Road Dogs is a Dog

I love Elmore Leonard's books. I did not love ROAD DOGS. It's a vastly inferior sequel to OUT OF SIGHT, LA BRAVA and RIDING THE RAP (it features characters from all three books). Nothing happens in this book. It's as if Elmore Leonard kept writing, waiting for a plot to occur to him, and when one didn't, he simply had a character pull out a gun, shoot some people, and he gave up. Leonard should have kept this manuscript in his drawer and waited until he actually had a story to tell. The central character in this book is Jack Foley, the bank robber from the great novel OUT OF SIGHT, which was made into the great movie starring George Clooney. Elmore Leonard must have really liked the movie, too, because he's turned Foley into a caricature of Clooney. Leonard has done a good job capturing Clooney on the page, I only wish he had a plot to go along with it. There's some nice dialogue and a few funny one-liners, but it's not enough.  This is may be the weakest, and most disappointing, book Leonard has written in his entire career. But hey, one stinker out of 42 books (many of them classics) isn't so bad.

3 thoughts on “Road Dogs is a Dog”

  1. I felt the same thing. As if the author wrote this a la Robert B. Parker – write down whatever comes to mind and send it in to be published. This makes, in my personal count TWO horrible books…in a row. UP in Honey’s Room and this one go nowhere. I am afraid the master has lost his touch.

  2. I’ve been reading Elmore Leonard for 25 years and consider him the best and most original American crime writer of his generation. He did not descend from the Hammett-Chandler-Macdonald trinity but created his own unique style, beginning with his westerns and carrying through to the present. But he clearly reached his peak in the 80s, with novels like LaBrava, Stick, Split Images and Glitz. Many subsequent books were still worthwhile but recent efforts like Be Cool, Mr. Paradiso and Road Dogs have fallen short of his own high standards. But he is 84 now, so let’s forgive and forget these weaker books and remember him for the great ones, of which there are so many.


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