering forehand. Or let Frank describe his day's round of golf, the entire eighteen, stroke by stroke. Keep the peace. Though the tiny voice in her mind was beginning to ask, louder each time, Why? It was a pleasure watching Bo sleep. It was a pleasure watching him eat. It was a pleasure watching him play tennis when he was winning. But it was not a pleasure simply to be with him and talk. Frank said, "He's thirteen years old, for Christ sake. What do you want him to talk about?" Coming into the bedroom with a drink and his golf trophy, Frank said, "You know, it's funny, after fifteen years I still have to explain to you this is work , winning this thing. You make remarks like it's a piece of shit." Mickey was already in bed in her long white pajama top, her face scrubbed clean of eye-liner and lipstick; but he'd caught her. The bed lamp was still on. "What'd I say this time?" "You made some remarks at the table; I heard you." "I said it looks like the Empire State Building with a golfer on top." "That's very funny." The Switch . Copyright © by Elmore Leonard. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold. Excerpted from The Switch by Elmore Leonard All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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