Maximum Bob by Elmore Leonard
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
When someone wants hardliner judge Bob Isom Gibbs, aka Maximum Bob, dead, how does he narrow down which of his enemies it is? Can probation officer Kathy Baker and cop Gary Hammond stop the would-be killer? And do they even want to? And what does Bob's flaky wife have to do with it?
After reading The Cut by George Pelecanos, with its obvious Elmore Leonard influence and multiple references to old Dutch, I decided to dust this one off and give it a shot. I was not disappointed.
Maximum Bob is a womanizing drunk who makes enemies at every turn. Who wouldn't want to kill him? I felt bad for Kathy Baker getting within pawing distance. The bad guys of the piece, the Crowe family and Dr. Tommy, are Leonard's typical cast of villains who aren't as smart as they think they are. Par for the course, Leonard's plot was suitably serpentine and came to a satisfying conclusion. There were some surprising moments along the way, always a plus, and the dialogue was vintage Leonard. The Florida setting was almost a character unto itself.
However, it's not all catfish and cornbread. I thought the whole thing with the judge's possibly psychic wife was unnecessary. Also, Hammond wasn't developed enough for me to care about what happened to him. Unlike Maximum Bob, who I wouldn't have minded seeing struck by a car.
Now that I've watched several seasons of Justified, its apparent that some of the source material comes from this book. The Crowe family is in it and a womanizing judge not unlike Maximum Bob was played by Stephen Root in one episode.
That's about all I have to say without giving away too much. It was a fun read but it's not among my favorite Elmore Leonard books.
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