Elmore Leonard

 

Bandits

 

I really enjoyed the first half of this book. The mood was laconic, the settings felt authentic – both physical and familial, the classic characters (e.g. tough ex-cop; ingénue femme fatale, hero who can stray either side of the law and remain heroic) flawlessly evoked, and the narration chauffeured you along through the story with total assurance, no jarring bumps or distracting potholes. You really felt like Leonard knew what he was doing – or, rather, you didn’t notice him because it was all so nicely under control. The pacing moved nicely too, and the opening journey where Jack meets Lucy and first flexes his ex-con muscles was a wonderful way to introduce everyone and the basic plot. I also liked the way he played with that trope that having ‘done time’ gives you some sort of super-power: you can see more than other people, you’ve got more resources to draw on.

 

Maybe it was just me/circumstances – but midway through I lost impetus, and found was finishing the book more because I’d started it than because I was relishing the characters (let alone desperate to get to the climax). I’m not quite sure why – knowing me, I should have, for example, really appreciated the refreshingly atypical turn Jack and Lucy’s relationship took – but somehow it was purely an intellectual appreciation. I’m not sure if this is a review or a blog. I’ll have to read it again in a few years and see.

 

June 2013