Customer Reviews


6 Reviews
5 star:
 (4)
4 star:    (0)
3 star:
 (2)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent as always by the late Mr Leonard
This really was a great read. I read several of his books on summer holiday this year. When I heard about his death on the same holiday I was greatly saddened.
Published 11 months ago by Jeremy Stewart

versus
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Another "Issue" Book That's Not Quite Up To Par
Elmore Leonard is one of the master craftsmen of modern crime writing, and every now and then, he slips in an "issue" book. Back in 1982 it was "Cat Chaser", which wove in U.S. backing of death squads in the Dominican Republic in the '60s. In 2000, it was "Pagan Babies", which wove in the in Rwandan genocide. This book, which was originally published in 1986, weaves in...
Published on 18 Jan 2005 by A. Ross


Most Helpful First | Newest First

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Another "Issue" Book That's Not Quite Up To Par, 18 Jan 2005
By 
A. Ross (Washington, DC) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Bandits (Mass Market Paperback)
Elmore Leonard is one of the master craftsmen of modern crime writing, and every now and then, he slips in an "issue" book. Back in 1982 it was "Cat Chaser", which wove in U.S. backing of death squads in the Dominican Republic in the '60s. In 2000, it was "Pagan Babies", which wove in the in Rwandan genocide. This book, which was originally published in 1986, weaves in U.S. support for the Contras in Nicaragua. I haven't read "Cat Chaser", but both "Pagan Babies" and "Bandits" seem to suffer in comparison with Leonard's more traditional crime capers. Certainly the elements are in place: a heist caper with a likeable ex-con, a tough pretty lady, supported by a duo of misfits (AARP-eligible ex-bank robber, moody tough-guy ex-con bartender) taking on a thoroughly evil and disgusting bad guy. And yet the pacing just isn't quite right, perhaps because the book seems to be more character-driven than plot-driven. It doesn't help that the book is set in New Orleans, an atmospheric city that never comes to life on the page.
The gist of the plot is that ex-model, ex-con Jack is sick of working at his brother-in-law's funeral home. When the pretty nun Sister Lucy enters his life, enlisting his aid in helping a woman escape from a Nicaraguan Contra colonel, he's willing to listen when she proposes a scam. It seems the leper hospital Lucy worked at in Nicaragua was wiped out by Contra forces under the colonel's command, and she's looking for some payback. And since the colonel is on a fundraising trip through the southern U.S., he's going to be loaded... Alas, despite lots of coming and going, things proceed rather slowly. Some of the supporting characters are much flatter than one expects from Leonard, for example the enigmatic Indian Franklin de Dios, and the CIA agent. Meanwhile, other more vivid ones are entirely extraneous to the story, such as the IRA operative who walks into and out of the book within pages.
So, while I applaud Leonard's occasional effort to bring to light some of the nasty goings on around the world, these books, while enjoyable enough, just aren't written at the same level as most of his work.
PS. There's a cute little moment where the main character busts on the 1969 film version of Leonard's book "The Big Bounce". I hate to think what he would say about the latest version...
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3.0 out of 5 stars Take a ride with this wild bunch of bandits!, 21 Jun 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Bandits (Kindle Edition)
Written during a period when Elmore Leonard was turning out some of his very best crime fiction, 'Bandits' (1987) is written with the author's customary ease and economy, full of his snappy dialogue, a cast of interesting characters, and a plot that picks up pace along the way.

The story begins with a corpse, in a place where death is everyday business. We are in a mortuary in New Orleans and two men are working on a road traffic victim. The scene is set with some rapid fire dialogue between the two men as they work on the body. Or rather while one man works on it, while the other watches evasively.

The evasive one is Jack Delaney, just turned forty, a one-time fashion model who ended up doing time in Angola penitentiary for burglary, and now working for his brother-in-law Leo Mullen who got him an early release through the rehabilitation programme by offering him a job as assistant in his funeral director's business.

It is clear from the start that Jack has not put his criminal past completely behind him. First there is the body that has appeared that day on the mortuary slab, and which Jack recognises as an acquaintance from his wild years. Then there is the revelation that he has been socialising with red-headed Helene, another character from his criminal past.

Soon Jack is on his way to the leper colony in Carville in the company of a nun, Sister Lucy, only the body they are going to collect in the hearse is not a dead one. And Sister Lucy, in her Calvin Klein jeans and heels, appears very well-attired for a woman of the cloth.

This is a slow-burner by Leonard's standards and the story takes a while to ignite. The plot has a conventional, linear structure - very different to the author's usual cross-cutting chapters that leap between characters and locations before bringing all the strands together.

Written in the late 1980s, Leonard draws on the wars of Central America of the late 20th century - the conflicts in Nicaragua, Honduras - as a background to the contemporary story, introducing themes of responsibility and morality that have been lacking in Jack's life. There is more than a touch of bitterness in the way Leonard remarks on the USA's involvement in those dirty little wars in Central America. He does not spare his American readers the uncomfortable truths of US foreign policy and how it supported the most vicious and inhuman parties in those struggles. Leonard is angry, very angry, as he writes of the atrocities the US financed in Nicaragua in the name of anti-Communism.

The bad guys are often the most interesting characters in Leonard's crime novels and he keeps us waiting to meet the villain of this story. Bertie - Colonel Dagoberto Godoy Diaz - is an officer who served the deposed Nicaraguan dictator Somoza and he has a personal interest in the girl that Jack and Lucy have taken out of Carville. He is on their case, while visiting the States to raise funds for his army of contras still fighting the Sandinista government in Nicaragua. Lucy's father, a wealthy oil tycoon, could be just the man to help him.

It is almost a third of the way into the story before we meet Colonel Diaz and we are left in no doubt about what Jack and Lucy are up against. The Colonel has the CIA and some smooth operators working on his side and Jack is going to need help from some people from his criminal past, so he calls on a couple of bandits: ex-cop Roy Hicks, whom Jack knew in Angola, and old lag Tom Cullen, recently released from a 27 year stretch into the care of a nursing home. This unlikely wild bunch have a chance of redemption, of using their criminal skills for the force of good against evil. But with their criminal backgrounds, will they stay as the good guys or succumb to the temptation of more than two million dollars?

I love this novel's New Orleans setting, the familiar street names and locales. I love the anecdotes that Leonard drops in to fill out the main characters' back-stories, each one a short story in itself. I love the way that Leonard will follow a plot thread and character for a while before leaving it and moving off in an entirely different direction. I love how this leaves the story open to so many possibilities, not just with the bandits' quest to steal the Colonel's funds but also in their relationships with each other.

The story builds to its climax, with some twists and turns along the way, raising our anticipation like watching a car bomb primed to go off. It ends as it begins, with a live body being transported in a hearse. But we have come a long way in between, and so too have his characters. 'Bandits' is not up there with Leonard's best novels, but it is a thoroughly good read. Take a trip in Jack's hearse: it is a journey worth taking.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent as always by the late Mr Leonard, 30 Sep 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Bandits (Kindle Edition)
This really was a great read. I read several of his books on summer holiday this year. When I heard about his death on the same holiday I was greatly saddened.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Leonard gives as good as he gets with yet another good read, 3 Feb 1999
By A Customer
This was my 3rd leonard book that I read and so far my faviourte, it travells along a route that is fast paced and not what is exected from the first few chapters. If you want a good read then take it from me that this is worth every penny.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Leonard's finest, 28 Aug 2001
This review is from: Bandits (Paperback)
A great read, charachters that come alive, you're four chapters in before you realise that you only meant to read the first page. Full of twist, one liners, dangerous people and moral ambiguity. If youve read Leonard before, you'll know the magic to expect here, if you havent read him yet, buy this book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A dark and compelling look into the American Truth, 18 Feb 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Bandits (Paperback)
This story may be fiction, but when reading it one enters a special world in which the words become a special kind of reality. I would highly recommend this to fans of both Leonard and his compatriate James Ellroy. Superb.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Bandits
Bandits by Elmore Leonard (Paperback - 1 April 2010)
5.59
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews