The Hot Kid (Magill's Literary Annual 2006)
Elmore Leonard began his writing career in the 1950’s, turning out Western novels and stories. Not until the demand for Westerns abated did he begin writing the crime fiction for which authorities as disparate as Martin Amis, Stephen King, Quentin Tarantino, and George Will have proclaimed Leonard a genius. Leonard, who has also written such historical fiction as Cuba Libre (1998), set during the Spanish-American War, returned to the Western with The Tonto Woman, and Other Western Stories (1998). The Hot Kid combines Leonard’s interests in crime, Westerns, and historical fiction and represents his best work since Out of Sight (1996).
The Hot Kid opens in Okmulgee, Oklahoma, in 1921, when fifteen-year-old Carlos Webster witnesses Emmett Long kill an Indian policeman while stealing thirty dollars from a drugstore. Impressed by how the United States marshals track down and arrest Emmett, Carlos decides he wants to be a lawman. Shortly afterward, the boy shoots and kills a cattle thief. At this, Carlos’s half-Cheyenne father, Virgil, who raised him, realizes, “My lord, but this boy’s got a hard bark on him.” Carlos’s Cuban mother died when the boy was born. Virgil raises cattle and pecans but is wealthy from the oil discovered on his property. The other member of the Webster household is Narcissa...
(The entire section is 1691 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 2006)
The Atlantic Monthly 296 (November, 2005): 153.
Booklist 101, no. 14 (March 15, 2005): 1246-1247.
Kirkus Reviews 73, no. 4 (February 15, 2005): 192.
Library Journal 130, no. 7 (April 15, 2005): 74-76.
Los Angeles Times Book Review, May 8, 2005, p. 3.
The New York Times 154 (May 2, 2005): E1-E6.
The New York Times Book Review 154 (May 8, 2005): 1-11.
Publishers Weekly 252, no. 13 (March 28, 2005): 55.
The Washington Post Book World, May 15, 2005, p. 6.
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