Pagan Babies Author:Elmore Leonard In Rwanda during the genocide, Hutu thugs storm into a church and kill everyone except Father Terry Dunn, on the alter saying his first mass. He's powerless to do anything about it--until one day he faces several of the killers and exacts a chilling penance. But is Terry Dunn really a priest? — He doesn't always appear to a... more »ct like one. He comes home to Detroit and runs into Debbie Dewey who's doing standup at a comedy club. In her set, Debbie tells what it was like in prison, down for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Terry and Debie hit it off; they have the same sense of humor and similar goals in that both are out to raise money. Terry says for the Little Orphans of Rwanda; Debbie to score off a guy who conned her out of sixty-seven thousand dollars. This is Randy, now wealthy, who runs a fashionable restaurant and is connected to the Detroit Mafia.
It's Debbie who keeps prying until she learns the bizarre truth about Terry; Debbie who sells him on going in together for a much bigger payoff than either could manage alone. What happened in Rwanda remains alive through the unexpected twists and turns of the plot. But even with this tragic background. Pagan Babies comes off as Leonard's funniest straight-faced novel to date.« less
This is Elmore Leonard, true to form; always an exciting read with lots of twists. It's hard to give even a snapshot of what it's about without giving away the twists - nothing is as it seems. I enjoyed it.
In 'Pagan Babies' Elmore Leonard takes the reader from post-genocide Rwanda to mobbed up Detroit and back again. Leonard's writing here meets or exceeds his usual high standards for gritty and sardonic wit and intricate plot and then there are the characters who people his plot. Almost without exception, every character in the book is playing an angle of one kind or another - if not several angles.
Rich characters - there's 'Father' Terry Dunn returned from Africa to 'raise money for orphans' (the pagan babies), and ex-con with a schtick and a scam named Debbie Dewey, plus several Detroit Italian mobsters, a Hoosier hick hitman, not to mention several very bad banana-beer swilling men in Rwanda and 47 unburied bodies in Father Terry's Rwaandan church.