City Primeval by Elmore Leonard
Dan's rating: 4 of 5 stars
Publisher: William Morrow
Career criminal Clement Mansell killed a crooked judge and the only witness to the crime, the judge's girlfriend. Now, detective Raymond Cruz is trying to pin the crime on Clement but Clement is the slipperiest of worms. Cruz and Clement are heading for a showdown that only one of them will walk away from...
As of this writing, I've read 15 Elmore Leonard novels. Many of them have the same sort of rhythm. The bad guys are slick, the good guys are slicker, and you wind up liking most of them to some degree. This one doesn't quite fit in that mold.
The characters drive the story in City Primeval. Roger Cruz, the divorced detective trying to make his squad take him seriously, and Clement Mansell, the career criminal who might just be too slick for his own good, contrast one another nicely. The interaction between the pair make this cop story feel more like a modern western than anything else. Unlike a lot of Leonard antagonists, I couldn't wait for Mansell's has to get settled. He was a reprehensible worm and I had the literary equivalent of a screaming orgasm when he finally met his fate.
The supporting cast was a little light on personality but the two lead female supporting cast members contrasted one another almost as well as Cruz and Clement. Sandy was a pothead who lived in fear of Clement while Carolyn was a tough lady lawyer who was reluctant to let herself need anyone.
The writing was still Leonard's standard style but with a coldness where much of the humor would normally be. Of all the Elmore Leonard's I've read, this one would be the only one that I could see being at home in the Hard Case Crime series.
No complaints on this one. It was quick and breezy and a slight departure from Leonard's normal fare. Four easy stars.