Hot KidWe were all surprised by how prolific Elmore Leonard was.  Lots and lots of stories, first short stories, then pulp Westerns before moving on to mystery, crime, and then screenplays.  An amazing number of his stories were made into movies, movies we’ve all seen and liked.

We found the book to be a fascinating look at a period of time and part of the country we didn’t really know too much about.  Had no idea that Bonnie and Clyde, Dillinger, and Pretty Boy Floyd were all running around shooting things up at the same time.  Joan thought they were at different times and different parts of the country.

And it was also interesting to see what part the press played in all that.  The story didn’t play out in private.  It was in the papers and the quest for fame plays a big part in the story.  The way the individual bank robbers thought was interesting and influenced by the press – “This guy robbed this many banks, so I’m going to rob more.”  “That guy got that much money out of the bank, so I’m going to get more out of the same bank.”  “I’m related in a half-assed way to a bad guy, look at me, look at me.”  “I shot that guy, so now I’m famous and will get more famous.”

Tony Antonelli was declared to be a rank opportunist and almost as bad as Jack.  And one of our group put forward the idea that Tony was Elmore Leonard himself, which gave us all a little something to think about.

Joan found Tony’s belief that he couldn’t/shouldn’t interfere with the natural order of things in the gangster world an interesting twist.  Not wanting to tell the people at the roadhouse that the bad guys were coming so as to not change the natural course of events just struck the group as odd.  Looking at both sides of the event as if they were animals in the zoo, being an observer and then reporting it.

Favorite characters – Carl, Louly, and Virgil.  Dude knew how to live life.

Least favorite characters – Luigi/Lou, Jack.  There’s probably a psychological name for why he was the way he was.  Beyond ass.

As for all the whores, good gravy…

4 stars