Cover image for Killshot
Leonard, Elmore, 1925-2013.
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Publication Information:
Beverly Hills, CA : Phoenix Audio, [2006]

Physical Description:
7 audio discs (approximately 7 hr.) : digital ; 4 3/4 in.
General Note:
Compact disc.
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Format :
Audiobook on CD


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Armand Degas is a Mafia hit man the guys call Blackbird. He is cool and composed and knows a good score. So when punk crook Richie Nix tells him about his surefire scheme to extort $10,000 from a middle-of-nowhere Michigan real estate agent, Armand signs on. What the two thugs don't count on is Carmen Colson and her ironworker husband, Wayne, being in the real estate office when they go in to collect. Now Carmen and Wayne know too much and Armand has no intention of letting them survive to tell about it. But Wayne's sure the local cops are going to fumble the manhunt, and the best the feds can offer is the Witness Security Program. Now it's come down to one man, one woman, and two killers ... and someone's bound to end up on the wrong end of the gun.


In Elmore Leonard's renowned crime fiction novel, couple Wayne and Carmen Colson find themselves entering the Federal Witness Protection Program after they stumble into an extortion scam lead by Ojibwa Indian-French Canadian hitman Armand Degas and his temporary sociopathic partner Richie Nix. After they're in the program, though, Wayne and Carmen still find themselves being hunted by the violent criminals.

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)

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Crime fiction doesn't get any better than Leonard's new thriller, which, while it breaks no new ground, is a welcome retreat to his more direct style of classics such as 52 Pickup and Unknown Man #89 . When Carmen Colson and her ironworker husband Wayne stumble onto an extortion scheme run by Armand Degas, half Ojibway Indian, half French Canadian hit man, and his temporary partner Richie Nix, a talkative sociopath, the two killers set out to eliminate them, hiding out with Nix's girlfriend Donna, a former prison guard who collects stuffed animals and believes that Elvis is alive. In detailing the killers' relentless pursuit of the terrified couple, Leonard builds suspense with a deft, master hand, inducing an instant--and sustained--response of sweating hands and a racing heart. Even the most jaded reader will be swept along on the roller coaster of impending violence punctuated by heart-stopping crises. As always, Leonard writes with a natural ear for offbeat speech and a terrific sense of locale, moving the action from Toronto to Detroit and into Michigan and Ohio, telling the story almost totally through the thoughts and dialogue of the characters. In the Colsons, Leonard presents a more mature and realistic portrayal of a relationship than he has in the past, and he stirs up an uncomfortable fondness for the cruel but mellowing hit man Degas, all the while drawing the reader deeply into these ordinary lives. A bravura performance. Literary Guild dual main selection. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

In this fine adaptation of Leonard's best-selling novel, Wayne and Carmen Colson's quiet life shatters following their involvement in a failed extortion scheme. To escape from hit man Arman "Blackbird" Degas and his sidekick Richie Nix, the Colsons enter the Federal Witness Protection Program. They soon find out the program contains as many predators as does the underworld. As with all of Leonard's (Cuba Libre, Audio Reviews, LJ 6/15/98) works, it is his character development and dialog that propel the simple plot toward its chilling conclusion. Bruce Boxleitner's reading adds a special effect to the story, and the adaptation captures all the power of the original novel. Highly recommended for all collections containing Leonard's past works.‘Stephen L. Hupp, Urbana Univ. Lib, OH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Killshot Chapter One The Blackbird told himself he was drinking too much because he lived in this hotel and the Silver Dollar was close by, right downstairs. Try to walk out the door past it. Try to come along Spadina Avenue, see that goddamn Silver Dollar sign, hundreds of light bulbs in your face, and not be drawn in there. Have a few drinks before coming up to this room with a ceiling that looked like a road map, all the cracks in it. Or it was the people in the Silver Dollar talking about the Blue Jays all the time that made him drink too much. He didn't give a shit about the Blue Jays. He believed it was time to get away from here, leave Toronto and the Waverley Hotel for good and he wouldn't drink so much and be sick in the morning. Follow one of those cracks in the ceiling. The phone rang. He listened to several rings before picking up the receiver, wanting it to be a sign. He liked signs. The Blackbird said, "Yes?" and a voice he recognized asked would he like to go to Detroit. See a man at a hotel Friday morning. It would take him maybe two minutes. In the moment the voice on the phone said "Detroi-it" the Blackbird thought of his grandmother, who lived near there, and began to see himself and his brothers with her when they were young boys and thought, This could be a sign. The voice on the phone said, "What do you say, Chief?" "How much?" "Out of town, I'll go fifteen." The Blackbird lay in his bed staring at the ceiling, at the cracks making highways and rivers. The stains were lakes, big ones. "I can't hear you, Chief." "I'm thinking you're low." "All right, gimme a number." "I like twenty thousand." "You're drunk. I'll call you back." "I'm thinking this guy staying at a hotel, he's from here, no?" "What difference is it where he's from?" "You mean what difference is it to me. I think it's somebody you don't want to look in the face." The voice on the phone said, "Hey, Chief? Fuck you. I'll get somebody else." This guy was a punk, he had to talk like that. It was okay. The Blackbird knew what this guy and his people thought of him. Half-breed tough guy one time from Montreal, maybe a little crazy, they gave the dirty jobs to. If you took the jobs, you took the way they spoke to you. You spoke back if you could get away with it, if they needed you. It wasn't social, it was business. He said, "You don't have no somebody else. You call me when your people won't do it. I'm thinking that tells me the guy in the hotel--I wonder if it's the old guy you line up to kiss his hand. Guy past his time, he don't like how you do things." There was a silence on the line before the voice said, "Forget it. We never had this conversation." See? He was a punk. The Blackbird said, "I never kiss his hand or any part of him. What do I care?" "So, you want it?" "I'm thinking," the Blackbird said, staring at the ceiling, "you have a Cadillac, that blue one." It was the same vivid light-blue color as his grandmother's cottage on Walpole Island. "What is it, about a year old?" "About that." So it was two years old, or three. That was okay, it looked good and it was the right color. "All right, you give me that car, we have a deal." "Plus the twenty?" "Keep it. Just the car." This guy would be telling his people, see, he's crazy. You can give him trading beads, a Mickey Mouse watch. But said over the phone, "If that's what you want, Chief." The voice gave him the name of the hotel in Detroit and the room number, a suite on the sixty-fourth floor, and told him it would have to be done the day after tomorrow, Friday around nine-thirty, give or take a few minutes. The old man would be getting dressed or reading the sports, he was in town for the ball game, Jays and the Tigers. Walk in and walk out. "I know how to walk out. How do I get in?" "He has a girl with him, the one he sees when he's there. It's arranged for her to let you in." "Yeah? What do I do with her?" The voice on the phone said, "Whatever your custom allows, Chief." Confident now; listen to him. "What else can I tell you?" The Blackbird hung up the phone and stared at the ceiling again, picking out a crack that could be the Detroit River among stains he narrowed his eyes to see as the Great Lakes. Ontario, Erie, Lake Huron . . . His name was Armand Degas, born in Montreal. His mother was Ojibway, his father he didn't remember, French-Canadian. Both were dead. Until eight years ago he had lived and worked with his two brothers. The younger one was dead and the older one was in prison forever. Armand Degas was fifty years old. He had lived in Toronto most of his life, but didn't know if he should stay here. He could go downstairs to the Silver Dollar and after a while feel pretty good. There was a bunch of Ojibway that hung out there. Maybe he looked like some of them with his thick body and his thick black hair lacquered back hard with hair spray. They'd talk, but he could tell they were afraid of him. Also there were more punks coming in there, crazy ones who colored their hair pink and green . . . Killshot . Copyright © by Elmore Leonard. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold. Excerpted from Killshot 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.