Friday, October 03, 2008

08.26 Valdez Is Coming by Elmore Leonard

Valdez is Coming (1970) by Elmore Leonard
Paperback, Bantam, 136 p.

I've always been reticent of reading westerns for two reasons. I am pretty unfamiliar with what is good and I don't know that I need another strain of genre fiction to fill my shelves with. Nevertheless, the well written blog Vintage Hardboiled Reads reviews a lot of early westerns and that is a good starting point. Recently one of my 50 Books brethren wrote well of another early Leonard.

Bob Valdez, a constable from the Mexican side of town comes across a potential lynching one day led by Frank Tanner, the leader of a smuggling gang. Valdez gets involved and ends up killing the man Tanner is after. Guiltily, he suggests that Tanner pony up some money for the Apache wife of the dead man. Of course Tanner rejects this and the second time he is asked he has his men beat up Valdez and tie him to a cross in the desert. And so revenge is now on the the table. Bob Valdez is tough and capable; easily kidnapping Tanners wife and then getting it on with her.

This book was a real pleasure to read and I look forward to reading the few other early Leonard westerns.

1 comment:

Doc said...

Yep. This is one of the good ones. Hombre, Escape from Five Shadows, Valdez is Coming, The Law at Randado. Those are the ones I remember enjoying the most. Forty Lashes Less One, Last Stand at Sabre River, and Gunsights were hit and miss for me.