cover image BE COOL


Elmore Leonard, , read by Campbell Scott. . Harper Audio, $29.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-06-077520-9

Despite the title and the cover shot of John Travolta and Uma Thurman, who star in the MGM film based on Leonard's follow-up to Get Shorty , this production is curiously lacking in "cool." A few bars of funky music kick off the story, which follows shylock–turned–movie producer Chili Palmer as he outmaneuvers mobsters, crooked music business execs and some menacing rappers to make a CD—and possibly another movie. Narrator Scott, who starred in the film Dying Young , attempts a low-key, laid-back performance, but the result sounds sedate rather than coolly casual. He gives Chili an inflectionless tone that's hardly reminiscent of the character's Italian roots, and all of his female voices sound virtually the same. Though Scott lends a few secondary characters more definition—a spot-on Brooklyn accent for Chili's friend, Tommy, and a self-consciously tough tone for a murderous music manager—this production largely succeeds in rendering Leonard's lively text listless. Based on the Delacorte hardcover (Forecasts, Nov. 16, 1998). (Feb.)