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Maximum Bob by Elmore Leonard

Maximum Bob (1991)

by Elmore Leonard

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Enter the world of Elmore Leonard. The setting is Palm Beach County, Florida, where someone places a live ten-foot alligator in the backyard of the bigoted, redneck judge Bob Gibbs--known to all as Maximum Bob--and his wife, Leanne, a former Weeki Wachee mermaid. Not long after that, shots are fired into the judge's house. It doesn't take much figuring to conclude that someone's out to get him and that malefactor isn't going to stop at the second try. There's a long list of suspects: Dale Crowe, who just got an outrageous sentence for a minor crime; his uncle Elvin, a killer on parole, raring to go again; Dr. Tommy Vasco, the drugged out former medical doctor; his equally bizarre friend, Hector; and Dicky Campau, who makes a living poaching alligators. And there are others.

Somehow Kathy Baker, a nifty young probation officer, has got herself in the middle of all this. She's got to avoid two seducers--the judge and a homicidal maniac--and work with a young police officer who interests her for more than professional reasons. Trying to pick out from his assortment of bad guys, sociopaths, and punks the one who's trying to kill the judge is pure entertainment, as only Elmore Leonard, with his ear for the sound and eye for the sight of lowlife, can provide.

My take.......

A January re-read and another enjoyable encounter with Elmore Leonard and a strange cast of characters.

A sex-mad judge called Maximum Bob, someone who might need some self-improvement classes -offering a court reporter the opportunity to play a carnival game…”You sit on my face and I guess your weight.” His wife, Leanne frequently given to startling fugue states where she assumes the speech and mannerisms of a long dead slave girl. An attractive probation officer, Kathy Baker – someone who grabs the attention of our randy judge. A couple of criminal Crowes – a nephew, Dale – young likeable, a tad reckless but unfairly shafted by Bob; his psychopath uncle – Elvin, vicious, scheming but never less than interesting. A 10ft alligator. A disgraced doctor and his boyfriend – living the life strung out on drugs. A young handsome cop – Gary Hammond.

In a nutshell - the judge has tired of his wife and wants her to leave and some former inhabitants of Bob’s court plot revenge on him.

Murder, drugs, an alligator, court scenes, discontent in a marriage, some romance, sexual frustration, a 135 year’s dead slave girl, a mermaid, Florida, an escort, etc etc

Madcap characters, inimitable humour, great dialogue, bizarre situations, violence and death. A bit different from a lot of the crime fiction out there.

Really enjoyable – even if after about a dozen pages I realised I had read it before. Fortunately it was long enough ago that I couldn’t remember the outcome.

4.5 from 5

Elmore Leonard was my first introduction to the crime fiction genre after picking up a book of his which had been blurbed by Stephen King. This would have been late 80s. Prior to that my reading was firmly ensconced in the horror zone. Leonard sadly passed in 2013. I have a lot of reasons to be grateful to him.

Read in January, 2017
Published – 1991
Page count – 298
Source – owned copy
Format - paperback

http://col2910.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/elmore-leonard-maximum-bob-1991.html ( )
  col2910 | Apr 18, 2017 |
3 stars

Maximum Bob is the nickname given to Judge Bob Gibbs (although he is called “Big” throughout the book), who is well-known for handing out maximum sentences for even the most minor crimes. Dale Crowe Junior had the misfortune to draw Maximum Bob, and gets five years. He also appears to threaten the judge at the end of his sentencing. His probation officer, Kathy Baker, has her hands full, trying to fending off the amorous advances of Big, keeping Dale in line, and dealing with Dale’s uncle Elvin, a convict on probation himself. Things get complicated when an attempt is made on the Judge’s life. The list of suspects is long, and Kathy has many of them among her parolees.

Overall, the story is fun, a little silly at times, even slightly sinister, yet it never quite comes together in a cohesive unit. Part of it might be an out-of-place supernatural element that is underdeveloped, and probably not even needed. Another problem might be that Big never really comes into focus; there’s something that’s just slightly off with his character. When you weave together a twisting, turning plot, everything has to be just right or it collapses. This book never completely fell apart, but it was definitely unraveling around the edges.

It’s a good read. Just don’t set your expectations get too high going in. ( )
  ssimon2000 | May 31, 2016 |
Maximum Bob is a Florida judge so named for handing out the Maximum penalty to convicts. Bob is at odds with his air-headed new age wife, who happens to believe she is a channel for the spirit of a lost little girl.

Seeking to rid himself of his wife, Bob hires two thugs to capture the biggest meanest gator of the swamp and deposit it in his back yard, thinking it will eat his wife and thus rid himself of her blathering once and for all. What Bob does not count on is the gator attacking his wife's dog rather than her...... So begins a riotous tale of misadventure and justice as only can be found in Florida.

Elmore Leonard has a wicked sense of humor and this is one more of his well written offerings. ( )
  Auntie-Nanuuq | Jan 18, 2016 |
Prob. officer + convicts, tough sentencing judge - alligator in porch

Florida Judge Maximum Bob Gibbs has thrown the book at so many people that when bullets start to fly it begins to look like on of them may throw it back at him.
  christinejoseph | Dec 26, 2015 |
Probation officer, Kathy Baker, has one of her clients up before Judge Bob Gibbs. The judge, known as Maximum Bob for his severe sentencing hits on her. He claims his wife who is a former Weeki Wachee Florida mermaid is crazy and is leaving him. It seems the judge has pushed her out by having an alligator put on the lawn which frightens her because of an earlier experience with one while performing as a mermaid.

Kathy is the heroine and is more detective than probation officer. When it appears that someone has taken some shots at the judge, she suspects that he wasn't the target and is soon immersed in a strange case inhabited with bizarre characters such as the drug addicted doctor and his weird Hispanic house boy not to mention the redneck Elvin Crowe who soon after leaving prison, is planning on several murders including Judge Gibbs and the doctor. A well constructed Leonard novel. ( )
  lamour | Oct 13, 2015 |
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For the Honorable Marvin
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Dale Crowe Junior told Kathy Baker, his probation officer, he didn't see where he had done anything wrong.
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Book description
Judge Bob Gibb, in Palm Beach County, Florida is an outrageous juror with many enemies. So when a mammoth alligator ends up in his house, it is not a total surprise. His wife, a former mermaid faced a gator before during her act and is herself a vehicle for a 12 year old 19th century Southern slave. Probation officer Kathy Baker attracts the judges attention, and while keeping track of other paroled convicts, begins to unravel Maximum Bob's plot to be rid of his quirky wife.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060084081, Mass Market Paperback)

Hard-ass Palm Beach County judge Bob Isom Gibbs enjoys sending even petty offenders away to do hard time -- which has made the list of miscreants who want him dead longer than a fully grown Florida gator's tail. And a good number of his illwishers are probation officer Kathy Baker's clients, including young Dale Crowe and his psycho uncle Elvin. Now, Kathy's got an even more daunting task than keeping BIG's horny hands off her: keeping "Maximum Bob" alive. Because Gibbs's many enemies seem to be willing to go to any lengths -- be it death by amphibian or some more tried-and-true method -- to permanently end the career of an oversexed, racist jurist who's more interested in scoring than in saving his own red neck.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:19 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

Kathy Baker, a young probation officer, finds herself caught in the middle when someone in Palm Beach County, Florida, threatens the life of bigoted redneck judge "Maximum Bob" Briggs.

» see all 3 descriptions

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