Mr. Majestyk Part 18
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"Anything you want, except golf."
"You're in luck. I don't play golf."
"I know you don't. I checked."
She liked his weathered look, his cap of white hair, uncombed. "You're here by yourself?"
"On my own, the first time in fifty-seven years."
She laid the book on the table next to her. "So now you're what, dating?"
He liked the way she said it, with a straight face.
"If you're interested, Jerry Vale's coming next week."
"I can hardly wait."
He said, "I like the way you wear your scarves. You've got style, kiddo."
"For an old broad? You should see me in a blond wig."
"A woman can get away with a good one. But you see a rug on a guy, every hair in place? You can always tell."
"That's why you don't comb your hair?" Again with the straight face. He shook his head.
"I made a decision," Vincent said. "No chemo, no surgery. Why bother? I'm eighty years old. You hang around too long, you end up with Alzheimer's, like Howard. You know Howard? He puts on a suit and tie every day and calls on the ladies. Has no idea where he is."
"Howard's been here. But now I think he and Pauline are going steady. Pauline's the one with all the Barbie dolls." Natalie paused and said, "I'll be eighty-two next month."
"You sure don't look it."
"Not a day over, what, seventy-five?"
"I'll tell you something," Vincent said. "You're the best-looking woman here, and that's counting the maids and the ones that pass for nurses. Some are okay, but they all have big butts. You notice that? Hospitals, the same thing. I've made a study: The majority of women who work in health care are seriously overweight."
The Westerns The Bounty Hunters(1953, the first Elmore Leonard novel) The old Apache renegade Soldado Viejo is hiding out in Mexico, and the Arizona Department Adjutant has selected two men to hunt him down. One - Dave Flynn - knows war, the land, and the nature of his prey. The other is a kid lieutenant named Bowers. But there's a different kind of war happening in Soyopa. And if Flynn and his young associate choose the wrong allies - and the wrong enemy - they won't be getting out alive.
The Independent (London): "One of the most successful Western writers of his day ... Leonard's career as a novelist began with (London): "One of the most successful Western writers of his day ... Leonard's career as a novelist began with The Bounty Hunters The Bounty Hunters."
From the novel: Rellis's lip curled, grinning. "Mostly when I see a piss-ant I just step on him."
"Rellis - " It came unexpectedly, with the sound of the screen door closing.
As Rellis turned his head sharply, the grin died on his face.
Flynn stood in from the doorway. He came on a few strides and stopped, his eyes on Rellis, his right hand unbuttoning his coat.
Rellis wasn't loose now. "I ... was just asking where you were, Flynn."
"I heard you asking."
"Listen, I didn't have any part in killing your friend."
"Rellis," Flynn said quietly, "you're a liar."
"You got no cause to say that."
Flynn moved toward Rellis. "It's said." He paused, watching Rellis' eyes. "I'm going outside. I'll expect to see you within the next few minutes ... with your gun in your hand."
The Law at Randado(1954) Phil Sundeen thinks Deputy Sheriff Kirby Frye is just a green local kid with a tin badge. And when the wealthy cattle baron's men drag two prisoners from Frye's jail and hang them from a high tree, there's nothing the untried young lawman can do about it. But Kirby's got more grit than Sundeen and his hired muscles bargained for. They can beat the boy and humiliate him, but they can't make him forget the job he has sworn to do. The cattleman has money, fear, and guns on his side, but Kirby Frye's the law in this godforsaken corner of the Arizona Territories. And he'll drag Sundeen and his killers straight to hell himself to prove it.
USA Today: "Leonard has penned some of the best Western fiction ever."
From the novel: Frye felt the anger hot on his face. "Doesn't killing two men mean anything to you?"
"You picked yourself a beauty," Sundeen said to no one in particular. "Why does he pack that gun if he's so against killin'?"
Jordan said, "Maybe it makes him feel important."
"Now if it was me," Sundeen said, "I wouldn't pick a deputy that whined like a woman."
Jordan was looking at Frye. "Maybe that's what this deputy is ... only dressed up like a man.
Sundeen grinned. "Maybe we ought to take his pants off and find out."
Frye held his eyes on Sundeen. Just Sundeen - he felt his anger mounting. "Sundeen, if you want to try, stop by the jail tomorrow."
Escape from Five Shadows (1956) (1956) No one breaks out of the brutal convict labor camp at Five Shadows - but Corey Bowen is ready to die trying. They framed him to put him in there, and beat him bloody and nearly dead after his last escape attempt. He'll have help this time - from a lady with murder on her mind and a debt to pay back. Because freedom isn't enough for primed dynamite like Bowen. And he won't leave the corrupt desert hell behind him until a few scores are settled ... permanently.
Dallas Morning News: "As welcome as a thunderstorm in a dry spell."
From the novel: "I'm giving you warning now," Renda said, including all the convicts. "One more out of line and somebody shoots. You'll even think before spitting over the side of the wagon. You hesitate one second when you're told to do something, you're dead. You take one step in the wrong direction and you won't know what hit you."
He turned to Bowen suddenly. "You understand that?"
Bowen nodded, looking up at Renda.
"Listen," Renda said, "I'll tell you something else. That stunt you pulled a while back ... jumping off the wagon. You wouldn't get just twenty days for it the second time."
He looked over the convicts. "You get past the guards, the Mimbres have got orders to take your scalp. You won't be brought back here ... just part of you. To prove you're dead."
Last Stand at Saber River(1959) A one-armed man stood before Denaman's store, and the girl named Luz was scared. Paul Cable could see that from the rise two hundred yards away, just as he could see that everything had changed while he was away fighting for the Confederacy. He just didn't know how much. Cable and his family rode down to Denaman's store and faced the one-armed man. Then they heard the story, about the Union Army and two brothers - and a beautiful woman - who had taken over Cable's spread and weren't going to give it back. For Paul Cable the war hadn't ended at all. Among the men at Saber River, some would be his enemies, some might have been his friends, but no one was going to take his future away - not with words, not with treachery, and not with guns.
New York Daily News: "Very tough and realistic."
From the novel: Cable stood over Dancey with the Walker Colt in his hand. It was cocked and pointing directly at Dancey's head. Joe Bob and Royce said nothing.
Dancey said, "You're not proving anything with that gun in your hand."
"I don't have anything to prove."
Royce said, "You think we won't be back?"
Cable's gaze shifted. "You'll ride into a double load of buckshot if you do."
Royce seemed to grin. "Man, you're made to order. Duane's going to have some fun with you."
Dancey's eyes held on Cable. "So one man's going to stand us off."
"That's all it's taken so far."
Hombre(1961) John Russell has been raised as an Apache. Now he's on his way to live as a white man. But when the stagecoach passengers learn who he is, they want nothing to do with him - until outlaws ride down on them and they must rely on Russell's guns and his ability to lead them out of the desert. He can't ride with them, but they must walk with him or die.
Western Writers of America: "One of the twenty-five best Western novels of all time."
San Francisco Chronicle: "Thrilling."
From the novel: ["Carl Everett Allen" is recalling how he came to write this account.]
At first I wasn't sure at all where to begin. When I asked advice, this man from the Florence Enterprise Florence Enterprise said begin at the beginning, the day the coach departed from Sweetmary with everybody aboard. Which sounded fine until I got to doing it. Then I saw it wasn't the beginning at all. There was too much to explain at one time. Who the people were, where they were going and all. Also, starting there didn't tell enough about John Russell. said begin at the beginning, the day the coach departed from Sweetmary with everybody aboard. Which sounded fine until I got to doing it. Then I saw it wasn't the beginning at all. There was too much to explain at one time. Who the people were, where they were going and all. Also, starting there didn't tell enough about John Russell.
He is the person this story is mainly about. If it had not been for him, we would all be dead and there wouldn't be anybody telling this. So I will begin with the first time I ever saw John Russell....
[S]ome of my ideas about John Russell at the time are embarrassing to put on paper. But I was advised to imagine I was telling it to a good friend and not worry about what other people might think. Which is what I have done. If there's anything anybody wants to skip, like innermost thoughts in places, just go ahead.
The Moonshine War(1969) The hill folk of Broke-Leg Country, Kentucky, believed that if the good Lord meant for corn to grow, He also meant for it to be distilled, in spite of the passage of a Federal law called the 18th Amendment, or Prohibition. And if a man wanted to get some really good sippin' whiskey, Son Martin was the one to see. Son not only made the best moonshine in the area, but it was rumored that he had hidden somewhere on his hill farm his old daddy's cache of 150 barrels of eight-year old corn whiskey. Of course nobody had ever found any of the liquor, but Son never said that it wasn't there.
Then one day the tranquility of Broke-Leg County was interrupted by the sudden appearance of Frank Long, an old army buddy of Son's who knew about the whiskey and was not a Prohibition agent. But his presence had a different purpose than his job as a revenue man. Frank wanted the hidden whiskey to bootleg on his own, and he was willing to use his official position to get it.
In the attempt, he set neighbor against neighbor, and the Moonshine War was on. Involved were Prohibition agents, Louisville gangsters, and local moonshiners, and as the hills of Kentucky rang with their gunshots, each side fought to learn Son's secret. As the bullets got thicker, Son was left alone, standing on his principles and waiting for his chance to bring the War to its startling and unexpected climax.
The New York Times: "Before Leonard tackled Detroit's mean streets, he turned out a handful of backwoods crime novels, including this rough-edged little jewel. It's no surprise that the Big Boys want to take over Son Martin's still. After all, Son makes the best whiskey in Marlett, Kentucky: 'He let his mash sit a full six or seven days and didn't put a lot of devilment in it, like buckeye beans or carbide or lye.' Archetypes fly as fast as fists in this mythic exploration of the rugged individualist as whiskey-maker."
Valdez Is Coming(1970) They laughed at Roberto Valdez and then ignored him. But when a dark-skinned man was holed up in a shack with a gun, they sent the part-time town constable to deal with the problem - and made sure he had no choice but to gun the fugitive down. Trouble was, Valdez killed an innocent man. And when he asked for justice - and some money for the dead man's woman - they beat Valdez and tied him to a cross. They were still laughing when Valdez came back. And then they began to die...
USA Today: "Although known for his mysteries, Leonard has penned some of the best Western fiction ever, including Valdez Is Coming Valdez Is Coming."
Washington Post Book World: "A Leonard novel that still holds up as one of his very best."
From the novel: "Your minute's up, boy." Mr. Tanner glanced at his segundo again. "Teach him something."
The segundo drew the .44 on his right leg, cocked it and fired as he brought it up. And with the explosion the adobe chipped next to Bob Valdez's face.
Now those who were sitting and lounging by the fires rose and drew their revolvers, looking at the segundo and waiting their turn. One of them, an American, said "I know where I'm going to shoot the son of a bitch."
One of the others laughed and another one said, "See if you can shoot his meat off." And another said, "It would fix this squaw-lover good."
Forty Lashes Less One(1972) A hellhole like Yuma Prison does all sorts of things to a man. Mostly it makes him want to escape. For two men facing life sentences - Harold Jackson, the only black man behind the walls, and Raymond San Carlos, an Apache halfbreed - a breakout seemed nigh on impossible. That is, until the law gave them two choices: rot in a cell, or track down and bring back the five most ruthless men in Arizona.
New York Daily News: "Long before his slick, dark crime comedies, Elmore Leonard wrote some very tough and realistic Westerns."
From the novel: "You want us to run twenty miles?"
"You're an Apache Indian, aren't you, Raymond? And Harold's a Zulu. Well, by golly, an Apache Indian and a Zulu can run twenty, thirty miles a day, and there ain't a white man in this territory can say that."
"You want us to run twenty miles?" Raymond said again.
"I want you to start thinking of who you are, that's what I want. I want you to start thinking like warriors for a change instead of like convicts."
Gunsights (1979) (1979) Brendan Early and Dana Moon have tracked renegade Apaches together and gunned down scalp hunters to become Arizona legends. But now they face each other from opposite sides of what newspapers are calling The Rincon Mountain War. Brendan and a gang of mining company gun thugs are dead set on running Dana and "the People of the Mountain" from their land. The characters are unforgettable, the plot packed with action and gunfights from beginning to end.
San Francisco Chronicle: "Classic Western fare."
Chicago Sun-Times: "Leonard's special kind of tough guys were born in the Old West."
From the novel: Bren Early said to Moon, "Do you want to tell him to go stick it in his horse, or should I?"
Sundeen turned toward his partners. They were getting ready.
"I'll give them three more steps," Bren said and pulled his matched Smith & Wesson .44s. Moon drew his Colts.
Three more strides and that was it.
Sundeen was hollering something, and his two men on the ends fell dead in the first sudden explosion from the wall where Early and Moon stood with revolvers extended, aiming and firing.
Bren said, "He's used to having his way."
Moon said, "But he didn't come prepared, did he?"
Cuba Libre(1998) War in Cuba isn't Ben Tyler's concern. Still, sailing mares and guns into Havana harbor in 1898 -right past the submerged wreckage of the U.S. battleship Maine Maine - may not be the smartest thing the recently prison-sprung horse wrangler ever did. Neither is shooting one of the local Guardia, though the pompous peacock deserved it. Now Tyler's sitting tight in a vermin-infested Cuban stockade waiting to face a firing squad. But he's not dying until he gets the money he's owed from a two-timing American sugar baron. And there's one smart, pistol-hot lady at the rich man's side who could help Ben get everything he's got rightfully coming ... even when the whole damn island's going straight to hell. - may not be the smartest thing the recently prison-sprung horse wrangler ever did. Neither is shooting one of the local Guardia, though the pompous peacock deserved it. Now Tyler's sitting tight in a vermin-infested Cuban stockade waiting to face a firing squad. But he's not dying until he gets the money he's owed from a two-timing American sugar baron. And there's one smart, pistol-hot lady at the rich man's side who could help Ben get everything he's got rightfully coming ... even when the whole damn island's going straight to hell.
Miami Herald: "A wild ride through Cuba during the Spanish-American War.... A good old-fashioned Western served with a sly grin and a side dish of scams."
From the novel: Tyler arrived with the horse February eighteenth, three days after the battleship Maine Maine blew up in Havana harbor. He saw buzzards floating in the sky the way they do but couldn't make out what they were after. This was off Morro Castle, the cattle boat streaming black smoke as it comes through the narrows. blew up in Havana harbor. He saw buzzards floating in the sky the way they do but couldn't make out what they were after. This was off Morro Castle, the cattle boat streaming black smoke as it comes through the narrows.
But then pretty soon he saw a ship's mast and a tangle of metal sticking out of the water, gulls resting on it. One of the Mexican deckhands called to the pilot tug bringing them in, wanting to know what the wreckage was. The pilot yelled back that it was the Maine Maine.
Yeah? The main what? Tyler's border Spanish failed to serve, trying to make out voices raised against the wind. The deckhand told him it was a buque de guerra buque de guerra, a warship.
The Tonto Woman and Other Western Stories(1998) The Tonto Woman and Other Western Stories is a raw, hard-bitten collection that gathers together the best of Leonard's Western fiction. In "The Tonto Woman," a young wife, her face tattooed by Indian kidnappers, becomes society's outcast - until an outlaw vows to set her free... In "Only Good Ones," we meet a fine man turned killer in one impossible moment... "Saint with a Six-Gun" pits a doomed prisoner against his young guard - in a drama of deception and compassion that leads to a shocking act of courage... In "The Colonel's Lady," a brutal ambush puts a woman into the hands of a vicious renegade - while a tracker attempts a rescue that cannot come in time... And in "Blood Money," five bank robbers are being picked off one by one, but one man believes he can make it out alive.
Contains: "The Tonto Woman"; "The Captives"; "Only Good Ones"; "You Never See Apaches"; "The Colonel's Lady"; "The Kid"; "The Big Hunt"; "Apache Medicine"; "No Man's Guns"; "Jugged"; "The Hard Way"; "Blood Money"; "3:10 to Yuma"; "The Boy Who Smiled"; "Hurrah for Capt. Early"; "Moment of Vengeance"; "Saint with a Six-Gun"; "The Nagual"; Trouble at Rindo's Station" "The Tonto Woman"; "The Captives"; "Only Good Ones"; "You Never See Apaches"; "The Colonel's Lady"; "The Kid"; "The Big Hunt"; "Apache Medicine"; "No Man's Guns"; "Jugged"; "The Hard Way"; "Blood Money"; "3:10 to Yuma"; "The Boy Who Smiled"; "Hurrah for Capt. Early"; "Moment of Vengeance"; "Saint with a Six-Gun"; "The Nagual"; Trouble at Rindo's Station"
From the collection: "The Captives"
He could hear the stagecoach, the faraway creaking and the muffled rumble of it, and he was thinking: It's almost an hour early. Why should it be if it left Contention on schedule?
His name was Pat Brennan. He was lean and almost tall, with a deeply tanned, pleasant face beneath the straight hat-brim low over his eyes, and he stood next to the saddle, which was on the ground, with the easy hip-shot slouch of a rider. A entry rifle was in his right hand and he was squinting into the sun glare, looking up the grade to the rutted road that came curving down through the spidery Joshua trees.
Mr. Majestyk Part 18
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Mr. Majestyk Part 18 summary
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