This was the first book of Leonard’s that I have ever read, and most likely the last. I enjoy crime books, but not necessarily criminal books. Do you see the distinction? Let me elaborate. The main focus of Road Dogs was the friendship between two inmates, Jack Foley and Cundo Rey. Jack is a famous bank robber and Cundo manages to use his money to get Jack’s sentence reduced. Of course each inmate knows that nothing in life comes for free and Jack wonders what Cundo wants in return.
Leonard’s style is not really my cup of tea. A lot of dialogue, very little character development. The book comes across like a script, perhaps that is why so many of Leonard’s books have been made into movies. He creates characters, but to me they seem more like caricatures. Quick scenes lead to more quick scenes lead to more quick scenes. The narrator jumps back and forth, but in a very uneven manner. It was almost as though Jack was supposed to be the narrator, but there was some information that the author couldn’t figure out how to include, so he switches for short periods to other people. Bizarre. Also, the Jack character was supposed to be charismatic… so charismatic that women fall into bed with him at every turn, but I could never determine what was charismatic about him. It was as though Leonard wrote, “Jack is charismatic” but didn’t bother to prove it in any way. The whole novel felt very disjointed.
As the novel progressed, I disliked almost all the characters in various degrees. I did, however, find myself warming to the overall plot. Who doesn’t love a double-cross? I will say, at no point did I think I should STOP reading the book, which is a feeling I get quite bit when I read D grade books. I was slightly entertained, and could recommend this book to people who don’t like developed plots, rich characters, but need a quick read and don’t mind foul language.