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One of many nice storytellers of our time, Elmore Leonard perfected his craft writing Westerns, a style he beloved. These tales–some tailored into such excellent movies as Hombre, Valdez Is Coming, and 3:10 to Yuma–are unexcelled for his or her wiry tautness, sharp characterizations, and jolts of sudden humor. For sheer stripped-down narrative rigidity Leonard by no means did something higher, and the recent twists he finds in resolving the style’s traditional confrontations reveal a grasp at work. Whether or not describing a Civil Struggle veteran coming again to seek out his homestead stolen (Final Stand at Saber River), a person raised by Apaches handled with contempt by the white settlers who will in the end depend upon him for his or her survival (Hombre), a neighborhood constable, tricked into killing an harmless man, combating again towards the highly effective man who duped him (Valdez Is Coming), or two convicts in a desert prison–one African American and the opposite half-Apache–plotting a near-impossible escape (Forty Lashes Much less One), Leonard’s westerns are robust, suspenseful, convincing, and superbly spare in type.
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