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Forty Lashes Less One Mass Market Paperback – November 5, 2002
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About the Author
Elmore Leonard wrote more than forty books during his long career, including the bestsellers Raylan, Tishomingo Blues, Be Cool, Get Shorty, and Rum Punch, as well as the acclaimed collection When the Women Come Out to Dance, which was a New York Times Notable Book. Many of his books have been made into movies, including Get Shorty and Out of Sight. The short story "Fire in the Hole," and three books, including Raylan, were the basis for the FX hit show Justified. Leonard received the Lifetime Achievement Award from PEN USA and the Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America. He died in 2013.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
It is an easy and entertaining read...
He is a great story teller. His subject matter is always plausible. He takes average everyday people and makes them interesting characters.
All in all I enjoyed the prose, as they say, of the writer. The reading was easy to follow even though the bantam pocketbook copy had small print. I felt some tinges of anger and disgust from reading the racist words and actions of some of the characters, but that's the price you pay for well written hatred in fiction.
I like how the writer links the two tribal cultures of African and American Indian. After struggling to overcome the hatred the dispirited white prisoners helped create between them, the african-american and native-american prisoners enjoy a silent recognition and respect for each other's warrior ancestry.
The book made me wonder just what type of man the writer, Elmore Leonard was during the writing of this book? Seems he may have been having a revolution of thoughts about native cultures and equality in western society. When this book was written in 1972, there were the lingering effects of civil and racial unrest from the 1960's and the unpopular vietnam war was winding down to a stalemate. Could Mr. Leonard have been trying to teach us that freedom is a natural right of all men and that justice defined and meted out by an imperfect society can never fully be just?.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very lightweight for adults. Lots of teenage Hollywood macho stuff. I read appx. 1/3 and had to give it up due to a stale plot.Published 6 months ago by Harry Rouse
This story is about prisoners assigned to the old Territorial Prison, Yuma, AZ. The conflicts arise as two new convicts arrive at the facility one Black Civil War vet, and the... Read morePublished 9 months ago by J. Long
Nice light reading. Not quite a western and not quite a prison novel, but it blends the two genres nicely.Published 10 months ago by John A Bukowski
Forty Lashes Less One was a return to Leonard's western genre. Set in a desert prison, the story centers around the conflict-turned friendship between an African American and a... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Author Don Massenzio
I really enjoyed reading this book. It was easy to follow and enjoyable. The references to Yuma Territorial Prison (in which most of this book takes place) were also neat!Published 13 months ago by Ckay
great characters and conflict a very typical Elmore Leonard story..Published 13 months ago by Terry A.