In my opinion, Elmore Leonard's claim to greatness as a crime writer stems from five novels that he published from 1974 to 1980 (52 Pick-Up, Swag, Unknown Man #89, The Switch, and City Primeval). One of the strongest aspects of these novels is that each is set in Leonard's hometown - Detroit. In each book, Leonard brings gritty, industrial Detroit alive for the reader and uses the setting to create great crime fiction.
City Primeval: High Noon in Detroit (1980) is the last of Leonard's "great" novels. As the title suggests, Leonard has written a novel with the elements of a western, but sets the novel in Detroit. (Leonard has published many western novels). While this may seem like an odd idea, Leonard carries it off with style.
The novel centers on a confrontation between a Detroit cop - Raymond Cruz - and a killer - Clement Mansell - known in the underworld as "The Oklahoma Wildman." Leonard also supplies the reader with a number of colorful supporting characters. One is Mansell's thrill-seeking girlfriend, Sandy Stanton. Another is Skender Lugjaraj - an Albanian entrepreneur who wants to marry Sandy.
The plot is fairly basic: Clement and Sandy run around Detroit committing horrific crimes, while Raymond tries to arrest them. Leonard starts dropping unsubtle hints fairly early that there will be a final, dramatic confrontation between Raymond and Clement. While not inventive, the plot serves its purpose, it pushes the story forward while allowing Leonard to provide the reader with action, great dialogue, and a sense of Detroit. In City Primeval, getting to the big close is (at least) half the fun - the book is fast-paced and enjoyable.
Leonard's ending is a little different. The end leaves the reader thinking about what Leonard wanted to convey through the scene. Readers will have to decide for themselves how well it works. (I am ambivalent about it).
If you love hardboiled fiction, it doesn't get any better than City Primeval - read it.