“[Leonard has] written so many first-rate crime stories that it would be fatuous to say Killshot is his best, but it probably is anyway.”
The New York Times bestselling author the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette once called, “the Alexander the Great of crime fiction,” Elmore Leonard is responsible for creating some of the sharpest dialogue, most compelling characters (including U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens of TV’s Justified fame), and, quite simply, some of the very best suspense novels written over the past century. Killshot is prime Leonard—a riveting story of a husband and wife caught in the crossfire when they foil a criminal act and are forced to defend themselves when the legal system fails them from the murderous wrath of a pair of vengeful killers. When it comes to cops and criminals stories, Killshot and Leonard are as good as it gets—further proof why “the King Daddy of crime writers” (Seattle Times) deserves his current place among John D. MacDonald, Dashiell Hammett, James M. Cain, and the other legendary greats of the noir fiction genre.
Crime fiction doesn't get any better than Leonard's new thriller, which, while it breaks no new ground, is a welcome retreat to his more direct style of classics such as 52 Pickup and Unknown Man #89 . When Carmen Colson and her ironworker husband Wayne stumble onto an extortion scheme run by Armand Degas, half Ojibway Indian, half French Canadian hit man, and his temporary partner Richie Nix, a talkative sociopath, the two killers set out to eliminate them, hiding out with Nix's girlfriend Donna, a former prison guard who collects stuffed animals and believes that Elvis is alive. In detailing the killers' relentless pursuit of the terrified couple, Leonard builds suspense with a deft, master hand, inducing an instant--and sustained--response of sweating hands and a racing heart. Even the most jaded reader will be swept along on the roller coaster of impending violence punctuated by heart-stopping crises. As always, Leonard writes with a natural ear for offbeat speech and a terrific sense of locale, moving the action from Toronto to Detroit and into Michigan and Ohio, telling the story almost totally through the thoughts and dialogue of the characters. In the Colsons, Leonard presents a more mature and realistic portrayal of a relationship than he has in the past, and he stirs up an uncomfortable fondness for the cruel but mellowing hit man Degas, all the while drawing the reader deeply into these ordinary lives. A bravura performance. Literary Guild dual main selection.