A friend of mine gave this to me a number of years ago and I finally got around to reading it. I’ve read one other Leonard novel, Glitz, which I thought was alright, but not great, so it did take me a while to summon the interest to try another one. I’m glad I did.
The story concerns Ernest Stickney, just out of doing seven years for armed robbery. He hooks up with a friend from prison and gets involved in a transaction that goes bad. Now an assortment of bad guys want him dead, so he hides under their noses, working for a rich Wall Street wannabe. He falls in love, settles his problems, and then things get interesting.
I don’t want to give anything away. The surprises are part of the fun of reading a sharply written crime novel like this. It reads fast and the momentum steadily builds and you want to read faster. The story starts out seeming like it’s going to be one thing, and then suddenly it’s something else. That continues throughout the book, but not in a jarring way. It’s not like a M. Night Sham movie–all the twists are organic. The characters are mostly likable and interesting. There are a couple of broad stereotypes, but for the most part the characters read fairly realistically. The setting is familiar. About 1/4 into the book I started thinking maybe I’d read it before. I mean, the plot didn’t seem overly familiar, but the characters and the settings rang a bell. But no, it was just a vague memory of Glitz. This is much better than I remember Glitz being, though.
A good summer read.