Tuesday, May 13, 2008

"Bandits" by Elmore Leonard

One hundred and forty-two days.

Published in 1986, it seemed like everyone in "Bandits" by Elmore Leonard was a bandit with the good and bad guy distinctions blurred by each person's justification for their unsavory actions. The contrived plot had the messy Nicaraguan situation as the backdrop to Leonard's traditional mystery genre with the usual suspects: a likeable ex-con, two hot dames, a few quirky sidekicks, and a bad guy who really deserves justice. Character growth, or the lack of it, overshadowed the make-it-up-as-you-go plan to relieve the bad guy of some money. Leonard rendered the potentially rich New Orleans setting to slightly more than tourist guide references. Not his strongest novel, it still had the twists and turns along with the crisp dialogue that you expect in his stories. I'd like to give it a four, but I'm forgetting it already and senility is not a problem I have...yet. So, it is a strong three from me.

2 comments:

Peter said...

I love Leonard's work but I have yet to read Bandits. It's one of those books that I just never see around the place - maybe I should check eBay.

I'm reading a guy by the name of Alan Rolnick at the moment who reads like those good Elmore Leonard novels of the past. The book is Landmark Status and I guess you'd call it a comedy mystery novel, full of greed, corruption and overdevelopment in Florida, all written in that sharply witty, snappy-dialogue fiction style.

Rick Bylina said...

I'll have to check him out. As far as "Bandits" goes, there is this place I occassionally go for books called a library. That's where I found "Bandits". They actually loan you books for free. What a deal. Much better than B&N where you get halfway through a book and someone yells, "Closing time," and you have to make a snap decision as to whether to buy it or not. The pressure can be too much.