RARA-AVIS: Just finished: Elmore Leonard's SWAG

From: Doug Bassett ( dj_bassett@yahoo.com)
Date: 12 Aug 2000

Always wanted to read this -- I've heard it described elsewhere as maybe the best book ever written on armed robbery. I think it might be.

It's kind of a strange book, when taken in the context of Leonard's work. It's not nearly so tightly plotted as some of his later stories (or hell, as some of his earlier stories, like VALDEZ IS COMING). Rather, until the final third it's mainly a series of vignettes charting the course of Stick and his partner Ryan as they come up with an armed robbery scheme and put it into play. One gets a sense of the freedom these guys feel, the occasional moments of terror, even the greed. The tempo of the book, until the climax, is lazy, sort of drifting, which may well be true to life.

(It struck me that the book's out of date in some respects. Nowadays, what with security cameras behind every wall -- does your local TV news have a kind of
"Crimestoppers" report where you see some poor schmuck trying to rob a convenience store? -- I doubt these guys would have the string of luck now they had back then in the mid-Seventies.)

Anyhow, definitely recommended if you find a copy.


===== Doug Bassett dj_bassett@yahoo.com

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