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FICTION/Leonard, Elmore
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New York : William Morrow 2005.
1st ed
Physical Description
312 p.
Main Author
Elmore Leonard, 1925-2013 (-)
Review by Booklist Reviews

The Hot Kid is part-Cuban, part-Indian Carlos Webster, who inadvertently gets his start in law enforcement at age 15 when he shoots a cattle thief. The investigating U.S. marshal thinks Carlos has potential and tells the kid to give him a call in five or six years. Carlos does and becomes Carl, though the next guy he shoots is a bank robber who once called him a "greaser." Carl Webster thrills the public with his soon-to-be signature line, "If I have to pull my weapon I'll shoot to kill." He's so cool he doesn't even know he's saying it--or does he? This Dust Bowl-era Okie ambler captures the era of Pretty Boy Floyd, Bonnie and Clyde, and John Dillinger with a slow-simmering feud between Webster and Jack Belmont, a pea-brained oil scion who wants to be a most-wanted outlaw. Trailing them both is Tony Antonelli, a journalist with a knack for turning gunfights into heroic battles. As always, Leonard's prose seems effortless, his dialogue is perfect, and his humor is as dry as a moonshine martini. If there's anything that keeps The Hot Kid from catching fire, it might be that the Hot Kid is a little too hot. Sure, this is all about mythmaking, but if Webster's socks smelled more of clay, he'd be on more equal footing with the bad guys, making the conclusion a bit less foregone. Still, a terrific pleasure. ((Reviewed March 15, 2005)) Copyright 2005 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Leonard's encyclopedic knowledge of crime history and wry humor make his novels reading experiences to savor. His latest is no exception, pitting two bright, gutsy young men against each other in a deadly cat-and-mouse game. In the fall of 1921, 15-year-old Carlos Webster witnesses Emmett Long rob Deering's drugstore in Okmulgee, OK, and shoot Junior Harjo, just for being there. Ten years later, Carlos is a rising star among the U.S. marshals, with eight notches on his gun, including one for Emmett Long. Jack Belmont, the ne'er-do-well son of an oil baron, has one ambition-to become Public Enemy Number One-and lives life accordingly. Many of his schemes are hare-brained and misfire; some, like the massacre of seven Ku Klux Klansmen, have redeeming value; others, like the murder of his sidekick, Norm, can't be proved. When Jack challenges Carlos, and the two draw beads on each other, it is only a matter of time before one lies dead in the dirt. Leonard's 40th novel is a winner in the tradition of Get Shorty and Be Cool. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 1/05.]-Thomas L. Kilpatrick, Southern Illinois Univ. Lib., Carbondale Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

True Detective writer Tony Antonelli can't wait to tell the story of Carl Webster, a rising young deputy marshal in 1930s Oklahoma. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Leonard's 40th novel, set in the world of 1930s gangsters and gun molls, features characterizations so deft and true you can smell the hair oil on the dudes and the perfume on the dames. Young Carlos Webster tangles with his first gangster at 15, when bank robber Emmet Long robs an Okmulgee, Okla., store, kills an Indian policeman and takes away Carlos's ice cream cone. Seven years later, Carlos, now Carl, a newly minted deputy U.S. marshal, gets his revenge by gunning Long down, an act that wins him the respect of his employers and the adulation of the American public, who follow his every quick-draw exploit in the papers and True Detective magazine. Cinematically, Leonard introduces his characters-Carl's colorful pecan-farmer father, Virgil; Jack Belmont, ne'er-do-well son of a rich oilman; True Detective writer Tony Antonelli; Louly Brown, whose cousin marries Pretty Boy Floyd-in small, self-contained scenes. As the novel moves forward, these characters and others begin to interact, forming liaisons both romantic and criminal. At the stirring conclusion, scores are settled and the good and the bad get sorted out in satisfactorily violent fashion. The writing is pitch-perfect throughout: "It was his son's quiet tone that made Virgil realize, My Lord, but this boy's got a hard bark on him." The setting and tone fall somewhere between Leonard's early westerns and his more recent crime novels, but it's all pure Leonard, and that means it's pure terrific. Agent, Andrew Wiley. (May) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Having made his name by killing notorious bank robber Emmet Long, twenty-one-year-old Carl Webster, the most famous Deputy U.S. Marshal in the country, embarks on a dangerous search for Jack Belmont, the blacksheep son of an oil millionaire, who dreams of becoming Public Enemy Number One, in a thriller set against the backdrop of 1930s Oklahoma. 200,000 first printing.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

The undisputed master of the crime novel strikes again with this powerfully entertaining story, set in 1920s Oklahoma, that introduces one of the toughest lawmen ever to come out of the west. . . . 

Carlos Webster was 15 the day he witnessed his first murder—but it wouldn’t be his last. It was also his first introduction to the notorious gunman, Emmet Long. By the time Carlos is 20, he’s being sworn in as a deputy United States marshal and now goes by the name Carl. As for Emmet, he’s robbing banks with his new partner, the no-good son of an oil millionaire.

Carl Webster and Emmet Long may be on opposite sides of the law but their long-time game of cat and mouse will turn them both into two of the most famous names in crime and punishment.