In his fortieth novel Elmore Leonard takes us back to 1930’s-era Oklahoma in “The Hot Kid.”
The kid is Carl (Carlos) Webster, who became a US Deputy Marshall at age twenty-one…his goal is be “America’s most famous lawman.”
“If I have to pull my weapon, I shoot to kill,” is his trademark calling card. And, he is quite the lady’s man as well.
The villain of the piece is millionaire’s son, Jack Belmont…as bad as they come…but not a candidate for The Mensa Society. As a teenager he tried to blackmail his father about his mistress---when that failed, he kidnapped the mistress and was surprised when she recognized him. His goal is to be Public Enemy Number 1.
True Detective Magazine writer Tony Antonelli is the chronicler of the events that aid Webster’s rise to fame. Carl Webster always makes certain to get credit when he shoots someone in the line of duty.
Like many of Mr. Leonard’s works, a stunning ensemble cast vividly emerges to propel the story along with the inevitable showdowns, gunfights and hair-raising turns. Sardonic, witty and sharp dialogue enlivens the narrative.
The so-called heroes are not that much different from the criminals…there are not a lot of noble ambitions on either side of the law. Moral ambiguity and hard-boiled cynicism rule the day.
Nonstop action, sly humor, and the cinematic portraits of the women whose desire is to be a “gun moll” of a famous criminal are other high points in this rousing tale.
Elmore Leonard, one of our most acclaimed crime writers has hit the bull’s-eye once again.