Before Elmore Leonard abandoned westerns to blaze across the pantheon of bestsellerdom with his hip, stylish thrillers, punctuated with dead-pan humor and dialogue worthy of a David Mamet play, he might have written The Hot Kid
; it has some of the same crisp pacing and well-defined, if not especially complex, characters that marked his earlier novels. A show-down between Tulsa oil wildcatter and millionaire Oris Belmont and his 18-year-old son, who's attempting to shake him down, says all there is to say about both men:
"I dont know what's wrong with you. You're a nice-looking boy, wear a clean shirt every day, keep your hair combed ... where'd you get your ugly disposition? Your mama blames me for not being around, so then I give you things .. you get in trouble, I get you out. Well, now you've moved on to extortion in your life of crime ... I pay you what you want or you're telling everybody I have a girlfriend?"
Jack Belmont's blackmail scheme doesn't work, but after destroying his father's property, forging checks in his name, kidnapping his mistress, and joining a gang of notorious bank robbers after his release from prison, he encounters another man trying to get out from under his father's large shadow and create his own, bigger one. Deputy U.S. Marshal Carl Webster, who at age 15 shot a man trying to steal his cows and six years later dispenses equal justice to Emmet Long, the leader of Belmont's gang, now has Jack Belmont in his sights. Webster's exploits have earned him even more celebrity than Jack, who dreams of rivaling Pretty Boy Floyd as public enemy number one.
Were in the early 30's here, just as a dust cloud is rolling across the Oklahoma plains--the days of Bonnie and Clyde, when gangsters captured the public attention, and Leonard makes good use of place and time. His minor characters are much more interesting than his protagonists, especially the women, and the writing shows occasional flashes of his trademarked ironic humor. But it's not as cool--or as hot--as even his most dedicated readers are used to, and there's barely a trace of the bizarre plot twists and unlikely coincidences that define his most recent caper novels in this one. --Jane Adams
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Leonard's (Get Shorty
) 40th novel is a nearly flawless audio production. Initially, Howard's lackadaisical meter and reading style comes off as flat and unenthused. But as the flavor of the story steeps, his low-key, deliberate delivery sets the perfect pitch for Leonard's stripped down dialogue. His slow cowpoke pace leaves plenty of space for the nuance with which he breathes life into Leonard's characters. Everyone is tough, everyone is cool, and nearly all speak in clipped Hemingway-like sentences. However, Howard carefully assigns each character a specific voice, timber and speed, saving the most calm and cool for Carlos "Carl" Webster, the young, quick-drawing U.S. marshal hero of the tale. The only thing amiss with this package is the music that opens and closes each CD. This is a western tale of shootouts, cattle rustlers and bank robbers. The swanky, sultry jazz music with lilting sax better fits Chandler than L'Amour. Once past these spurious strains, however, the listener is in for a satisfying earful.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
--This text refers to the