Tuesday, February 23, 2010

CBR Book#29: Road Dogs by Elmore Leonard

Leonard brings back three of his characters to play with each other in the novel Road Dogs. We have Jack Foley, bank robber and lead in Out of Sight. There's the Cuban Cundo Rey from LaBrava and the psychic Dawn Navarro of Riding the Rap. I've seen Out of Sight, but not read it, so I'm familiar with Foley. The only other Elmore Leonard book I've read is Rum Punch so I haven't 'met' Cundo and Dawn before. I think I might need to remedy that.

Cundo and Foley meet in prison in Miami. Foley is serving 30 years for his actions in Out of Sight and his dealings with Karen Sisco. Cundo is serving 7 and a half years for second-degree murder. The two convicts become road dogs, which as I understand it means they are seen as almost one in the prison. If one comes after you, both will. If you mess with one of them, you mess with both of them. That sort of thing.

Cundo decides to help out Foley by hiring a lawyer to get his kidnapping charges, for putting Sisco in a car trunk during a jail break and being driven off, dropped and his sentence reduced from 30 years to time served and no parole. Cundo also offers to put Foley up in one of his houses in Venice Beach when the bank robber is released. It is there that Foley will meet Dawn, a psychic and Cundo's lady. She's been waiting on him for eight years and has some ideas for Foley and Cundo when they are released from prison.

I didn't enjoy this novel as much as Rum Punch, but it is a good read. The characters are all either one step ahead or several steps behind each other, scheming and trying to stay ahead of the curve. The criminals keep seeing the world through eyes that search for enemies, advantages, and self-preserving actions. The characters all have a style all their own, from their language to their thought processes to their clothes. Leonard really has a flair for the back and forth dialogue and the different twists that come at you. If you haven't read a Leonard novel yet, you should.

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