LaBrava by Elmore Leonard
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Former Secret Service agent Joe LaBrava meets an actress he fell in love with at age twelve. Now she's being blackmailed by a redneck and his Cuban partner. Or is she...? Can LaBrava get to the bottom of things before he winds up dead?
When it comes to Elmore Leonard books, they're either awesome or just okay. This one is definitely closer to okay.
The plot was pretty good. LaBrava, a photographer and former FBI man, gets entangled with Jean Shaw, an actress he's pined over for years and a blackmail scheme. As always with Leonard, the dialogue and machinations were the stars of the show. Leonard paints a vivid picture of Florida's sleazy underbelly. The characters of LaBrava, Franny, Richie, and Rey were all pretty well rounded. I thought I had the ending figured out but it went in a slightly different direction.
It wasn't a great Elmore Leonard because everything felt a little too easy. I also thought the twist was tipped a little too early. Once I knew all the players in the blackmail game, I was ready for it to be over.
Still, even a mediocre Elmore Leonard is still pretty good. I liked it but I didn't love it.
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