Here's the scenario. Out of impulse, I walk into a store and who should I find but Mr Leonard sitting there in those flashy primaries he always wears. Sitting there and smiling at me, knowing he's got the stuff I want.
So there's no escape. I like his books. I buy his books. Not just that, I sit back and smoke them, inhaling every last deadbeat, no-gooder he scratches into the story. So what can I say about "Riding the Rap". I liked it, of course.
But I didn't like it as much as the book it follows on from, "Pronto". I don't know whether it would be different if I had read "Riding the Rap" before "Pronto" but do I know it made a big difference to how I read the "Rap".
In "Pronto" I had grown attached to his well drawn character, crack-shot US Marshall/Cowboy, Raylan Givens, so much so that I didn't want to see him come off the rails in any further adventure that Leonard might employ him in. So I had
some misgivings about "Riding the Rap". Fortunately they weren't all well founded.
In this, his latest novel, Leonard is successful in taking his hero to new levels, retaining his character but also revealing new aspects, even letting Givens's law abiding nature rule the plot a little. Givens is again in search
of old acquaintance and almost friend Harry Arno. This time Harry has been kidnapped and is in serious danger of being killed. Leonard turns up the temperature nicely as Givens hunts for Arno while the trio of kidnappers begin to
distrust each other and eventually lose control.
It's a good book. As a crime novel it's still up there and won't disappoint if you're looking for a crackling good yarn. But be warned, Mr Leonard. Your cowboy only has a six-gun. Use your remaining shots wisely.