Road Dogs: A Novel

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9780061985706: Road Dogs: A Novel

Road Dogs is terrific, and Elmore Leonard is in a class of one.”
—Dennis Lehane, author of Shutter Island and Mystic River

 

“You know from the first sentence that you’re in the hands of the original Daddy Cool....This one’ll kill you.”
—Stephen King

 

Elmore Leonard is eternal. In Road Dogs, the PEN USA Lifetime Achievement Award winner and “America’s greatest crime master” (Newsweek) brings back three of his favorite characters—Jack Foley from Out of Sight, Cundo Rey from La Brava, and Dawn Navarro from Riding the Rap—for a twisting, explosive, always surprising masterwork of crime fiction the San Francisco Chronicle calls, “a sly, violent, funny and superbly written story of friendship, greed, and betrayal.”

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Review:

Amazon Best of the Month, May 2009: Be Cool. If Elmore Leonard hadn't already used it for the sequel to Get Shorty, it would have been a natural title for this deliciously breezy follow-up to another Leonard-to-Hollywood hit, Out of Sight. You may best recall Jack Foley, as played by George Clooney, bantering with Jennifer Lopez in the trunk of a jailbreak getaway car, but when Out of Sight ended, Foley was headed back to the clink to finish a 30-year bid. Road Dogs opens with Foley on the van to prison with Cundo Rey, a pint-size Cuban who soon engineers their early release--legally, this time. Jack's happy to be out and enjoying the California hospitality of Cundo and his wife Dawn (both Leonard veterans too, from LaBrava and Riding the Rap). But Dawn is lovely and wily (and maybe a psychic), Cundo is a murderously jealous husband who may well think Jack owes him big-time, and Jack? Well, when you've robbed a hundred-twenty or so banks, is it that easy to go straight? As so often with Leonard, the real fun is less in the action than the talk, especially from Foley, the pleasure-minded, level-headed hood: an ex-con whose biggest con may be that he is exactly who he says he is. --Tom Nissley

Questions for Elmore Leonard

Q:Where did the inspiration for the title Road Dogs come from?

A: Road Dogs was on a list of prison expressions my researcher Gregg Sutter got for me: inmates who watch each other’s back. I liked the sound of the words together.

Q: What made you decide to bring back Jack Foley, Cundo Rey, and Dawn Navarro now? What is it about these three characters that stuck with you through the years?

A: Foley was played by George Clooney in Out of Sight. I imagined George in the scenes I wrote and it worked. Dawn Navarro was the psychic in Riding the Rap, a supporting character ready for a leading role. Cundo Rey from LaBrava, another favorite of mine, also deserved a bigger role, so I brought him back..

Q: Any chance Foley and the woman he loves, Federal Marshal Karen Sisco, will be back in the near future?

A: I’m not sure Foley is up to robbing another bank. But Karen Sisco, the federal marshal in Out of Sight, could show up again; maybe working for her dad, a private investigator.

Q: One of the hallmarks of your writing is your gift for the telling detail. When Foley is offering Cundo Rey’s money man, Jimmy, some advice about his skimming, he tells him that Cundo won’t kill him, but he might “break your legs with a José Canseco bat.” That’s one of those small yet wonderfully deft touches that adds color without slowing the pace. How do you do this so well?

A: Realism is the key to my style of writing and dialogue is what keeps it moving, always in live scenes. Rather than use my voice, my language, to describe what’s going on, I let the characters tell who they are and what they’re up to by the way they talk. Scenes are written from a character’s point of view, never mine.

Q: Many of your characters are working class stiffs and tough, intelligent broads. What draws you to these kind of characters? What do you think accounts for their popularity?

A: My women often upstage the guys; they’re natural, their own person, while my cops and criminals talk the way I’ve observed them through research and being on the scene.

Q: What’s next for Elmore Leonard?

A: Next comes Djibouti, with Dara Barr, a documentary filmmaker with the Somali pirates off the coast of East Africa.

From the Back Cover:

Jack Foley and Cundo Rey are road dogs: trusted jailhouse comrades watching each other's back. They're so tight, Cundo's using his own money and his shark lady lawyer to get Foley's sentence reduced from thirty years to three months. And when Jack gets out, the wealthy Cuban criminal wants him to stay in Cundo's multimillion dollar Venice Beach house—right across from the one where Cundo's common-law wife, professional psychic Dawn Navarro, resides. There will certainly be some payback expected, though Jack can't figure out what. Sexy Dawn's intentions are a lot clearer. But Cundo's coming home earlier than anticipated, and Jack smells a double-cross cooking—the kind that could turn a road dog into road kill.

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