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Valdez Is Coming

3.98  ·  Rating Details ·  1,496 Ratings  ·  136 Reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published February 5th 2002 by HarperTorch (first published 1970)
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Community Reviews

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James Thane
Apr 27, 2012 James Thane rated it really liked it
Shelves: western
Bob Valdez is a small-town constable who also rides shotgun for a stage coach company. He arrives home one Saturday afternoon to find that much of the town has gathered around a shack on the outskirts of town. The wealthiest man around--a Mr. Tanner--has identified a man he saw in town as an Army deserter and murderer. The accused has taken refuge in the shack along with his Indian woman who is pregnant.

Valdez attempts to defuse the situation but is forced to kill the accused man when one of the
Apr 13, 2013 Melki rated it really liked it
Shelves: western
"You ride to Mr. Tanner, all right? Tell him Valdez is coming. You hear what I said? Valdez is coming."

He is two men.

First, there was Roberto Valdez, born of Mexican parents in the United States Territory of Arizona. He was an Apache tracker and worked for a stagecoach company.

Then there is Bob Valdez, a part-time constable who wears a suit and knows his place.

He will need to be both men when a pissing contest with a wealthy local escalates into a war.

"Roberto Valdez returned," she said.
He smile
Sep 10, 2012 Tfitoby rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: western
“You tell him I’m coming! You tell him I’m fucking comiiiing!”

Terence Stamp in The Limey is my favourite example of the type of character Bob Valdez becomes. He doesn't care about the odds, he will do what it takes to ensure those responsible do what is right or die trying. It's this certainty that he is right whilst having no fear of dying in its pursuit that makes Bob Valdez such an interesting character. The fact that he is constantly underestimated by everyone around him only serves to heigh
Feb 26, 2013 Jim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I listened to this as a short story in The Complete Western Stories of Elmore Leonard. The first chapter of this book is a cut down version of that & the rest of the book has a totally different tone.

The setup of the situation in the first chapter was masterful as was the portrayal of Tanner. The way Valdez & Tanner got Valdez into the situation was a devilishly clever by Leonard. The more I think about it, the better I like it.

It had a lot of pretty good action, but the motivations did
I finished this about eleven last night and sure enjoyed it but I believe I liked the movie better so I will watch it again maybe today. The end of it annoyed me a little which is why I didn't give it 5 stars. I believe I liked the movie ending better but have forgotten most of it. I recommend for anyone who likes westerns.
Richard Vialet
Quiet, part-time town constable Roberto Valdez is called in when a mob has tracked down a black man who is accused by Tanner, a rich businessman in town, of being an Army deserter and murderer. Roberto tries to diffuse the situation and is forced to shoot the man, who was holed up in a house with his pregnant girlfriend and turned out to be totally innocent. When Valdez goes to Tanner to ask for reparations for the man's wife, Tanner's crew beats Roberto and tries to crucify him, leaving him for ...more
Kurt Reichenbaugh
Apr 26, 2012 Kurt Reichenbaugh rated it really liked it
Shelves: western
Read this for a book club. First of Leonard's westerns I've read. Pulls you in right from the start as Valdez gets caught up in the persecution and death of an innocent man. Valdez attempts at a civil restitution are rebuffed, again and again, until it's time to pull out the guns.
Aug 05, 2016 Thomas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Western fans
Shelves: leonard, western
I have been reading Elmore Leonard books for 35 years and enjoyed each and every book. I have read all but a few of his books and decided to read this one after watching the 1971 movie version with Burt Lancaster as Bob Valdez a few nights ago. Bob Valdez is a quiet Mexican American, part time deputy and part time stagecoach shotgun rider. He comes upon a bunch of men in front of a cabin, shooting at the cabin. He asks what is going on. He is told that there is a man in the cabin suspected of ki ...more
This was the first time I've ever read a Western novel. I've had a few on my to-read list but never gotten around to them. Set somewhere along the US-Mexico border this is a classic story of revenge. After rich local crime boss Tanner causes Valdez to kill an innocent man. Valdez seeks retribution money for the dead man's wife and unborn child. Tanner declines Valdez by almost killing him. That's the wrong thing to do to Valdez.

I was looking for a bit more in this book though. It just seemed to
May 23, 2013 Col rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013, l
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
Jan 17, 2013 Dominick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: western
Well, this is a dandy western. It's lean and economical (only about 140 pages), very straightforward and linear in structure (our hero sets out to get compensation for a widow, is rebuffed and tortured, but of course turns around and comes hell-bent for payback), but with good meat in its sketchy but complex (well, within the limits of hyper-macho lit) characterization--a scene in which we track the death of a minor character is especially nice. It's mostly predictable, a good example of its typ ...more
Sep 29, 2012 wally rated it really liked it
Shelves: leonard
this here will be the...13th tale from leonard for me...and...the 1st western...this, on the cover (kindle) : "a classic tale of western justice from nyt bestselling author elmore leonard" below that: "a leonard novel that still holds up as one of his very best." washington post book world.

cover: has this cool marlboro man scene, cowboy on horseback, leading a pack horse, mountains in the background...happy little lake...

looks to be 9 chapters...heh! has a section called "praise" ha ha ha ha ha!
Lily Gardner
May 20, 2013 Lily Gardner rated it it was amazing
I've read a ton of Elmore Leonard. I love his dialogue, his authority and his wit. I like his spare style. This is the first western that I've read of his, and if it were by anyone other than Elmore Leonard or Cormac McCarthy I wouldn't have tried it. To my surprise I liked it even more than his crime novels.

There's more of the landscape in this novel than is typical of his crime novels: "A mile across the grazing land and then up into the foothills, following a gully and angling out of it, cli
Ed [Redacted]
Oct 15, 2015 Ed [Redacted] rated it really liked it
Everything Leonard ever wrote is worth reading. This particular book is an excellent example of an Elmore Leonard Western novel. As engaging as any of his Detroit or Miami based crime novels, this book should be less than it is. The plot is of the "hardheaded old west guy gets his revenge against powerful, rich rancher guy" variety that is the base of seemingly one third of the Western novels and movies ever produced. Despite this fatal flaw, or flaw one would think would be fatal, this book is ...more
Jun 21, 2010 Adam rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, western
This is the best of Elmore Leonard's westerns that I've read so far. He expertly uses the "they didn't know who they were messing with" concept that he would later put to such great effect in one of his best crime novels, 52 Pick-Up.
Heath Lowrance
Feb 22, 2012 Heath Lowrance rated it it was amazing
I've read a huge chunk of Elmore Leonard's work over the years, but this was my first Western of his. Seriously very glad I finally got to it, as it's one of his best.

Valdez is a lawman who gets zero respect, hired basically to do thankless grunt work. He's not taken seriously by the town's governing bodies (or anyone else, really), and when they need someone to roust a black man with an Indian wife, holed up in a cabin, they tag Valdez to do it. Valdez is forced to kill the man-- who turns out
Mark Stone
Jan 13, 2014 Mark Stone rated it it was amazing
I sat down late yesterday afternoon to read Valdez Is Coming. I never stopped until finishing it. This, this is what a Western (or any story from any genre) should be. The characters for the most part are neither good people nor bad people, each with validation for what they do, each roaming in the gray area we all do. The main character Valdez is one of the most fascinating characters I've come across. After being humiliated and mistreated, he will do just about anything for vengeance and does, ...more
Nov 09, 2012 Adrian rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Elmore Leonard is currently enjoying one of those critical re-evaluation periods that see a writer previously regarded as lowbrow or populist elevated to some kind of canonical great hope for literature status - in some people's minds. I don't think it makes sense in his case. This early western is impressively cinematic, but considering it's structured like a pretty conventional thriller it really isn't thrilling at all, and the themes are pretty tired if you've watched more than a couple of we ...more
I'd give this one a 3.5 to be fair. The book keeps you reading and there is the hint of interest in the characters but I feel that is a false sense of character. You feel like you are getting invested in a character but this is a western, and part of the appeal or genre characteristic of westerns is that they are the the story of a man measuring his character against nature, other men, and himself. So you are shown the character of your character. All the same, the characters in this story were ...more
Aug 31, 2014 Kgwhitehurst rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A man chooses his actions; he cannot choose the consequences. Bob Valdez, the part-time town constable chooses to try and bring a peaceful end to a stand-off. Another man, Frank Tanner, chooses to use Valdez's good intentions for his own ends. It costs the man in the middle of the stand-off his life. Valdez and Tanner come into direct conflict when Valdez insists that the dead man's woman receive compensation for his death. The dead man wasn't the murdering, deserting soldier everybody'd been co ...more
Sep 05, 2014 Patrick rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: westerns
This is a simple tale of vengeance where everybody cusses a lot, but Elmore makes it interesting by developing the idea that "A man can be in two different places and he will be two different men."

What the villains in this story learn too late is that Bob Valdez, the part-time constable who gets along with everyone, is the same man "who had been a contract guide when General Crook chased Geronimo down into the Madres." That Bob Valdez was once "in charge of the Apache police at Whiteriver," whe
Scott E
Mar 17, 2009 Scott E rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-fiction
Pay the $2.00 already!

Valdez is Coming quickly establishes that familiar Elmore Leonard feel, especially of his 1970s crime fiction...and for that reason alone it's worth reading. Valdez also quickly establishes the revenge format that Westerns seem so fit for. I was a little disappointed in how little it took to kick off the revenge aspect Valdez fulfilled. Maybe it was because he really didn't have anything at family, no real friends, no possessions to be taken away from him. Leona
Tero Vainio
Oct 04, 2013 Tero Vainio rated it it was amazing
Haven't read that many western novels, but I doubt they come better than this short, laconic masterpiece. This is existential territory, a man being shaped by his actions. Valdez's reaction to his circumstances seems monomanic, but is motivated by his sense of honor and justice. He is a man, but he is also a concept being formed, under the blazing sun and under the readers' eyes. And after all this hard, violent stuff, at the end Leonard lets the story fly away like a feather, while yet another ...more
May 09, 2014 Darren rated it really liked it
Shelves: dusters
Leonard did everything right, here. His sparing use of description suits the badlands of the West. The plot is simple: A small town constable wants restitution for a woman done wrong. And he's coming to get it.
T.W. Dittmer
May 23, 2012 T.W. Dittmer rated it it was amazing
Shelves: westerns
Elmore Leonard knows how to write a guy's book.

No fancy words, no long sentences, just straight-out, good story-telling.
Jun 09, 2015 Carl rated it liked it
El Classico, great western!
May 23, 2017 Tdiclementi rated it really liked it
Fun as usual with an Elmore Leonard book.
Alex Van Beek
I just didn't care what happened in this story. I love a good Western, and all the elements for one are here: the outlaw with a heart of gold, the dastardly villain, revenge, the shooting, the whiskey, the whores; and, of course, the woman who needs to be saved. But these parts are like when you buy the same exact puzzle to replace pieces you lost from a first set; everything fits together, but you can see where pieces stick out and don't gel with the whole big picture. Elmore Leonard has constr ...more
Apr 25, 2017 Ted rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: western
Pretty standard western fare. Short enough to read in one day and entertaining enough to keep you engaged for the whole book. The characters reminded me of archetypes Elmore Leonard and other writers would use in noir like "The Limey." Not a classic but a good weekend book.
Rebecca K
Feb 16, 2015 Rebecca K rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, western
If you know anything about Elmore Leonard's style, you've probably been told one of two things: His prose is "spare," and the way he writes dialogue is beyond compare (him and Mark Twain. They can listen to people, and write the way people talk--a deceptively difficult skill to master). Leonard's dislike of adverbs, of any speech attribution other than "said," of prologues--of any superfluous words--has been well and truly immortalized in his 10 Rules of Writing that he wrote for the New York Ti ...more
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Pulp Fiction: May 2013 - Valdez Is Coming 57 78 Aug 31, 2013 03:24PM  
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Elmore John Leonard lived in Dallas, Oklahoma City and Memphis before settling in Detroit in 1935. After serving in the navy, he studied English literature at the University of Detroit where he entered a short story competition. His earliest published novels in the 1950s were westerns, but Leonard went on to specialize in crime fiction and suspense thrillers, many of which have been adapted into m ...more
More about Elmore Leonard...

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“A man can be in two different places and he will be two different men. Maybe if you think of more places he will be more men, but two is enough for now.” 13 likes
“Leave out the parts that readers tend to skip.” 1 likes
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