There are a handful of authors I return to on a regular basis just because they are so reliably good – Unsworth, Toibin, McCann, McCarthy, Leonard. Leonard, the King of Cool, is also a writing lesson. Always economical, his characters talk and act like people. Not necessarily people you’d want to meet, but people. Though this is 387 pages, it’s a quick read. Leonard only paints in the necessary colors. That’s not to say things are simple. This is a story of crossing and double-crossing. Oh, and Civil War history and the Blues. I love how Leonard conjures people (the main character is a high-diver), places, and conflicts so clearly, that it was easy to make the movie in my head, something I always love to do.

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