Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Hot Kid

by Elmore Leonard
387 pgs

When Carl Webster was 15 years old he bought an ice cream cone at the local drug store in Oklahoma and ended up coming face to face with a notorious outlaw who came in to rob the store and who also decided to steal Carl's ice cream cone while doing it. A few years later Carl becomes a U.S. Marshall and quickly gains some notoriety for taking down some well known criminals and doing so with some flair.

Jack Belmont is the son of a wealthy pecan farmer who made millions of dollars from oil that was discovered on his property. Jack refuses his father's efforts to get him to work for him and eventually take over the family farm and instead turns to a life of crime, becoming a famous bank robber in Oklahoma and Kansas.

The two men's paths are destined to cross.

Leonard sets his story in the heartland of America during the 1920's and '30s and in true Leonard style uses his characters' dialogue almost exclusively to tell it. There's not a very intricate plot in this one--you know where the story is headed almost as soon as the two main characters are introduced, but the true enjoyment for me in reading one of Leonard's books is almost always in the way he lets his characters tell the story for him.

★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

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