elmoreleonard

ROAD DOGS

Elmore Leonard



You may have never read an Elmore Leonard novel and still be familiar with his books. “Get Shorty,” “Be Cool,” “Bandits,” “Out of Sight,” “The Big Bounce,” “Last Stand at Sabre River,” “Mr. Majestyk,” “Stick,” “Rum Punch” (“Jackie Brown”), and others have been adapted as movies. Leonard has written some 40 novels: first, a series of Westerns; and more recently in the past few decades, crime novels. Elmore Leonard’s books are known for their tight plotting, spare descriptions, dark humor, and, mostly, some of the best dialogue in any American fiction. His character development often happens squarely through his dialogue which Leonard delivers in a rat-a-tat patter, a rhythmic beat of characters’ give and take. The majority of his crime novels occur in contemporary settings; however, his past two books followed characters set in the gangster days of the 1930s as opposed to the gangsta days of the 21st century. With “Road Dogs,” Leonard not only returns to modern times, but to three popular characters from three of his past novels. Jack Foley of “Out of Sight” (played by George Clooney in the movie adaptation) and Cundo Rey of “LaBrava” serve time together in jail. Foley, the famous bank robber, watches Rey’s back in prison. The rich Rey returns the favor by bankrolling Foley’s early release from prison. Released first, Foley meets with Rey’s wife, Dawn Navarro from “Riding the Rap.” For Leonard fans, there is even a mention of the judge from “Maximum Bob.” This collision of characters from past Leonard novels works. “Road Dogs” has all the hallmarks of a great Elmore Leonard book. It shows why he is the master of not just the crime genre, but a master of contemporary fiction.

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