If you’re a bit fluish, there’s nothing better than a little recreational reading, and this Elmore Leonard pair is as good as chicken soup. Hombre has been on my list. The Law at Randado not even on the radar. As it turned out I give Randado higher marks.
Hombre’s a bit formulaic. Six strangers shoved into a stagecoach together, three of them with big-time secrets. In addition, there’s a half-civilized white man who’s been living with Apaches and has gotten himself cleaned up to go sell some land he’s inherited. The story’s narrated by a youngster who’s writing his account to try to correct accounts that have appeared in the press. Without acting as too much of a spoiler, I think I can reveal that Elmore constructs for us a noble sacrifice that is way too predictable to be effective, even though I suspect the reading public at large will disagree with me.
There’s a formula in Randado as well. A young lawman trying to save a frontier community from a rapacious rancher and from its more venal self. However, there are many more character nuances here. And the protagonist is anything but omnipotent. As sometimes happens to Elmore’s principals, he gets his clock thoroughly cleaned on a number of occasions. I think there’s no argument about the extra texture an color in Randado, and it’s just as absorbing in every way as Hombre. that said, I’m sure someone would argue with me. Whatever. These are both super examples of Leonard at his early best. Yum.