The Moonshine War by Elmore Leonard
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Bootlegger Son Martin has 150 barrels of whiskey his dad made stashed away somewhere and his old war buddy, Frank Long, now a crooked prohibition agent, has his sights set on them. Will Son cave in under the pressure and hand over the whiskey or will he put Long and his cronies into the ground?
Reading an Elmore Leonard book is like bullshitting with an old friend on their front porch. In this case, it would be whiskey we'd be drinking instead of a couple frosty beers.
Rural Kentucky in the 1930's is far from Elmore Leonard's usual haunts but after watching several seasons of Justified, I figured he could handle it. I was right.
The Moonshine War plays out like a lot of Elmore Leonard books. The promise of violence keeps building until the glorious shitstorm at the end. Frank Long trying to strongarm Son Martin out of his valuable whiskey is more of the same. It went a little differently than I thought it would near the end, which is always a plus for me.
The country dialog is very well done and drives the plot forward. Like in most Leonard books, Son Martin is just a little slicker than Frank Long and the others.
Son reminds me of Raylan Givens a bit of Raylan was running moonshine instead of being a US Marshall. He's a conflicted character, his young wife dying from the flu while he was in the army leaving him somewhat directionless. He's got a bit of that Givens inner rage going as well. When his neighbors started turning on him when he wouldn't roll over for Long and the others, I knew the violence was coming. The Moonshine War actually feels like a western more than anything else.
Any gripes? Not a one besides wanting to read more about Son Martin. 3.5 stars.
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