"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal." -- Matthew 6:19
I loved reading this book and stayed up until 3:30 a.m. to finish it.
No one does the crime story from the criminal's perspective better than Elmore Leonard. Place one of his plots anywhere in La-La land as occurs in Road Dogs and the pleasure just increases.
Road Dogs combines great character development with a wonderful psychological tension surrounded by some of the funniest sequences you can imagine. I could see in my mind the movie that will be made from this book as I read the pages. It's hard to add humor to crime stories, but Mr. Leonard's deft touch makes that look easy.
Those who want lots of action will find this book to be tedious until near the denouement.
If you haven't read or seen Out of Sight, Road Dogs gives you a good reprise about the earlier activities of Jack Foley, the narrator of Road Dogs, Deputy Marshal Karen Sisco, and Special Agent Lou Adams in Out of Sight who all appear in Road Dogs. Mr. Leonard gives you a little more of a thumbnail background on Cundo Rey (from LaBrava) who is Jack Foley's fellow road dog (buddy who helps protect a convict in jail or prison), but it's enough. You don't need much background to appreciate Dawn Navarro who earlier appeared in Riding the Rap.
But it's best to focus on these characters as though you haven't met them before. They combine naiveté, fear, suspicion, and calculation in ways that are unknown to those who haven't made a living from criminal activities.
So what's the plot? Jack Foley has just been returned to prison after escaping (through a series of very unusual events) when his buddy, Cundo Rey, offers to pay for his appeals with the remarkable attorney, Miss Megan Norris. As a result, Jack is soon released from prison and Cundo sends Jack west to meet his "wife" and to hang out in one of Cundo's multimillion dollar homes in Venice, California. Jack is concerned that he's going to be asked to do more crime to pay back Cundo. Dawn has different plans for Jack. When Cundo arrives a day early, the sparks start to fly. Who will get burned?
From that point, you'll see the sharks circling one another. The first one to bleed in the water is likely to be attacked by the others. The story is nicely balanced and your fun in reading it depends on not knowing what happens next. Don't read anything that goes further than this in describing the plot.
Does crime pay? I especially liked thinking about the moral implications of this story. Mr. Leonard has buried some important points about the value of innocence and treating others decently.