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Road Dogs - Review

This is my first Elmore Leonard. I am not one to read the work of our master's. Chandler, Hammett, et al. I have trouble reading books I buy this year. The idea of stepping back to read the admitted great works of even the last 25 years is mind boggling to me. So, I'll admit that what attracted me to the book was the continuing adventures of Bank Robber Jack Foley, as I believe the film adaptation to be a masterpiece.

ROAD DOGS follows Jack as he finally, legally, makes it out of prison. While riding out the last three years of sentence he strikes up a friendship with Cundo Rey. Rey is yet another character from the Leonard universe to make an appearance. Rey wants Jack to keep an eye on his wife who Rey worries may not be faithful. Jack feels obligated to Rey for helping to reduce his sentense, so Jack goes to Venice, California to keep an eye on Dawn... or is it vice versa?

Laconic is about the best word to describe the plot, prose, and characters. It is easy to see why Mr. Leonard is revered as perhaps the greatest crime fiction novelist. Everything about the book has the feel of a worn in pair of jeans. Easy, effortless. The book is like a conversation with an old friend you could spend the whole night with. The hand of the writer is always there but never intrusive, always organic. The book for right or for wrong does lack a certain amount narrative propulsion. It certainly lends the book an authenticity, but occasionally I was left wonder where this was all going.

Mr. Leonard hardly needs this review to champion his work, but if you are looking for a good Sunday afternoon read. ROAD DOGS won't steer you wrong.


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