Maximum Bob

Maximum Bob

Book - 1991
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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.
Publisher: New York : Delacorte Press, 1991
Characteristics: 295 p. ; 25 cm

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j
jimg2000
Feb 22, 2017

Dale Crowe Junior was twenty, a tall, bony-looking kid in his dark-blue scrubs. Dark hair uncombed, dumb eyes wandering, worried, but trying to look bored. Dale was from a family of offenders in and out of the system. His uncle, Elvin Crowe, had this week completed his prison time on a split sentence and was beginning his probation. Kathy Diaz Baker was twenty-seven, a slim five-five in her off-white cotton shirtdress cinched with a belt.
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“Bob Isom Gibbs, I know him, the one they call ‘Big.’ Election time you see his name on signs, ‘think big.’ He’s famous, isn’t he?” “He makes himself known.”
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“I can go to jail but I can’t have a beer?”
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“You think I’m on your side?” “Well, aren’t you?” “Dale, I’m not your friend. I’m your probation officer.”
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“… Gibbs asked her if she wanted to play Carnival. She said she didn’t know how to play it and Big said, ‘You sit on my face and I guess your weight.’ “

j
jimg2000
Feb 22, 2017

“Do I have a choice in the matter?” Bob Gibbs said, “Why certainly,” sounding surprised. “You can be let off with a warning or draw a five-hundred-dollar fine and a year in the Stockade. Take your pick.”
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“…you don’t look especially Latin.” Like he was paying her a compliment. If she wanted she could say, And you don’t look like a judge.
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“…You’ve heard the expression ‘Born to raise hell’? That’s young Mr. Crowe’s belief. Mine’s ‘Hard time makes the boy the man.’ He’ll come out of jail therapy with a brand-new attitude, or else we’ll send him back, won’t we?”
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“Sometimes you call it house arrest? Like being in jail at home. Or married to the wrong person. Am I right?”
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“…‘I’m not in a popularity contest.’ When I sentence a man to death by electrocution, it’s because I think he deserves the shock of his life.”
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“Big, how can you eat the flesh of once-living things?” “Easy, I chew each bite forty times.”

j
jimg2000
Feb 22, 2017

“Right there’s where Donald Trump lives.” Elvin said, “Is that right? Who’s Donald Trump?”
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They passed a workout room and he asked if she was into aerobics, any of that. She said no, but my ex-husband ran five miles every other day while I cleaned the bathroom.
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“I’m a person was never married on the outside. But you get in there, something happens to you. Soon as I was put in with the population I started looking for a wife. Generally speaking, you poke or get poked.
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“Wants the old man to think he’s a good boy,” Dale said, “so he pulls the shades down and does all his partying at home.”
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Oh, really? Going along with it instead of saying, Judge, married to you, no wonder she wants to be somebody else.
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There was no way he was going to argue through Leanne with a twelve-year-old colored girl dead 135 years and hope to come out ahead.

j
jimg2000
Feb 22, 2017

Elvin could read guys like Dr. Tommy in a minute, the kind went through life scared and became sneaky.
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They showed utter contempt of the law but expected the system to be fair, which to them meant lenient.
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Convicts, they’d sit around talking about jobs, banks they’d held up, argue about how to blow a safe. Now you got inmates instead of cons and these guys are crazy. All they think about is getting dope and getting laid, looking to see who they can turn.
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“What you have to learn is how to ride the rap, do your own time, but get salty quick as you can. You’re in the population you don’t have to be good-looking, you’re a new punk coming in and that’ll get you elected.”
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“Dermatologist.” He raised a finger to his cheekbone. “Those brown spots you have right here should be looked at.” “You’re looking at ’em, aren’t you?”

j
jimg2000
Feb 22, 2017

Little things became irritations when you weren’t getting along. The last she had heard of the major irritation, Keith—excuse me, Dr. Baker—he had switched his specialty from psychiatry to anesthesiology.
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If he had ten thousand cash to pay out he’d have more where it came from, in the house. Something to look into after.
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She almost told Gibbs, helping her out of the car, to take his hands off her. A reflex, or not seeing that much difference between this judge and a criminal offender.
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“I know guys who’d rather do time than Community Control, sit at home all night.” “Well, you can understand that. A year and a day of DOC time you do, what, ninety days maybe? A year on Community Control you do the whole bit, no time off.”
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“Would you get married again?” She said, “Of course. It’s what you do when you’re grown up. But that’s the tricky part.” He said, “What is?” She said, “Knowing when you’re grown up. You’re not doing it to play house and get laid whenever you want.”

j
jimg2000
Feb 22, 2017

Driving off he saw Inez in his rearview mirror standing out in the street, the size of her, like a man wearing a housedress. All you could say about Inez Campau, there was a big ugly woman.
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“The gulags, slave-labor camps. Twenty-five million people were sent there during Stalin’s time, anybody he didn’t like. Russian soldiers captured during the war, they came home they were sent to Siberia. They shouldn’t have let themselves get captured. A man was overheard saying to an American his boots were better than Soviet boots. He got ten years. In one camp they shot thirty people a day to keep the rest of them in line.”
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“…You know, maybe he’s shy. I mean with women.” “He might be.” “Self-conscious, afraid of being turned down. When they’re like that you have to let them know it’s okay. Bring them out, so to speak.” “Like unzip their fly?” “That would work. You know the old saying,” Michelle said, “once you have their balls in your hand, their minds are far from Siberia.”

j
jimg2000
Feb 22, 2017

Elvin always amazed at the sight of cane cutters, hundreds of black faces on the street buying Walkman radios and little TVs to take back to Jamaica, their season almost done. Elvin said, “I ain’t gonna say nothing but, Jesus Christ, how come we bring all these people here when our own niggers could be doing the work? I know it’s a filthy dirty job and you can get hurt swinging them machetes, but they could at least try it, ... Pretty soon they’ll be living here, as the Cuban and different other kinds are, taking our jobs.”
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“I know who he’s with and the kind of car they’re driving.” “Tell me,” Gibbs said, “and we’ll both know.”
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“The guy’s wife was in court at the sentencing. Now there’s a woman looks like an alligator, homeliest female I ever saw.”
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“You don’t think I’d have a live ten-foot gator brought to my home, do you?” “I heard it was supposed to be dead.”

j
jimg2000
Feb 22, 2017

What I’m talking about, you and I aren’t afraid to say what we believe. Hell, we could have more fun disagreeing with one another than most people have getting along.
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Elvin saying, “I thought you were some woman getting a marcel,” as he eased into the chair across from Gary’s, filling it with his bright blue suit.
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“…What a window crystal does,” Leanne said, “used for meditation, it allows you to look into your soul and see the real you. Not the one you see in the mirror, the one you’re pretending to be.”
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That was the difference between a book and real life. In a book, the one who was supposed to be the bad guy always got killed in the end.
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“You believe there’s another dermatologist in the world who sunbathes?”
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This one—he couldn’t think of her name—was brand-new at her profession, not yet cynical or slick at telling lies. The kind would write down everything he said and laugh at his wit.

j
jimg2000
Feb 22, 2017

“He’s dead because of a fxcking alligator, if you can believe that. An alligator he killed. Now it’s killed him.”
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“… Well, the way I see it, taking chances is the hot sauce you put on life to make it tangy. Otherwise I’m no better off’n you are sitting, watching it go by.”
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No, he was looking for Hector. Elvin said, “I haven’t seen him.” Which was true. Not since he’d stuck him in the broom closet.
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“Big, what I have to do first is remove all the psychic dirt that’s crusted on your body, built up there over the years.” He asked her, “Will it hurt?” “You’re an old scaredy-cat, aren’t you? No, it won’t hurt and you’ll feel lighter after, your body free of all that old static full of negative thoughts and emotions.”
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She had shot a man. Twice through the heart or close to it. She began to think, This is what it’s like . . . But this one’s different. You wanted to.

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j
jimg2000
Feb 22, 2017

Kirkus reviews has a point that the story tends to meander with a few characters popping up and then disappeared in its midst like ghosts. However, it is an original comedy knitted in Elmore's unique fashion. And before “Justified 2010-2015” from "Fire in the Hole," this Elmore book was set in the backwater of Palm Beach County and made into the 1998 TV series starring Beau Bridges (crackpot & lustful judge,) Liz Vassey (spunky & available probation officer,) Brent Briscoe (full-of-himself & ex-con killer) and Kiersten Warren (psychic & medium ex-mermaid.) Hope to see it on DVD soon. (Note: first DVD player was produced commercially by Pioneer in late 1999.)

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