Maximum Bob Themes
by Elmore Leonard

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Maximum Bob Themes

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

At the end of Maximum Bob, a model policeman is dead, a superb probation officer is quitting her job, and a bad judge remains on the bench, apparently more secure than ever. The forces of good, it appears, are overcome. The family of criminals on whom Leonard focuses, some petty thugs and others murderers, have lived their dreadful way of life for generations, and spells of incarceration have hardened and further criminalized them. Sadly, they and others like them seem not likely to be redeemed, despite the efforts of such well-meaning professionals as Kathy Diaz Baker and her probation office colleagues. While a reader may be moved to wonder where or upon whom blame should be placed, Leonard does not confront the issue, except perhaps obliquely. His evil-doers are at the two extremes of the economic spectrum, the haves and the have nots; too little or too much could cause problems, he may be suggesting. But since he presents only a small part of the total social spectrum — law enforcers and lawbreakers in one region of Florida — there is no indication of how society at large is affected by, or reacts to, the bleak picture he presents, or even if it cares.