The Hot Kid

The Hot Kid

4.4 15
by Elmore Leonard
     
 

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Carlos Webster was fifteen in the fall of 1921 the first time he came face-to-face with a nationally known criminal. A few weeks later, he killed his first man—a cattle thief who was rustling his dad's stock. Now Carlos, called Carl, is the hot kid of the U.S. Marshals Service, one of the elite manhunters currently chasing the likes of Dillinger, Baby Face

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Overview

Carlos Webster was fifteen in the fall of 1921 the first time he came face-to-face with a nationally known criminal. A few weeks later, he killed his first man—a cattle thief who was rustling his dad's stock. Now Carlos, called Carl, is the hot kid of the U.S. Marshals Service, one of the elite manhunters currently chasing the likes of Dillinger, Baby Face Nelson, and Pretty Boy Floyd across America's Depression-ravaged heartland. Carl wants to be the country's most famous lawman. Jack Belmont, the bent son of an oil millionaire, wants to be public enemy number one. Tony Antonelli of True Detective magazine wants to write about this world of cops and robbers, molls and speakeasies from perilously close up. Then there are the hot dames—Louly and Elodie—hooking their schemes and dreams onto dangerous men. And before the gunsmoke clears, everybody just might end up getting exactly what he or she wished for.

Editorial Reviews

Charles McGrath
There's a little irony here, of which Leonard is surely not unaware: he, the novelist, has written a sparer, more faithful account than we can expect from Tony Antonelli, the true-crime journalist. And yet The Hot Kid is not unsympathetic to Tony or to the pulp- magazine impulse -- no surprise when we remember that Leonard got his start writing for magazines like Argosy, Dime Western and Zane Grey.
— The New York Times Sunday Book Review
Patrick Anderson
Elmore Leonard is our Prospero, a magician who has given us inspired fun for 50 years. He floats above the action, amused; his motto is surely Puck's "What fools these mortals be." In The Hot Kid , Oklahoma is his version of Shakespeare's enchanted isle in "The Tempest," a brave new world where maids and monsters, outlaws and oilmen, strange creatures all, act out their dubious destinies.
— The Washington Post
Janet Maslin
One of the built-in pleasures of The Hot Kid is its understanding of celebrity. Everyone in this story, from Carl's pecan-farming father (the nuts turn out to be planted atop an oil gusher) to waitresses, has some incipient claim to fame; the question is how that claim can be exploited. And even the book's most naïve figures wise up in a hurry when the reporters arrive. "I'm getting tired of these interviews," complains Louly, a former cotton picker and delectably tough cookie, once the press decides that she has gun-moll potential. "I've had to make up stories so they stay interested."
— The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
Leonard's (Get Shorty) 40th novel is a nearly flawless audio production. Initially, Howard's lackadaisical meter and reading style comes off as flat and unenthused. But as the flavor of the story steeps, his low-key, deliberate delivery sets the perfect pitch for Leonard's stripped down dialogue. His slow cowpoke pace leaves plenty of space for the nuance with which he breathes life into Leonard's characters. Everyone is tough, everyone is cool, and nearly all speak in clipped Hemingway-like sentences. However, Howard carefully assigns each character a specific voice, timber and speed, saving the most calm and cool for Carlos "Carl" Webster, the young, quick-drawing U.S. marshal hero of the tale. The only thing amiss with this package is the music that opens and closes each CD. This is a western tale of shootouts, cattle rustlers and bank robbers. The swanky, sultry jazz music with lilting sax better fits Chandler than L'Amour. Once past these spurious strains, however, the listener is in for a satisfying earful. Simultaneous release with Morrow hardcover (Reviews, Mar. 28). (May) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Leonard's encyclopedic knowledge of crime history and wry humor make his novels reading experiences to savor. His latest is no exception, pitting two bright, gutsy young men against each other in a deadly cat-and-mouse game. In the fall of 1921, 15-year-old Carlos Webster witnesses Emmett Long rob Deering's drugstore in Okmulgee, OK, and shoot Junior Harjo, just for being there. Ten years later, Carlos is a rising star among the U.S. marshals, with eight notches on his gun, including one for Emmett Long. Jack Belmont, the ne'er-do-well son of an oil baron, has one ambition-to become Public Enemy Number One-and lives life accordingly. Many of his schemes are hare-brained and misfire; some, like the massacre of seven Ku Klux Klansmen, have redeeming value; others, like the murder of his sidekick, Norm, can't be proved. When Jack challenges Carlos, and the two draw beads on each other, it is only a matter of time before one lies dead in the dirt. Leonard's 40th novel is a winner in the tradition of Get Shorty and Be Cool. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 1/05.]-Thomas L. Kilpatrick, Southern Illinois Univ. Lib., Carbondale Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Leonard's 40th novel sweetly revisits the Depression, when every Oklahoma kid dreamed of growing up to be a lawman or a gangster. The hot kid is Carl (ne Carlos) Webster, a young U.S. marshal out of Tulsa with so much fire in his belly that some folks wonder if he actually enjoys killing bad guys. But the sobriquet could apply just as easily to Jack Belmont, a wildcat oilman's son whose idea of a good time is raping an underaged girl, blackmailing his father about Nancy Polis, the mistress he's keeping in Sapulpa, and kidnapping Nancy when the old man brushes off the extortion attempt. Or even to Tony Antonelli, an Okmulgee reporter who finds his true calling when he shakes the facts from his feet and goes to work for True Detective Mystery determined to chronicle the adventures of Carl and Jack. The antagonists oblige by tangling again and again over a period from 1927 to 1934, swapping women, preening remarks, schemes and occasionally bullets. Along the way, there are bloody tangles with bank robbers, soiled law-enforcers, Klansmen, Kansas City ward-heelers, and aspiring gun molls like Louly Brown as wholehearted in their auditions as if they were aiming for Hollywood stardom-as in a sense they are. Although the body count is high, Carl and Jack emerge from each encounter as unscathed as Kabuki warriors, ready each time for a rematch for which they're more motivated than ever. Their persistent efforts to turn themselves into mythic heroes in the manner of Pretty Boy Floyd, the talismanic celebrity gangster forever just out of Louly's reach, echoes Bonnie and Clyde. But Leonard's sly take on the price of notoriety is a lot more genial and laid-back. The whole sepia-toned caravan, infact, is so relaxed that even the most violent felonies may leave you smiling. Leonard's gentle epic is as restorative as a month in the country. Author tour
Detroit Free Press
Praise for MR.PARADISE:“The dialogue and the characters crackle ...MR. PARADISE is a perfect crime caper from a master.”
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“Smart writing about dumb crooks.”
New York Times Book Review
“This is a novel that... is all about style, literary and otherwise.”
Los Angeles Times Book Review
“THE HOT KID brims with the sly humor, sparse prose and razor dialogue we expect from the master”
Oklahoma City Oklahoman
“The HOT KID is Elmore Leonard- a master- at his best.”
Providence Sunday Journal
“Wonderfully funny and hair-raising...THE HOT KID is splendid.”
Lexington Herald-Leader
“...delivers the goods in a top-notch amalgam of sagebrush western and mob drama.”
Tulsa World
“...Rips along like a bandit’s getaway car...THE HOT KID is Leonard at his best.”
Houston Chronicle
“...expertly crafted, deftly balanced.”
Deseret News
“His 40th crime novel—and he just keeps getting better and better. ”
Philadelphia Inquirer
Clear, fast-paced and masterfully structured.”
Boston Sunday Globe (Stephen King)
“Elmore Leonard unspools the definitive portrait of 1930s lowlife”
Boston Sunday Globe
"Elmore Leonard unspools the definitive portrait of 1930s lowlife"

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061827860
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
10/13/2009
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
400
Sales rank:
119,671
File size:
1 MB

Meet the Author

Elmore Leonard wrote more than forty books during his long career, including the bestsellers Raylan, Tishomingo Blues, Be Cool, Get Shorty, and Rum Punch, as well as the acclaimed collection When the Women Come Out to Dance, which was a New York Times Notable Book. Many of his books have been made into movies, including Get Shorty and Out of Sight. The short story "Fire in the Hole," and three books, including Raylan, were the basis for the FX hit show Justified. Leonard received the Lifetime Achievement Award from PEN USA and the Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America. He died in 2013.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Bloomfield Village, Michigan
Date of Birth:
October 11, 1925
Place of Birth:
New Orleans, Louisiana
Education:
B.Ph., University of Detroit, 1950
Website:
http://www.elmoreleonard.com/

Read an Excerpt

The Hot Kid

A Novel
By Elmore Leonard

William Morrow

ISBN: 0-06-072422-6


Chapter One

Carlos Webster was fifteen the day he witnessed the robbery and killing at Deering's drugstore. This was in the fall of 1921 in Okmulgee, Oklahoma.

He told Bud Maddox, the Okmulgee chief of police, he had driven a load of cows up to the yard at Tulsa and by the time he got back it was dark. He said he left the truck and stock trailer across the street from Deering's and went inside to get an ice cream cone. When he identified one of the robbers as Emmett Long, Bud Maddox said, "Son, Emmett Long robs banks, he don't bother with drugstores no more."

Carlos had been raised on hard work and respect for his elders. He said, "I could be wrong," knowing he wasn't.

They brought him over to police headquarters in the courthouse to look at photos. He pointed to Emmett Long staring at him from a $500 wanted bulletin and picked the other one, Jim Ray Monks, from mug shots. Bud Maddox said, "You're positive, huh?" and asked Carlos which one was it shot the Indian. Meaning Junior Harjo with the tribal police, who'd walked in not knowing the store was being robbed.

"Was Emmett Long shot him," Carlos said, "with a forty-five Colt."

"You sure it was a Colt?"

"Navy issue, like my dad's."

"I'm teasing," Bud Maddox said. He and Carlos' dad, Virgil Webster, were buddies, both having fought in the Spanish-American War and for a number of years were the local heroes. But now doughboys were back from France telling about the Great War over there.

"If you like to know what I think happened," Carlos said, "Emmett Long only came in for a pack of smokes."

Bud Maddox stopped him. "Tell it from the time you got there."

Okay, well, the reason was to get an ice cream cone. "Mr. Deering was in back doing prescriptions - he looked out of that little window and told me to help myself. So I went over to the soda fountain and scooped up a double dip of peach on a sugar cone and went to the cigar counter and left a nickel by the cash register. That's where I was when I see these two men come in wearing suits and hats I thought at first were salesmen. Mr. Deering calls to me to wait on them as I know the store pretty well. Emmett Long comes up to the counter -"

"You knew right away who he was?"

"Once he was close, yes sir, from pictures of him in the paper. He said to give him a deck of Luckies. I did and he picks up the nickel I'd left by the register. Hands it to me and says, 'This ought to cover it.'"

"You tell him it was yours?"

"No sir."

"Or a pack of Luckies cost fifteen cents?"

"I didn't say a word to him. But see, I think that's when he got the idea of robbing the store, the cash register sitting there, nobody around but me holding my ice cream cone. Mr. Deering never came out from the back. The other one, Jim Ray Monks, wanted a tube of Unguentine, he said for a heat rash was bothering him, under his arms. I got it for him and he didn't pay either. Then Emmett Long says, 'Let's see what you have in the register.' I told him I didn't know how to open it as I didn't work there. He leans over the counter and points to a key - the man knows his cash registers - and says, 'That one right there. Hit it and she'll open for you.' I press the key - Mr. Deering must've heard it ring open, he calls from the back of the store, 'Carlos, you able to help them out?' Emmett Long raised his voice saying, 'Carlos is doing fine,' using my name. He told me then to take out the scrip but leave the change."

"How much did he get?"

"No more'n thirty dollars," Carlos said. He took his time thinking about what happened right after, starting with Emmett Long looking at his ice cream cone. Carlos saw it as personal, something between him and the famous bank robber, so he skipped over it, telling Bud Maddox:

"I put the money on the counter for him, mostly singles. I look up - "

"Junior Harjo walks in," Bud Maddox said, "a robbery in progress."

"Yes sir, but Junior doesn't know it. Emmett Long's at the counter with his back to him. Jim Ray Monks is over at the soda fountain getting into the ice cream. Neither of them had their guns out, so I doubt Junior saw it as a robbery. But Mr. Deering sees Junior and calls out he's got his mother's medicine. Then says for all of us to hear, 'She tells me they got you raiding Indian stills, looking for moonshine.' He said something about Junior setting a jar aside for him and that's all I heard. Now the guns are coming out, Emmett Long's Colt from inside his suit . . . I guess all he had to see was Junior's badge and his sidearm, that was enough, Emmett Long shot him. He'd know with that Colt one round would do the job, but he stepped up and shot Junior again, lying on the floor."

There was a silence.

"I'm trying to recall," Bud Maddox said, "how many Emmett Long's killed. I believe six, half of 'em police officers."

"Seven," Carlos said, "you count the bank hostage had to stand on his running board. Fell off and broke her neck?"

"I just read the report on that one," Bud Maddox said. "Was a Dodge Touring, same as Black Jack Pershing's staff car over in France."

"They drove away from the drugstore in a Packard," Carlos said, and gave Bud Maddox the number on the license plate.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from The Hot Kid by Elmore Leonard Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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