as a mystery and a crime story, it is not really that at all, but
a slice of life story about a guy that is fun to know, but basically
a bum. He's a thief, that you hope does not get caught. There is
no suspense about who perpetrated any of the crimes in the book,
but the fun is in the interaction between the characters.
Jack Ryan played some
Class C Baseball, but he couldn't hit a curveball, and then he developed
a bad back, so he turned to theft, and then to picking cucumbers
with a little theft on the side. He does have a prison record for
burglary with his partner, Leon Woody. He has lost track of Leon,
but just met Nancy, a rich man's plaything.
Nancy has interesting
ideas of what pursuits are fun and when Jack and Nancy pair up to
hit a really big score, things begin to heat up. Violence and double-cross
are just part of living on the fringe like Jack Ryan does, and there
are more twists and turns in the plot than you can keep up with.
The unexpected ending is great.
I always watch for new books
by Elmore Leonard. He may be the best of the best in great characterization
and dialogue. You find yourself liking these characters that you
wouldn't want anything to do with in real life. I like to speculate
who would be good in a movie version of the books I read, but Owen
Wilson and Morgan Freeman will be in the movie version of The
Big Bounce, to be released in February 2004. Perfect...I can't