Ironworker Wayne Colson and his spirited wife Carmen are witnesses to a shakedown scam - witnesses who must be eliminated. Enter Armand Degas, aka Blackbird, the brains of the operation, and his partner Richie Nix, an ex-con whose highest goal is to rob a bank in every state. A lively chase ensues when the Colsons enter the Federal Witness Security Program with two bumbling but determined killers on their trail.
With its dead-on dialogue, memorable characters, and absolute authenticity, this is one of Elmore Leonard's all-time great novels.
©1989 Elmore Leonard (P)2003, 2016 New Millennium Entertainment, Phoenix Books
"Masterful...gemlike...bone-chilling." (Los Angeles Times Book Review)
The characterisations are just superb. Very good narration too. If you like crime novels that really get into the characters, this is for you.
"Great book with one annoyance."
For some reason, the quality of the recording isn't good at all in some places and is quiet even at full volume. This doesn't ruin the book at all, but it's a tad irritating. Great book otherwise.
"An Excellent Elmore"
The story was a little weak and not especially compelling. The characters were excellent though, beautifully drawn and compelling. Leonard's prose was spare and punchy as only he can be at his best. He IS the Hemingway of crime fiction. McLarty's performance was off the charts, one of the best I have ever heard.
"You can't lose something you don't have."
Not a fantastic Leonard, but still a very good one. Leonard is the master of defining 5-7 good characters, setting them all in motion and writing great dialogue as they orbit closer and closer and eventually either crash into one another or find an unnatural equilibrium. This story is basically a cat & mouse game between two bizarre criminals (One an impulsive shit-talker = Richie Nix. One an French/Ojibway Indian hit man = Armand Degas, Aka Blackbird, Aka Bird) and a middle-aged couple that probably needs to read Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love. They aren't a bad couple. They probably just need a bit of marriage counseling. Oh, and they probably need her mother to move or die.
One of the great things about good or great Leonard novels is not even the main cast of characters but his ability to breath life into bit players. He has a gift for dialogue and a talent for capturing essentials about the human condition in funky misfit characters.
I'll leave my review there because if I write any more I'm tempted to expand into the nature of bureaucracy, the character of local cops, or feminism in crime novels and might just give too much of the plot away. And the surprised and twists are one of the real reasons to read Leonard.
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