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» » Forty Lashes Less One (Thorndike Press Large Print Western Series)
Forty Lashes Less One (Thorndike Press Large Print Western Series)


Elmore Leonard


Forty Lashes Less One (Thorndike Press Large Print Western Series)


Literature & Fiction

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1707 kb

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1214 kb

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1646 kb

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Thorndike Pr (May 1, 1989)




Genre Fiction



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Forty Lashes Less One (Thorndike Press Large Print Western Series) by Elmore Leonard

Stuck in the hellhole of Yuma Prison, Harold Jackson and Raymond San Carlos realize their only opportunity for freedom is the "offer" they are given to track down the five most ruthless men in Arizona
we begin in prison, a derelict place in the middle of nowhere, Arizona. an interim warden arrives with a new prisoner, a big black, taciturn man. before we know it, the warden, a failed Pentecostal preacher, is up to all kinds of foolishness, and the new prisoner begins an unlikely friendship with an Apache prisoner. by the end of the novel, we're on a cross-country manhunt, full of satisfying denouement as only the master can write it.
Forty Lashes Less One was a return to Leonard's western genre. Set in a desert prison, the story centers around the conflict-turned friendship between an African American and a Native American. This book is a bit more gritty than some of Leonard's books that I have read to date. The liberal use of the dreaded "N-word" throughout the book, although likely accurate to the culture of the time period, made me feel a bit uncomfortable as I read the book. The book has an interesting group of characters ranging from the seasoned prison guard to the preacher-turned-warden, Mr. Manly.

I have to say that the end of the book was surprising and the very last line made me laugh out loud as it turns into the ending that, as a reader, I would have hoped for. It made the characters more believable.

Overall, this was not Leonard's best book, but still showed some of his development as a writer.
Some minor spoilers included

When I was looking at the synopsis for this book it said it was about a Native American and an African American Union Soldier who were both released from prison in order to track down outlaws. I thought it was going to be a really cool bounty hunter drama, like the first hour of Django Unchained. But that isn't what it really is.

The book is mostly a prison drama. The above synopsis takes up only the final 10% of the book (I was reading on a kindle so I don't have any page numbers). Its about life in prison when a new warden takes over, a warden that believes in new techniques in trying to rehabilitate these men. He chooses the two leads as his personal pet projects and inspires them to embrace their inner warrior and it leads to them going from anonymous prisoners to two people who the rest of the population looks at in awe of because of their radical transformation. Once enemies, the two become friends as they spent time in prison learning to run for miles without stopping for water or how to accurately throw a spear, to become the perfect trackers.

I was upset that it wasn't an all action thriller, but in retrospect I guess that's not Leonard's style. It wasn't the story that I expected, but what I got instead turned out to be a very pleasant surprise.
The master at work. We lost Elmore over a year ago and this is one of his earlier works from his Western canon, published in 1972. You can see the emergence of that wonderful ear for dialogue, the economy of words, the pitch-perfect characterisation. Truth be told, I'm more a fan of Leonard's modern crime stories but this is an outstanding example of his early frontier fiction. It is also brilliantly funny. It's the story of two prisoners at Yuma Correctional, a native American and an African American, sworn enemies who spend a lot of time fighting each other until they come to the notice of the prison's new director, a church-loving man who takes them under his wing and gets them to embrace their native genes. Throw in an escape plan, a guard who plays peeping tom to the two female prisoners at bath time, and a whole lot of one upmanship and you've got an early Elmore classic.
If you've never read Elmore Leonard , shame on you. The story takes place in Yuma prison, the story line is great , characters are fantastic. The description of prison life in those days, I don't know how he comes up with it. Mr. Leonard passed away last year, he will be missed, one of the greatest writers that ever lived in this country, maybe in the world. To me , L. Lamour does not hold a candle to Elmore Leonard westerns
Elmore Leonard is a great writer and historian. Loved the story.
Great delivery and book in excellent condition.
Another humdinger! Elmore Leonard spins yarns so engaging that one can barely put his book down. A prison story set in early 20th century Arizona that is timeless. Sleazy cons, corrupt guards, and a clueless warden. Throw in a couple of female prisoners and things get interesting.
I read this book years ago. I just had to have the Kindle version.

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