The good guys are federal agents and the bad guys bank robbers, but the hero in particular gets a mythlike origin story and accompanying legend more reminiscent of the lawmen of America's storied Western past. That Leonard updates that past with realistic sexual and ethnic detail is part of the book's fun.
Leonard began his career writing Westerns before becoming famous as a crime writer. His melding of the two in this book got me reflecting on the common roots of those two great genres of American popular writing.
"Tony wrote a story about the happy Fassino family's popular macaroni factory. Another one about a social club, the Christopher Columbus Society and its twenty-five piece band that at festivals and on the Fourth of July.© Peter Rozovsky 2011
"The editor said, `I think you're getting the hang of it. Now write one about the tendency of your people to overindulge in Choctaw beer and homemade wine.'
"That did it. Tony Antonelli quit ... "