Swag is a top-notch crime novel about a couple of dumb guys who decide to go into the armed robbery business. It’s written in Elmore Leonard’s signature style – sexy girls, gritty city streets, and people getting blown away by small arms fire. There’s a lot of dialogue and a fair amount of plotting and intrigue.
The book is told from the bad guys’ point of view, but I wouldn’t really call them anti-heroes. The one guy, Stick, is likeable as someone who really should know better than to get involved with an idiot like Frank, but he does it anyway because it seems easier than working for a living. Things go well for a while, despite looming problems—and then the looming turns into actual trouble.
If you like Leonard’s novels (he wrote more then 40 of them), you’ll like this one. If you’ve never read one of his books, I’d recommend “Get Shorty” or “Rum Punch” as a better introduction. There’s nothing wrong with “Swag,” but I think the protagonists in those other books are a bit more fun and memorable.
I just started reading “Lonesome Dove,” a 1,000 page novel that won a Pulitzer Prize. I don’t think I’ve ever read a Western before, but so far it’s good. Of course, I’m only on page five. I guess I’ll write about it when I get to the end sometime in 2037.
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