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9780062265982220px-Elmore_LeonardAnd you think Elmore Leonard’s only about guns and sex? Try Touch. Juvenal has the gift of healing, or so it appears. It happens whenever his stigmata start bleeding and some lame or halt or blind individual is in the neighborhood. The thing is, he doesn’t take it all that seriously. He can’t seem to control it, and it’s just there, like his hair color or height, not something he feels like taking credit for.

Of course, it could be a moneymaker, and some folks think that would be a great idea. (I’m reminded of the trials of Teresita in Urrea’s Queen of America.) In the mix is a retrograde zealot who thinks Vatican II was the ruin of the Catholic church and longs to return to the days of Latin Mass and Priests with their backs to the congregation. He’s got his own designs on poor Juvenal.

There are guns and sex in this terrific novel, but the guns don’t fire often or do all that much damage, and the sex is touching, comical, and renewing by turns. It’s softer than many of Leonard’s other works in that respect, but nevertheless Leonard for all of that. And where else have you read a modern novel about stigmata. You might not even know what it means. Look it up. Then read the book.


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