The Hunted

The Hunted

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by Elmore Leonard

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Los Angeles Times Book Review

“Excellent….A plot and a chase as good as anything he has ever written.”
Bergan Record

In Elmore Leonard’s The Hunted, “crime fiction’s greatest living practitioner” (Washington Post)


Los Angeles Times Book Review

“Excellent….A plot and a chase as good as anything he has ever written.”
Bergan Record

In Elmore Leonard’s The Hunted, “crime fiction’s greatest living practitioner” (Washington Post) carries the action far from his usual Detroit, Miami, and Los Angeles milieus, all the way to the Middle East. There no lack of excitement and suspense—and the trademark Leonard dialogue—in this superior tale of a fugitive hiding under the radar in Israel, until a well-publicized Good Samaritan act attracts the unwanted attention of well-armed Motown mobsters who are now coming to get him. The author who introduced the world to U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens (in his novels Pronto and Riding the Rap, before the lawman became the star of the hit TV drama Justified), the Grand Master shows why the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel calls him “the all-time king of the whack job crime novelists,” and goes on to say that “Elmore Leonard tops them all”…including John D. MacDonald, Dashiell Hammett, James M. Cain, Robert B. Parker, and quite possibly every major mystery writer the U.S. has ever produced.

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THIS IS THE NEWS story that appeared the next day, in the Sunday edition of the Detroit Free Press, page one:


Tel Aviv, March 20 (AP)—A predawn fire gutted an eight-story resort hotel Saturday, killing four tourists and injuring 46 others, including guests who leaped from upper-story windows to escape the flames. No Americans were killed, but two were reported injured, including an Ohio woman who jumped from a fourth-floor window.

The blaze swept through the 200-room Park Hotel in Netanya, a Mediterranean resort city about 20 miles north of Tel Aviv.

About 20 Americans escaped from the fire, an American Embassy official said, including a tour group of 17 who arrived in Israel a week ago from Columbus, Ohio.

According to a state radio report, the Park's management had recently considered closing the building after receiving threats from protection racketeers who had failed to extort payments from the hotel's owners.

Firemen extinguished the flames after a seven-hour battle.

IN A SIX-COLUMN picture on the news-photo page of the Free Press, several elderly tourists who had escaped the fire were gathered in a group on the street, holding blankets around hunched shoulders. It was raining and they looked wet and cold. A dark, bearded man wearing white trousers, his chest and feet bare, stood apart from the group, somewhat in the background, and seemed to have been moving away when the picture was taken. The bearded man, glancing over his shoulder, was caught in that moment with a startled, open-mouthed expression.

The picture caption repeated most of the facts from the page-one story andquoted Mr. Nathan Fine, leader of the Columbus tour group, as saying, "It's a miracle we're alive. There was somebody went up and down the halls banging on doors, getting people out, telling them to put wet towels over their heads and follow him—crawl along the hall to the outside stairway in back. He must have saved the lives of twenty people. It was lucky, I'll tell you, those stairs were outside, or nobody would be here now."

The man who had gone up and down the halls banging on doors was not identified by name. Outside the hotel that rainy Saturday morning, no one seemed to know who he was or where he had gone.


ROSEN FIRST NOTICED the tourist lady on Friday, the day before the fire. He saw her and said to himself, New York.

She had the look—a trim forty-year-old who kept herself together: stylish in a quiet way, neatly combed dark hair and sunglasses; tailored beige sundress, about a size eight or ten; expensive cane-trimmed handbag hanging from her shoulder; nothing overdone, no camera case, no tourist lapel badge that said "Kiss Me, I'm Jewish." Rosen, watching her walk past the cafe, liked her thin legs, her high can, and her sensible breasts.

In Netanya the main street came in from the Haifa Road, crossed railroad tracks, and passed through crowded blocks of shops and business places before reaching an open parkway of shrubs and scattered palm trees—Netanya's promenade. Beyond were the beach road and the sea. Looking down on the park were hotels and flat-faced apartment buildings. On the ground level of these buildings were shops that sold oriental rugs and jewelry to tourists, and open-air cafes with striped awnings. One of the cafes, on the north side of the park, was the Acapulco. There Rosen had his midmorning coffee with hot milk, and there he was sitting when he first noticed the trim, New York-looking tourist lady.

He saw her again that evening at a quarter of ten in a beige pantsuit and red Arab jewelry, with red earrings dangling below neatly combed dark hair. He imagined she would smell of bath powder.

She pretended to be interested in looking at things—at signs, at the bill of fare on the stucco wall of the cafe—smiling a little now at the way "Bloody Mery" was spelled, and "Manhatan" and "te." She needed something to look at, Rosen decided, because she was self-conscious, feeling people at the tables looking at her and making judgments in Hebrew and in foreign languages. She maintained a pleasant expression, wanting people to like her.

Rosen never worried about what people thought. Years ago, developing confidence, yes, he'd used to say, "Fuck 'em." Now he didn't even think about people thinking. He felt good and he looked good, a new person: face deeply tanned, full beard with streaks of gray in it. Hair a little thin on top, but the way he combed it across on a slant, curling over his ears, his scalp didn't show. He never wore suits anymore. Dark blue knit shirt open to show the pale blue choker beads and some chest hair. Contrast was the key. The faded, washed-out safari jacket with short sleeves and the fifteen-hundred-dollar gold wristwatch. The outdoor look. The sun-blackened forearms and hands. Authentic casual. Off-white trousers, lined, seventy-five bucks in the U.S., and ten-dollar Israeli sandals. (There were other combinations: fifteen-dollar faded Levi's with two-hundred-dollar Swiss boots; cashmere sportcoat and French jeans. But no business or even leisure suits, no matching outfits.)

He felt that he looked very good, in fact, down to one-forty-nine from the hundred and seventy pounds he had carried for more than twenty years. He was also down to five-nine from the five-ten he had measured when he'd gotten out of the service, but that didn't bother him. He still considered himself five-ten and tried to remember not to let his shoulders droop or his gut hang out.

He could hold himself up and in and still sit low, relaxed—the quiet man who knew where he was—a thumb hooked in a tight pants pocket and a pencil-thin Danneman cigar between the fingers of his hand on the metal table. The thumb remained hooked; he would use his cigar hand to raise the demitasse of Turkish coffee.

Rosen was always comfortable in his surroundings. A few days in a new place, like Netanya, and he was at home and would never be taken for a tourist. And after three years in Israel—three years next week—he felt he might even pass for a Sabra. Rosen was forty-nine and had been forty-nine for the past year and a half. Sometimes he was younger. For the neat-looking tourist lady, if age came up, he would probably be around forty-six.

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

Bloomfield Village, Michigan
Date of Birth:
October 11, 1925
Place of Birth:
New Orleans, Louisiana
B.Ph., University of Detroit, 1950

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