From the Publisher: Carlos Webster was fifteen in the fall of 1921 the first time he came face-to-face with a nationally known criminal. A few weeks later, he killed his first man—a cattle thief who was rustling his dad’s stock. Now Carlos, called Carl, is the hot kid of the U.S. Marshals Service, one of the elite manhunters currently chasing the likes of Dillinger, Baby Face Nelson, and Pretty Boy Floyd across America’s Depression-ravaged heartland. Carl wants to be the country’s most famous lawman.

Now I’m biased. I LOVE Elmore Leonard’s novels. I usually read 2-3 a year, more as a guilty pleasure. They are the epitome of cool. The only downside, is that they’re basically all the same. Someone is always a snazzy dresser, there’s always crazy story lines involving multiple subplots and coincidences that always end up being relevant and tying into a neat little package.

Which is why The Hot Kid was such a surprise. Elmore Leonard began his career writing westerns…which is now pretty much a dead genre. Luckily for him, he was even better at writing crime fiction.

But the Hot Kid he kind of gets the best of both worlds. It’s not quite a Western, but as close as you can get. It’s the 1930s and gangsters are grabbing the headlines. His main character (Carl) is a snazzy dresser with an even better tag line: If I pull my gun, I shoot to kill.

There aren’t any of the crazy storylines (which I actually enjoyed – sometimes I can’t always keep up with the weaving of the storylines in his modern day tales). This was more of a straight forward telling.

Still Elmore Leonard, but with a refreshing twist. Don’t know if I’d want him to return too many times, but still highly entertaining. One of those books perfect for a cottage.

I give this four quick draws out of five.