Pronto, by Elmore Leonard

Harry Arno is a small-time bookie who's been skimming the takings for the past twenty years, and wants to retire to Italy on his savings. But the people he's been skimming off aren't too happy about that, and the Zip, a character rather in the Blackbird mould, is despatched to Italy to catch him. But neither Harry nor the Zip realised that Reylon Jennings, a US Deputy Marshall, would follow them and try to save Harry.

The above paragraph can't really do justice to the plot, which has extra layers of subtlety. But the plot is only part of the thrill: as usual, the characters are fantastic. Although the Zip is a bit like Blackbird, and Reylon is a bit like Chili Palmer, they're distinct, and believable, individuals. How does Leonard do that?

This was the book I'd remembered with Harry telling someone about how the Zip shut a guy's "wang" in a car door. And it's got quite a shocking killing in - one I didn't really see coming but felt like I was watching it on a cinema screen it felt so real.

Fine stuff.

Completed : 24-Nov-2006 (audiobook)

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