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The Hot Kid Mass Market Paperback – August 29, 2006
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"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
Top Customer Reviews
As I said, there is no masterful all-encompassing crime plot to carry the entire novel, but the reading is engaging nonetheless. The Hot Kid is a series of vignettes in the life of oil-well boy Carl, who witnesses a crime as a child and grows up to become the most respected (and feared) marshal in the state. Carl has run-ins with bank robbers, with crime journalists, with gun molls, with speakeasy owners, and with downright ruthless cold-blooded killers. His nemesis is Jack Belmont, a wanna-be criminal rebelling against his millionaire dad, and the two cross paths repeatedly throughout the novel. Leonard develops a rich cast of characters (as usual, some are on the right side, others on the wrong side, and still others just to the edge of the law) whose lives intersect again and again during US Marshal Carl Webster's career.
The dialogue, as one would expect in a Leonard novel, is outstanding. The characters leap off the page and the reader is transported to another time and place. This is a true winner of a crime novel, and a shining entry in Elmore Leonard's long-standing career at the top of the genre.
Leonard is at his lyrical, mythmaking best here as he tells the story of a little Oklahoma boy who is robbed of his ice cream cone by a two-bit bank robber, an event that shapes his future.
Carl Webster grows to be a man and becomes a Deputy United States Marshall during the heyday of bank robbers. Dillinger, Pretty Boy Floyd, Bonny and Clyde capture the nation's attention, while J. Edgar Hoover, Melvin Purvis and - of course - Carl Webster seek their own headlines.
In a millieu of dirt-poor farmers become millionaires through the Oklahoma oil boom, whores with good hearts, a rich man's son turned bad and the muse of Tony Antonelli, crime reporter, all the stories mix and blend thanks to Leonard's gifted pen.
Each of the characters is rich and full-blooded. The scent of Oklahonma's backroads and Kansas City's opulent brothels and their denizens is strong as the trails of bandits, lawmen, rich men, demented mothers, prostitutes and demented sons cross and re-cross.
Elmore Leonard has crafted many a fine tale: but "The Hot Kid" is undoubtedly one of his best and a thoroughly satisfying read.
Carl is a somewhat vain, cocky lawman, with a keen sense of what kind of quote will get him in the papers. His main foe is the son of a wealthy oil man, a no account young man who has everything he needs, but whose selfish nature and appetite for stirring things up leads him into Carl's path. Mixed into this are kinds of period details, from prohibition to Will Rogers shows to Klansmen vigilantes to "True Detective" writers to striking miners to mentions of various real-life bank robbers Pretty Boy Floyd, John Dillinger, and Bonnie and Clyde Barrow.
Despite all this background detail, the story itself failed to engage me. There are none of the clever twists and turns that characterize Leonard's best work. There's a good guy, a bad guy, and an inextricable outcome whose resolution is surprisingly undramatic. In fact, about halfway through the book I realized that the "real story" wasn't going to kick in -- I was in it! And unlike many Leonard books, the supporting cast of characters isn't particularly memorable. Even Leonard's trademark strong dialogue is mostly missing, subsumed by his attempt to stick to period speech.Read more ›
So now Leonard favors us with THE HOT KID, a work set in the Oklahoma of the 1930s. It is Leonard's most ambitious, and arguably best, work to date, rich in dialogue, characters, and subtle contrasts. Leonard focuses primarily on Carl Webster and Jack Belmont, two men of not-dissimilar backgrounds with divergent career paths. Webster's father is a career Oklahoma pecan farmer who became wealthy quite by accident when oil was discovered on his land. Belmont's father deliberately sought oil and found it, becoming a millionaire by arduous and dangerous trial and error.
Both men seem to have their respective courses set in their teen years --- Webster's through a chance encounter with an outlaw, Belmont's through a family tragedy that he precipitates out of misfeasance at best and malfeasance at worst. They each fashion a rebellion of sorts against their fathers. Webster rejects his father's gentle entreaties to continue the family pecan farm business by becoming a U.S. Marshal. He quickly grows famous for his killing of a notorious bank robber, as well as his code of honor.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great mystery about characters and famous criminals of the past. Fun to read and well written by a great author.Published 1 month ago by Wyoming Bas Bleu
Enjoyable piece of period writing,a fun read with engaging characters. A little perspective on our times.Published 1 month ago by tom drechsler
Does not. read well. I normally like Elmore Lenord but not this onePublished 1 month ago by Lewis Rashmir
Not Leonards best, but his worst is better than most peoples best.Published 1 month ago by Halsey Blake Scott
My least favourite of his books. Odd story. Quite unlike anything he wrote in other books.Published 1 month ago by Mvyer
Elmore Leonard tells a great story here. He tells it clearly and engagingly, effortlessly presenting wonderful characters, period details, and plenty of action. Read morePublished 1 month ago by John Kotula