Author: Elmore Leonard
Description: Joe La Brava, ex Secret service agent, is now a photographer who hangs out in Miami with his buddy Maurice who owns a hotel there. When Maury’s old friend, film noir actress Jean Shaw gets into trouble, Joe and Maury help her out. Still beautiful, Jean was Joe’s first crush, and he discovers that she’s gotten involved with someone who’s not especially good for her.
Plot: I’m not a typical reader of South Florida crime fiction, but this was a pretty good intro to that type of novel, I think. I think Leonard was aiming for a film noir feel, to echo Jean’s movies. There’s a complicated scheme, but who’s conning who?
Characters: Leonard has a gift for fleshing out characters, though most of them seem to be on the shady side.
Writing style: This was on one of my lists that I’m reading through or I probably wouldn’t have picked it up. It was slow to get into, but the second half read really quickly. I’m not going to rush out for another Leonard title, though.
Audience: Hard-boiled crime, South Florida style.
Wrap-up: Cleverly plotted, vivid characterization—worth a read. 3/5*