Clear promise of his later books, with strong echoes of Hemingway,
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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).