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4.0 out of 5 stars Promising, but not quite the finished article
Although Elmore Leonard is known primarily for his crime writing, he started out as a western author. The Bounty Hunters was his first western novel, and concerns the dispatch of a former scout and a green officer on an unofficial mission into Mexico. Their main concern is bring back a renegade Apache to the San Carlos reservation.

However, the story also...
Published 23 months ago by Roy Earle

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3.0 out of 5 stars Clear promise of his later books, with strong echoes of Hemingway
I was so wowed by my first Elmore Leonard (“Swag”) in April that I decided I would read all of his books in order of publication. He wrote westerns before crime, and this, “The Bounty Hunters” (1953), was his first. Not a patch on “Swag”, but I wasn't expecting it to be – I want to see Elmore Leonard’s development...
Published 6 months ago by Bobbie


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4.0 out of 5 stars Promising, but not quite the finished article, 10 Mar. 2013
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This review is from: The Bounty Hunters (Mass Market Paperback)
Although Elmore Leonard is known primarily for his crime writing, he started out as a western author. The Bounty Hunters was his first western novel, and concerns the dispatch of a former scout and a green officer on an unofficial mission into Mexico. Their main concern is bring back a renegade Apache to the San Carlos reservation.

However, the story also involves scalp hunters, a corrupt and dissipated Mexican soldier, revenge, ghosts of the past, and also touches on a romance. That's a lot of material to pack into 300 pages, and constitutes the biggest weakness of the book. With so much plot to cover, the characterization suffers somewhat, especially if it's measured against Leonard's later work.

However, the plot is a gripping one, and Leonard's ability to describe a scene or place, combined with his talent for dialogue is already present. He would improve, and quite fast too. Maybe this isn't Leonard's best western novel, but there are lots of positives to take away from it.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Clear promise of his later books, with strong echoes of Hemingway, 20 July 2014
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This review is from: The Bounty Hunters (Mass Market Paperback)
I was so wowed by my first Elmore Leonard (“Swag”) in April that I decided I would read all of his books in order of publication. He wrote westerns before crime, and this, “The Bounty Hunters” (1953), was his first. Not a patch on “Swag”, but I wasn't expecting it to be – I want to see Elmore Leonard’s development.
Hero, Dave Flynn, is sent by a US army baddie to bring back an Apache renegade who is hiding out in Mexico. There are too many threads and the choreography of the plot gets confusing, but I enjoyed three things about it very much: 1) the visuals of a classic western brought superbly to life on the page; 2) the clear promise of the spare craftsmanship of his later books; and 3) most intriguing, many echoes of Hemingway, so much so that in places it felt derivative of “For Whom The Bell Tolls”.
I’ll be fascinated to see how quickly Leonard developed his own voice, and I’ve sent off today for the next one: “The Law at Randado” (1954).
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16 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Solid, professional pulp, 6 April 2006
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dangermash (Hartlip, Kent) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Bounty Hunters (Mass Market Paperback)
This is the third Elmore Leonard Western I've read and you can't fault the guy for his consistency.
Sometimes you finish some novel that leaves your head buzzing for days. What you need next is something more pulpy. Something that's short. Something with simple characters. Something that has a simple storyline. That's when I turn to Elmore.
The Bounty Hunters, Hombre, Valdez is Coming: they all meet that need. They don't deserve more than 3 stars, but they don't deserve less. They're a pleasure to read, but you couldn't say they're an experience that changed your life. If you want a Western like that, go for Lonesone Dove by Larry McMurtry.
But for light holiday reading, or for a break from the mind blowing books, or for when you need to read on the train but work's too stressful for you to be able to cope with anything too heavy, Elmore's your man.
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5.0 out of 5 stars simple but good, 28 Sept. 2013
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Robert Barnes (England) - See all my reviews
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For a first book Leonard shows all the promise that he eventually delivered. If you not read Elmore Leonard start with this one.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Elmore scores again., 29 Oct. 2013
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Another good read from Elmore Leonard. He really conveys the mood of the time, and keeps interest to the end.
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The Bounty Hunters
The Bounty Hunters by Elmore Leonard (Mass Market Paperback - 2 April 2002)
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