THURSDAY

He may not look so hard, but Elmore Leonard (author of Get Shorty, Out of Sight, and Rum Punch—better known cinematically as Jackie Brown) is the granddaddy of the glamour-violence novel. So even if you lived to be 100 (Leonard just turned 76), you could never be as cool as he is. And after 37 novels, Leonard is hardly out of seedy underbellies to plumb; his latest dives into the depths of the Mississippi Delta. Tishomingo Blues finds a vagabond stunt diver named Dennis—who’s just blown into Tunica County, Miss., to try to make a buck and score some tail—mixed up with the Dixie Mafia, a pack of meth and moonshine pushers, and a man who may be Satan himself. But before he can make his first jump, his assistant gets capped, and the cops don’t seem too bothered. Actually, neither does Dennis. When a suspicious character rolls into town in a Jaguar with a gris-gris charm bag stuffed with “strands of Madonna’s coochie mop,” Dennis climbs in the car and ends up at the infamous crossroads where bluesman Robert Johnson is said to have sold his soul to the devil. Seems that the guy in the Jag’s been sent down from Detroit to break up Tunica’s “Cornbread Cosa Nostra,” and he offers Dennis a big cut of the deal. All that’s left is to wipe the old guys out, and a conveniently scheduled Civil War re-enactment could be the perfect cover. Speculate on who’ll be directing the movie version when Leonard appears at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 31, at Borders, 5871 Crossroads Center Way, Baileys Crossroads. Free. (703) 998-0404. (Shauna Miller)

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