I always come back to Elmore Leonard. The one criticism could be that every book is pretty much the same. But what he does, he does so damned well.
The dialogue has spawned a thousand impersonators (Quentin Tarantino seems to have gotten much of his snappy dialogue from Leonard), the characters are always made of different shades of gray, and there are crazy plots, where everything comes back to fit in a nice, neat package.
I can’t read them in a row — but I throw one in every couple of months.
Mr. Paradise was actually one of the weaker ones by Leonard, but is still better than most books out there. I’m not even going to try to explain the plot because quite frankly, it doesn’t matter.