The plot of RUM PUNCH is set in motion when Ordell Robbie convinces his old associate, Louis Garra, to join him in his gun-running business. Having made contact with a neo-Nazi named Gerald, who has a cache of weapons, Ordell plans to use Louis to kill Gerald; then he will kill Louis and sell the guns.
The plan is disrupted when Jackie is arrested at the airport by two cops who are planning to use her to trap Ordell. She agrees to help them in exchange for having the charges against her dropped.
Ordell hires Max Cherry to bail Jackie out. When Ordell tries to murder her, she tells him that the police are after him but don’t have enough evidence. She convinces him to let her appear to help the police so they will let her fly out of the country.
Max is having a midlife crisis and considering getting out of the bail bond business. When he bails Jackie out, they become lovers and partners, although Max isn’t sure he can trust her. Jackie likes Max and knows that she needs a partner.
When Ordell realizes that he’s been double-crossed, he kills Louis and goes into hiding. The police inform Jackie that the charges have been dropped, Louis is dead, and Ordell has escaped.
Max finds Ordell and arranges a meeting. The police are waiting, Ordell is killed. The case is closed, leaving Jackie and Max to keep $500,000 that no one else knows about.
RUM PUNCH is a fast-paced, well-drawn story that brings together old crooks and makes new ones. Fans of Elmore Leonard will not be disappointed.