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on 27 March 2017
Leonard has a unique ability to carry the reader straight into the lives of the main characters. His style of writing and stark prose has the ability to give the reader immediate insight into the lives and context of the characters, and subsequently you feel like you knew them before you start reading the novel.
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on 19 July 2010
I have more or less read every Elmore Leonard novel. Generally speaking his work is breezy and brisk and I enjoy him in the gaps between heavier novels.

This is Leonard's first novel. He wrote numerous short stories in the Western Genre for a magazine in the 50's, then moved to the novel format.

What is striking about this novel is how self-assured, and how consistent it is with Leonard's body of work over the course of his life. It has the same tone and feel, the same interest in behavior and decision making. The same exploration of motive and will. All the while his characters all seem comfortable with themselves, and confident in their own skin.

If you've enjoyed his crime novels primarily for his writing, you'll enjoy this. Its a change of setting and context but the fundamentals of a good Leonard novel are here.

You may also notice Hombre and Valdez is Coming in the recommended list above. Both are excellent. However Valdez is for me the best of the three. Never the less you can probably bundle all three together on Amazon for a good price. I say do it- you'll enjoy them.
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on 5 May 2013
This early western novel by Elmore Leonard has a few good writing moments but the author's great dialogues and interesting characters aren't yet present. This is mostly a narrative account of a face off in 1860s Arizona Territory between a returned Confederate Army veteran (the protagonist) and local desperadoes, mostly supporting the Union side. The story is alright, but the dialogues are often contrived and windy, with the characters a little cliched.

Leonard has written dozens of much better books since this was published in 1959. Unless you're determined to read everything that he's written, you could safely skip this one.
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on 21 January 2017
Confederate Soldier Paul Cable leaves the Civil War and returns home with his wife and family to Saber River. However since he’s been away the Kidston brothers Vern and Duane, along with their henchmen, have taken over his home and land. Can Cable trust the one-armed storekeeper and war veteran Janroe, who may not be what he seems, to help him get his home back? The path is set for what on the surface appears to be a formulaic Western showdown but as the author of Last Stand at Saber River is Elmore Leonard the narrative has many twists and turns. Tension slowly builds through a series of confrontations leading to an exhilarating climax. Once again Leonard creates strong complex characters even within the confines of the Western genre. To summarise this is another outstanding western novel from the late master crime author Elmore Leonard that surely deserves more recognition.
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on 14 June 2016
The next Elmore Leonard finally rose to the top of the pile. A Confederate army veteran returns home to Arizona with his young family to find the Union army have commandeered his land. Just a Western, but I always enjoy Leonard’s clear, terse style. The plotting of this novel (his 4th, 1959) is more satisfying than the first three, the villain has psychological depth, and the women characters have substance and drive the story as much as the men. Authorial habits that slightly jar: his habit of moving the POV about quite a bit, sometimes mid-scene, and the way he has his characters addressing themselves in the second person in their interior monologues.
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on 18 December 2013
Have recently fallen in love with the writing of Elmore Leonard. This is a beautifully constructed story that has great characters, including a strong female lead, gives an insight into what was a difficult period in American history and makes a strong case for values such as family loyalty, love and integrity. Really enjoyed this, I recommend even if you are not a fan of Westerns this is just great writing that keeps you hooked all the way through.
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on 28 June 2011
It may not be the best but it certainly is very good. Typical Leonard - sparse in adjectives and adverbs, the hero instantly recognises the morality and worth of his opponents. There is a common bond between those (both good and bad) who can fight, suffer and kill which is not shared by the weaklings who don't understand what's going on at all.
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on 11 September 2014
Very gripping story, didn't want it to end.
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on 23 June 2015
vintage Leonard
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on 8 May 2015
a good book
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