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Bandits Audio Download – Unabridged

4.2 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio Download
  • Listening Length: 8 hours and 35 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Audible Studios
  • Audible.co.uk Release Date: 1 April 2014
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00JBIJ634

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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.
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Format: 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.
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Format: Paperback
EL (1925-2013) felt strongly about how badly illegal Hispanic farm workers were treated in the US. "Bandits", published in 1987, well within Ronald Reagan 's second presidential term, is perhaps his most political crime novel, with him taking sides in the conflict in Nicaragua between the Sandinistas, who ousted the Somoza regime in 1979 and the US-backed Contras, waging a cruel, bloody guerilla war to seize power again.
War is costly, even the Contra kind, what with fighters at $23 a month, moving in bags of rice and beans, ammo and other supplies, paying bribes everywhere? Ex-Col. Dagoberto Rogoy is a well-placed fundraiser. Armed with a personal letter from RR himself, he collects funds for the fight against communism from oil barons and other rich Republicans in Louisiana. Piece of cake, until he loses his cool about a former lover, implicating, then threatening a reluctant assistant-mortician called Jack Delaney, a convicted hotel thief. A confrontation is inevitable. Jack enlists two buddies from Angola penitentiary, an ex-cop and a rusty bank robber (65). Why? To do what?
The less said the better for fresh readers about this superb and totally satisfying crime story. It has a smooth-flowing, but quirky plot and original characters, some of whose thinking EL inserts effortlessly into the narrative. Plus great dialogue, great scenes and cinematographic writing and a completely unexpected, but very laudable ending that make him a superlative author, once again. "Bandits" is in my Top Five of Elmore Leonard's best books.
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