by Elmore Leonard
William Morrow & Co.
Elmore Leonard’s 37th novel is another example of why he’s one of the more distinctive and well-regarded novelists working today. Snappy dialogue, intriguing (from a distance, that is) characters, and an engrossing storyline are hallmarks of his style — for further examples try Out Of Sight, Pagan Babies, or Get Shorty. Leonard doesn’t waste a lot of words in description — his books are mainly dialogue (which explains their transition to Hollywood) — but they tell their always odd stories well. How odd? Well, his latest novel involves a casino high-diver, Civil War reenactments, and the Dixie Mafia in a tale of blues music, drug running, and the perils of not wearing the correct undergarments when dressed as a foot soldier in the War Between the States. While it is rare to meet a character in a Leonard novel who is entirely reputable, the book’s deft portrayals of persons most of us will never meet make for enjoyable reading if not giggling fits. While comparisons to Carl Hiaasen or Ed McBain aren’t out of place when describing Leonard’s work, he truly creates a world of his own — immediately believable but surreal at the same time. Don’t wait for the movie.