Djibouti by Elmore Leonard

Djibouti is a taste of something a little different from Elmore Leonard in that the setting is Africa and the focus is on documentary film making. Fans of Elmore Leonard should prepare themselves for a story that bears little resemblance to the majority of his other books.

Book Details

Title: Djibouti
Author: Elmore Leonard
ISBN: 978-0-061-73517-5
Pages: 288 pp
Published Date: 2010
Publisher: William Morrow
Sub-Genre: Hardboiled
Main Characters: Dara Barr, Xavier LeBo


Publisher's Synopsis

Dara Barr, documentary filmmaker, is at the top of her game. She’s covered Bosnian women, Neo-Nazis, and post-Katrina New Orleans (for which she won an Oscar), but now she’s looking for an even bigger challenge. So she and her right-hand-man—a six-foot-six, 72-year-old, African-American man named Xavier—head to Djibouti, on the Horn of Africa, to tackle modern-day pirates. Once they start filming, though, they find a whole lot more than they bargained for.

They quickly learn that almost nobody in Djibouti is what he seems. A whole mob of colorful characters patrols the surrounding seas, including a pirate chief who keeps a Mercedes in Djibouti and a cultured Saudi diplomat with dubious connections. There’s a billionaire American who plays different roles as the moods strike him. He loves champagne and firing his 600 caliber elephant gun. If his girlfriend Helene gets seasick or bored, he won’t marry her. And an al Qaeda terrorist from Miami with very lofty ambitions, who wants to blow up something big.

What Dara and Xavier don’t know is which guy is going to get the prize—and what they’ll have to do if they want it.

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Book Reviews

You will find reviews of Djibouti at the following websites. "I'll preface this review by saying that I really like Elmore Leonard's writing. But this book is a mess. I blame the mess mostly on the way Leonard chose to tell the story, which has all the standard elements of an Elmore Leonard novel, just in bland disarray." Read the reviews here

Blog Critics: "It is a complicated story filled with surprising twists and turns that will have you wondering who the good guys are and who the bad. And while some of what goes on in the book is kind of difficult to buy even for a thriller, if you are willing to suspend your disbelief the book is a fast-paced read with a lot of excitement." Read full review

Mystery/Crime Fiction: "Leonard's particular style of writing may not be for everybody. The dialogue is peppered with profanity. Violence is sudden, unexpected and remorseless. This is tough, gritty fiction. Be advised." Read full review

Oregon Live: "This reader got fuddled by chunks of the tale that appear in contrived flashbacks as Dara and Xavier watch their own rough-cut footage and tell each other the events they've just lived through. It's a dashing experiment, and understandable given Leonard's love for the movies, but it doesn't quite work." Read full review here

Onyx Reviews: "It wouldn't be an Elmore Leonard novel without a cast of fast-talking, smart-mouthed, colorful characters. First, there's Xavier, a six-foot six, 72-year-old black man with sailing experience who knows how to handle a camera. He flirts with Dara during their month at sea, but she doesn't take him seriously until he restocks his supply of horny goat weed and bets Dara that he can satisfy her." Read full review here

The entire Elmore Leonard back catalog can be found on the Elmore Leonard page