Thursday, February 4, 2016

"Cat Chaser" by Elmore Leonard

We are fans of the TV series "Justified", based on work by this author. But I never read any of his books before. "Cat Chaser", from 1983, remembers a time when the US Military ventured into the Dominican Republic for a short time in 1964. The 1980 hero revisits the scenes of action; he's looking for a girl he knew briefly, but still remembered. But he finds another girl; someone he knows from Florida and his former married, country club life; they become firmly bonded lovers, even though she is married to a former D. R. secret police chief, years escaped, now in possession of a fortune in cash. As well, the plot is populated by other interesting characters of various degrees of evil intent. The money, the motives, the characters swirl around until resolution is reached.

The fun of Elmore Leonard is the swerving plots, raw violence that comes from nowhere, the narrative voice which is not far from the action. He works in some clever one-liners; I thought it was well written and edited. Crime thrillers tend to feel dated, looking back 30-plus years: no cell phones, no internet, "dial 911" had to be explained, no area-codes on the phone numbers, characters running around looking for phone booths, etc.

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