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Forty Lashes Less One Mass Market Paperback – November 5, 2002


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTorch; Reprint edition (November 5, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380822334
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380822331
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.7 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #303,343 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Elmore Leonard wrote forty-five novels and nearly as many western and crime short stories across his highly successful career that spanned more than six decades. Some of his bestsellers include Road Dogs, Up in Honey’s Room, The Hot Kid, Mr. Paradise, Tishomingo Blues, and the critically acclaimed collection of short stories Fire in the Hole. Many of his books have been made into movies, including Get Shorty, Out of Sight, and Rum Punch, which became Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie BrownJustified, the hit series from FX, is based on Leonard’s character Raylan Givens, who appears in Riding the Rap, Pronto, Raylan and the short story “Fire in the Hole”. He was a recipient of the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, the Lifetime Achievement Award from PEN USA, and the Grand Master Award of the Mystery Writers of America. He was known to many as the ‘Dickens of Detroit’ and was a long-time resident of the Detroit area.


More About the Author

Elmore Leonard wrote forty-five novels and nearly as many western and crime short stories across his highly successful career that spanned more than six decades. Some of his bestsellers include Road Dogs, Up in Honey's Room, The Hot Kid, Mr. Paradise, Tishomingo Blues, and the critically acclaimed collection of short stories Fire in the Hole. Many of his books have been made into movies, including Get Shorty, Out of Sight, and Rum Punch, which became Quentin Tarantino's Jackie Brown. Justified, the hit series from FX, is based on Leonard's character Raylan Givens, who appears in Riding the Rap, Pronto, Raylan and the short story "Fire in the Hole". He was a recipient of the National Book Foundation's Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, the Lifetime Achievement Award from PEN USA, and the Grand Master Award of the Mystery Writers of America. He was known to many as the 'Dickens of Detroit' and was a long-time resident of the Detroit area.

Customer Reviews

Fast reading and a good story.
John C Collins
As always, Elmore Leonard does a first rate job of putting pen to paper and writing a great story.
Peggy Surgeon
His sense of timing and character development are excellent.
William J. Tennison

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Writetrak on November 9, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Forty Lashes Less One is the kind of book that hooks you from the start. It's the semi-old west (1909) but with more grit and true tone than you can find in most other gun totin' tales.
But then what can you expect from Elmore Leonard who gave us Valdez is Coming, 3:10 to Yuma, Hombre, The Tonto Woman and so many other good westerns?
For any of those high brow readers out there who think that westerns are beneath them then it might be worthwhile if they stuck their noses in a Leonard western if only to find out what good writing should and can be.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Al Jablonski on August 12, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Though written over 20 years ago, this Leonard novel crackles with crisp ,lively characters that made the old west, young, raw and exciting.
It is an easy and entertaining read...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mike H on August 18, 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Who else but Elmore Leonard could conceptualize and write a story like this? It was impossible to put down. Seemingly mundane characters should hook you as you follow their strange motivations. As always, Leonard's dialogue and description are fantastic (I cracked up when one of his characters casually observed a convict as having a beard that looked like the ass fur of a sick dog). Set in 1909 in Yuma Territorial Prison, Leonard throws in his literary belnder a black con, a half-breed Indian-Mexican, an important yardbird villain and his gang, a superintendent/evangelist, a whore, and some trippy guards and creates something typically and palpably offbeat. I thought the conclusion was a bit unrealistic and hokey, yet somehow satisfying. Leonard redefined the Western genre. It's an incredibly fast read -- and well worth your time to see for yourself. Want to burn a day or so and get lost in a book? This fits the bill. Enjoy it. It would be hard not to.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kathy Steinemann on February 4, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
In “Forty Lashes Less One” (1972) Elmore Leonard weaves a tale about racial prejudice and human nature: Bible thumper meets convicts. Just when you think you know how it will end, Leonard surprises you. I enjoyed the novel, and I’d recommend it to any reader who enjoys Westerns or stories about prison life.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bordeaux Dogue on December 22, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As all Leonard's novels, but somewhat clichee'd.

Too obvious, too straightforward, in terms of scope and characters.

An enjoyable, easy read, but absolutely nothing to write home about.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By William J. Tennison on September 30, 2003
Format: Audio Cassette Verified Purchase
I have gotten hooked on Leonard's earlier works. His sense of timing and character development are excellent.
He is a great story teller. His subject matter is always plausible. He takes average everyday people and makes them interesting characters.
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By Clare Quilty on May 7, 2008
Format: Kindle Edition
In the weeks before the prison at Yuma shuts down, two convicts abruptly knock heads -- Raymond, a frustrated Apache, and a laid-back former buffalo soldier named Harold Jackson.

They're the only non-whites in the pen and, after a dust up in the mess hall, they simply just do not like each other. Their animosity, however, has actually been engineered by jailed outlaw Frank Shelby, who runs a thriving black market racket behind bars with the air of royalty.

Will Raymond and Harold -- two strong-backed, decent-hearted outsiders surrounded by enemies -- ever unite and direct their hate toward the bad guys who really deserve it? That, of course, seems utterly impossible ....

This is the first of Leonard's many Westerns I've read. I'm used to his stories playing out in contemporary Miami or Detroit, and singing with back-and-forth dialogue. "Forty Lashes," obviously, resides in a different time and place - the Arizona desert at the dawn of the 20th Century. Fans of Leonard's contemporary crime fiction, however, will be pleased to find that even in his early days he knew how to structure a bent caper, how to give his characters conversations that feel overheard and how to add his unique spin to the proceedings.

I won't spoil one big twist, except to say that it involves two particularly unsatisfying changes of wardrobes, for lack of a better phrase. These feel awkwardly depicted, dated and ill-conceived, but that's more of a speed bump than a roadblock. No matter what you think of the costumes and the spear-throwing, its hard to deny the fast paperback pleasures of this short, tough, speedy little horse opera.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Probably few fans of Elmore Leonard's bestselling modern urban romps have ever read his formative western novels. Or wanted to. But if stage coaches, cattle rustling, and blazing campfires under the stars lack literary appeal, don't let that put you off of "Forty Lashes", because there's little of the typical western here.

Set largely in an Arizona prison in 1909 shortly before it ceases operation, the plot centers around a pair of minority inmates, one black, one American Indian. A pack of bigoted white prisoners are around to enliven things, along with two attractive women inmates and an interim warden with progressive ideas for rehabilitating the alienated men. And it wouldn't be a proper prison story without a jailbreak, would it? Here there are two, neither of them jailbreaks strictly speaking.

The prison staff questions the warden's well-intended ideas, of course. So do most readers, I'd guess, because the innovations in "Forty Lashes" don't come off as being totally plausible. You can almost see the author himself laboring over these weak story points, aiming to make every action seem natural if not inevitible. But Leonard makes the most of what he's constructed. Even when his plot isn't airtight he's well worth reading just to admire his characters and storytelling mechanics,
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