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on November 9, 2015
Elmore Leonard is my favorite crime writer. In this book, however, I have a bit of a problem with a master bank robber as being the "hero" of the narrative. It starts off ok, but after a while we begin to see that everyone involved in the narrative is less than savory. However, Leonard has said that he has trouble with coming up with a good ending for his stories. If nothing else the ending of this book is better than most of his others.
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on February 28, 2014
Leonard Elmore had a knack for storytelling with a catchy turn of phrase and Road Dogs is yet another example. I "read" the audio CD on my iPod and it was a most enjoyable read. My experience suggests that the reader of a audio book can make or break the experience, and Peter Francis James is one of the very best ... on par with Dick Hill and Len Cariou, two of the all-time best readers. In Road Dogs Peter Francis James is able to convey characters with subtle changes in inflection, modulation and timbre and this makes the story come "alive." In terms of plot, story arc, etc. Road Dogs is logical, flows well, is interesting in content and form and is satisfying in it's conclusion. There are a couple of interesting plot twists that add to rather than detract from the story arc, and Leonard Elmore always makes a reader feel the payoff is worth the journey. I admit that I'm an Elmore Leonard fan and found Road Dogs as well written as Hombre, Riding the Rap, etc. I enjoyed both the "read" and the audiobook experience, and if you like a well-told story with interesting characters then you may like Road Dogs as well.
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on April 5, 2015
This is a pretty good, quick read. Smart, authentic dialog. More talk than action, but in a good way.

This is the first Elmore Leonard book that I have read. I gather that it is somewhat of a sequel to Out of Sight. There are several references to earlier events, but it is explained well and I did not feel lost for not having read it.

Reminded me a little of Jim Thompson. No real good guys. Interesting bad guys. Less pulpy. More humorous.
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VINE VOICEon April 30, 2009
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
[A Vine Review - Thanks Amazon!]

Take two ex-cons, add one psychic who's not on the level on this or any other plane of existence, throw in a bitter FBI guy, a sleepless starlet, a few million dollars and stir.

What you get is Elmore Leonard's latest potboiler, "Road Dogs", just published and proving the old fellow still has the stuff to keep you turning pages, particularly that sexy, whip-smart dialogue that only rarely makes the transition to the film adaptations.

"Tell me what it is about a girl's navel," a man asks a woman in the middle of a seduction. "It catches the eye and won't let go."

"I suppose because it's right in the middle of the playground," she answers.

You can argue that people don't talk this way in life, and it just doesn't matter. Leonard's been at the game of mystery writing so long, it's not about suspense anymore, or who gets who. Like Peter Keen notes in his review, it's about watching an ace jazzman taking chances playing the odd off-note, enjoying the interplay of clashing elements, and working against expectations, perhaps including his own. "Road Dogs" is no tightly plotted thriller, but a off-center comedy-drama where characters trump story.

Leonard brings back three characters from his previous novels, including Jack Foley from "Out Of Sight", clearly written with a return appearance by George Clooney in mind. In prison, Jack becomes friends with Cundo Rey, the killer go-go dancer from "LaBrava", who helps spring Jack and then sets him up in Venice, California with a credit card and talk of restarting the old life. The third part of this triangle is Dawn Navarro, the psychic from "Riding The Rap", now Cundo's restless girlfriend, who meets Jack and thinks score.

Dawn especially feels misplaced in this story. She's far less grounded a character than she was in "Riding The Rap", perhaps in part because its eight years later and she feels time slipping away. A few plot twists betray Leonard's weakness of writing for effect, like the dénouement of a wacky séance subplot.

But I wouldn't hesitate recommending this to a first-time Leonard reader. He creates some vivid personalities this time around, especially in the ways they interact with and plot against one another. There's a dark undertone to the story, but it works in more or less a comic way, like the best Leonard books often do. Even though nothing much in the way of story is happening most of the time, you have no problem staying motivated reading because the company is so worthwhile. And I chuckled a good deal reading this.

Like when Jack, the consummate bank robber, contemplates making a straight deposit after a friend gives him a big check. "What I think I'll do is deposit half of it and take the rest in cash. I don't walk out of a bank with at least five grand, I feel like a failure."

Or when some Hollywood figure talks about the impossibility of making a film adaptation of "When The Women Come Out To Dance", which happens to be one of Leonard's stories.

No problem adapting "Road Dogs". I feel like I'll wind up spending more time watching the movie than I did reading this book.
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on December 6, 2009
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The problem with having never read Out of Sight: A Novel is that I only have the movie to reference when the book talks about Jack Foley. So his image is married to George Clooney's in my head and the problem with having George Clooney as the hero of any book or movie is that you want him to win. Like that episode of American Dad!, Vol. 2, it's really impossible to hate George Clooney. So I'm already reading the book pre-disposed to root for Jack Foley. The other two characters are also from Elmore Leonard books that I've never read but they never had movies made from them. So I only knew them from this book. I know this makes me superficial but the fact that I know one character (from the movie adaptation) and don't know the other two makes this book a bit weighted for me.

Overall, one should not give away too much in an Elmore Leonard book. He has enough genuine twists and turns and most of them are actually surprising (as opposed to most mysteries and thrillers where the ending seems phoned in well in advance). But basically, Jack Foley is in jail where he befriends Cundo Rey. Cundo Rey is waiting to get out so he can get back together with Dawn Navarro. These are characters from two other books and I imagine if I read those books I'd be very excited to see them together but for the most part, they are Elmore Leonard characters - manipulative and charming. Once everyone is out of jail, the games really begin in earnest.

This book breezes along at an even pace. The ending isn't terribly earth shattering but it's enjoyable. There's not much to recommend in the "you gotta read this now" case, but how many books are like that? But it is definitely a fun read and Elmore Leonard never disappoints. Just in the case of this book, it doesn't feel like he's bringing his A game. It's a great book to read, enjoy and forget about. And sometimes that's exactly the kind of book you are looking for (especially if you are reading classics or something like Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand which is a brain twister and need a break.)
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on September 15, 2014
My first Elmore Leonard book. Assuming this book was typical, I would read Elmore Lenard again, but I would not put his books at the top of my to-read list.

I found the dialog excellent. He used dialog to create very strong and vivid characters, however the book felt genre' typical if there is such a word. A good way to pass some hours but nothing I expect to remember a month from now. Certainly not a life changing experience.
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on August 14, 2009
I mean, this WAS a screen treatment, right? I'm having a hard time reconciling the fact this book is by the same terrific scribe who gave us "Tishomingo Blues" and "Mr. Paradise", even the selfsame writer of "Out Of Sight"!I only spent a couple of afternoons on the book and was pretty much hooked with the very familiar local setting but I could have been reading and enjoying something else; there's an awful lot to be said for knee-jerk reflexes. There I was, a jerk, with the book resting on my knee and reflecting on how disappointed I was with "Road Dogs".
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on August 3, 2012
Elmore Leonard really hit his stride with this one. You don't need to like Elmore Leonard, and you don't need to like the genre. If you enjoy good writing, clever and realistic dialog, interesting and well-developed characters and a tight plot, you'll like this book.

If you want to follow the references, you can read Out of Sight (for the backstory on Jack Foley) and La Brava; you can even read Maximum Bob, but it's not necessary, even though Leonard pulls in a number of references to characters in them. (He even works in a crack about Hollywood's failure to comprehend When the Women Come Out to Dance.)

For a similar concept wrapped in a very different plot, you might want to read The Big Bounce: another tale featuring a smart, sociopathic girl vs. a smart and socially marginal, but not sociopathic, guy.
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on May 19, 2010
I am a huge Elmore Leonard fan and gladly acknowledge him as one of the Titans of Mystery/Thriller genre.
But I found this book a real letdown. It started off great with classic dialogue and movement. As soon as Jack Foley gets to LA, though, the plot really bogs down. I found Dawn's character a real drain on the story (even though she plays a huge role). The beginning of this book led me to expect a classic crime drama with Cundo and Jack hooking up and going on an adventure.
It goes in a whole different direction, however, once Dawn is introduced. It did not work for me.
Still there are some incredible tangents of dialogue and prose, as you would expect with Elmore.
Overall, i think those of you spoiled by his greatest works will be frustrated by this one.
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on July 20, 2014
A kind of throw-back novel in which Leonard brings several earlier characters, each with their own agenda, into one-another's lives and watches them interact. Plans are hatched, betrayals abound and while everyone of the major players is "bad," Jack Foley is again a protagonist the reader can root for. A good, easy read with the author's trademark sparkling dialogue.
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