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The character of Joe LaBrava, in Elmore Leonard’s novel La Brava, possesses attributes that many people think of as belonging to typical American literary heroes. Joe is a likable guy. He is also working in a respectable job as an independent photographer (which is, incidentally, quite different from the characters that Leonard generally writes). In the course of trying to start over, Joe comes back into contact with Jean Shaw, an ex-film star he had fallen in love with at the age of 12. Joe and his friend Maury team up to save the woman he once loved when she is threatened by a local security guard. The conversations and inner musings of Joe make him seem like a regular guy, one with a sense of humor, who is thrust into an unusual situation. And how many men wouldn’t like to play the hero and rescue the girl he never got to be with in his youth?
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