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The Hot Kid (Carl Webster #1)

3.73  ·  Rating Details ·  3,325 Ratings  ·  316 Reviews
The Barnes & Noble Review When the The New York Times calls someone "the greatest crime writer of our time, perhaps ever," that's no small compliment. This talented author has shown an extraordinary range in his work, from westerns to crime stories (both contemporary and historical) to a novel about baseball and more.

In The Hot Kid, Elmore "Dutch" Leonard breaks new gr
Paperback, 400 pages
Published August 29th 2006 by HarperTorch (first published 2005)
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Best Manfiction
180th out of 1,210 books — 482 voters
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Books Set In Oklahoma
20th out of 117 books — 55 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jason Koivu
Sep 05, 2013 Jason Koivu rated it really liked it
Sad that it takes a man's death to get me to finally read one of his books...

And man, have I missed out!

Elmore Leonard writes the sort of straight-forward, workman-like prose that is a pleasure to read. You won't get much in the way of poetic flourishes or long meditations on human psyche. But his characters are rounded off believably and they are plenty colorful!

I'm a Leonard noob, but if The Hot Kid is typical of his work, then this is the sort of story-driven stuff I'll be returning to again
Jan 28, 2013 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: US marshals, gun molls, privileged little shits who rob banks
My first Elmore Leonard novel. He's a terse, pacey author, and The Hot Kid is pretty much Hollywood in a book, but a nicely-filmed Hollywood with engaging if not terribly deep characters.

It's a 1930s gangster piece. Carlos Webster is the son of a wealthy pecan farmer. At 15 he shot a man who was trying to rustle his cattle. His father observed, "Good lord, this one's got a tough bark on him." He also encounters a wanted felon who, in the course of robbing a store and shooting a tribal police off
Oct 22, 2014 Jim rated it liked it
More of a 2.5. Carl is a neat character, but the book encompassed a bit too much territory & didn't focus well enough for me. Leonard's gritty style chopped it up a bit too much as we skipped from character to character without really getting into any of them properly which was a shame, because he sketched out some dynamite ones.

There were a lot of good moments, but that's all they were. Also, the ending was too predictable. I've been told the 2d book isn't as good, but the 3d is better. I
Cathy DuPont
I like Carl Webster, the character. It sounds like he doesn't like his name Carlos, he doesn't like someone taking he ice cream cone and if he takes out his pistol, he's shooting to kill. Carl is one badass character who is a good guy.

This would have been so much better had I read it or someone else was narrator. Arliss Howard sounded bored about most of the first half of the book only "getting into it" the second half.

I love Elmore Leonard...he's the best.
Sep 03, 2013 Josh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, read_2013
Chronicling the kills of Carl Webster, a gun toting prodigy working as a US Marshal, THE HOT KID pits wanna-be gangsters and bank robbers (and some reluctant gun molls) against a man who is as much legend as the revered outlaws of the time.

Carl Webster was inducted into the life of crime at an early age when famous bank robber, Emmett Long robbed a store where Carl bought his ice cream as a kid. Long left a lasting impression on the young Carl, not only by killing an officer of the law but also
Ty Wilson
Oct 31, 2014 Ty Wilson rated it really liked it
Shelves: pulp-fiction, 2014, crime
The Hot Kid is an Elmore Leonard novel through and through. It follows Carl Webster, the new hotshot marshal in Prohibition-era Tulsa, as he quickly becomes a famous lawman because of his quick and deadly gun skills. Webster navigates a world filled with criminals, gun molls, whores and writers seeking to document the clash of good versus evil. This is a time of famous gangsters like John Dillinger, Pretty Boy Floyd and Baby Face Nelson, all of whom live large in the imagination of Leonard's cha ...more
This book came to my attention in an unusual way. I just listened to the audible version of NOS4A2 by Joe Hill and at the end the author gives some recommendations on audio books. 'The Hot Kid' was one that he praised so I used my next audible credit on it.

The story is set during the great depression and follows the early career of US Marshall Carl Webster. Carl kills a cattle rustler at age 15 and from then on gains the reputation of being a crack shot. He's also motivated by another incident w
May 01, 2016 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: completed
Elmore Leonard wrote some really good books full of quirky bandits and eccentric lawmen. This one is set in that 20's-30's era of Oklahoma and Southwestern U.S. banditry. Webster joins the U.S. Marshal service with the main goal of gunning down a robber who insulted him as a fifteen year old kid. With that accomplished fairly quickly, he becomes the "Hot Kid" -- being covered by a reporter from True Detective magazine only bolsters his fame. Soon, he is hunting fugitives and outlaws and coming o ...more
Eva Smith
Sep 17, 2013 Eva Smith rated it it was amazing
In one of life’s little coincidences, I was sorting through books and came across two by Elmore Leonard. I’d read them so long ago that I’d forgotten most of the plot points and the writing was so good that I gave both of them a re-read. Mr. Leonard picked that week to die so I saw it as a sign that I should seek out more of his books. Just finished “The Hot Kid.” Excellent.
Larry Edwards
Sep 23, 2015 Larry Edwards rated it it was amazing
Stephen King rates this as Leonard’s “best novel.” I don’t know that I would go that far — my favorite is Hombre — but I enjoyed it.

Two men, one (Carl Webster, grandson of Virgil Webster in Cuba Libre) wants to be a well-known U.S. marshal, the other (Jack Belmont) wants to be known as public enemy No. 1. Told in a folksy style, sentence fragments, colloquial grammar—even the narrative, although the narrator is never identified. I’m annoyed by the passive voice and the needless (and grammaticall
Mar 24, 2011 Debra marked it as to-read
Stephen King recommended book and author.

King says: "Leonard began his career (back when I was in diapers) writing Westerns. He finally achieved success in the '80s with urban shoot-'em-ups. In The Hot Kid he has combined both genres, producing a randy Bonnie-and-Clyde-era thrill ride featuring a U.S. marshal, a bank-robbing maniac who once tried to drown his sister in a pool, and a good-hearted woman with a shady past. It's Leonard's best novel since Get Shorty, maybe his best ever."

From Wikipe
Aug 07, 2011 Hayden rated it really liked it
The Hot Kid is a 1930's period piece that tells the story of a young and badass US Marshal straight out of the picture shows, an idiot with disillusioned dreams of spending his days with high-class bank robbers like John Dillinger and Pretty Boy Floyd, an Eye-talian journalist who always ends up in the middle of the madness, and a handful of ladies along for the ride; all interwoven in an expansive, Pulp Fiction-esque story.

Going into this I didn't really expect much. I found it on the shelf of
Benjamin Thomas
Nov 03, 2014 Benjamin Thomas rated it really liked it
Elmore Leonard is a writer after my own heart. He started with westerns and then turned to crime fiction, becoming one of the best selling crime fiction writers of all time. When I saw the audio book, "The Hot Kid" on the library shelves this time, I just couldn't pass it up because I knew I'd be in for a treat. I also needed a relatively short book this time so I could complete it before the end of the year. It was so good though that I made excuses to go driving just so I could hear more of th ...more
Jul 11, 2015 Patrick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story follows Carl Webster, who is a federal marshal, on the chase of bank robbers. The reader follows Carl throughout his youth and focuses upon his first seven years as a marshal in Oklahoma.

Within the storyline, the reader receives the perspective of the different characters, a trademark for the writer. The switch in perspectives allows the reader to see and feel the story from different angles. Moving around the point of view is not as pronounced in this work as in some others, only a f
Jul 26, 2014 Donna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
My first Elmore Leonard! I don 't think this was a mystery...more of a thriller. Setting is 1920s-30s Oklahoma with lots of moonshine, gun molls and Public Enemies. Wonderfully evokes the time period. Not my favorite book, but very well done.
Jeff Dickison
Apr 19, 2014 Jeff Dickison rated it it was amazing
A really, really good tale by Leonard. Story is of a hot shot U.S. Marchall in Oklahoma and Kansas City area during the depression years and one particular inept criminal he goes after. Highly recommended.
Jun 17, 2015 Jim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A bit too long and predictable, but Leonard is fun to read.
Tom Sakell
When reading Elmore Leonard, it's so easy to think it's summer beach reading. Breezy stuff, cartoon characters, fast pace.

Except Elmore Leonard is a really, really good. His characters have depth and quirks. They live by personal codes -- misguided or guided -- and are slaves to their instincts. Leonard loves no character more than a good plot twist; anyone's fair game for a quick demise.

In The Hot Kid, Leonard is writing a crime story in a Western setting. How bank robbers become part of a le
Jan 30, 2015 Kirse rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read 1/30/15.

This is the one about Carlos, a.k.a. Carl, Webster, the hot young U.S. Marshal of the 1930s, who got the bank robbers and murderers... He killed his first man, a would-be cattle rustler, at age 15.

The story has a great start, and a very laid back, chilled out tone. Characters include Tony Antonelli, the detective-magazine writer; Louly, the young woman who ran away from home and shot a bank robber, and Jack Somebody, the wacko cold-blooded killer, the son of a rich man.

I both rea
Kris - My Novelesque Life
Dec 04, 2014 Kris - My Novelesque Life rated it really liked it

"Before Elmore Leonard abandoned westerns to blaze across the pantheon of bestsellerdom with his hip, stylish thrillers, punctuated with dead-pan humor and dialogue worthy of a David Mamet play, he might have written The Hot Kid; it has some of the same crisp pacing and well-defined, if not especially complex, characters that marked his earlier novels. A show-down between Tulsa oil wildcatter and millionaire Oris Belmont and his 18-year-old son, who's attempting to shake him down, says
Dewayne Stark
Jul 03, 2014 Dewayne Stark rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This might be my last Leonard novel. Starts out strong, but then the conversations begin sounding familiar. This is probably a good beach book for some, but I found that the writing was a bit too breezy, the dialogue a bit too hip. At this point in his career, I'm tempted to say Leonard can write these in his sleep, but there's some nice historical details that shows he's not on auto-pilot. For those who like Leonard, and his period pieces, check out a lesser known title, The Moonshine War.
Nov 19, 2015 David rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-fiction
I bought this when it was a Kindle Daily Deal. I have observed that some books reappear as Kindle Daily Deals on a regular basis. The reappearance of this one is worth keeping an eye out for.

I read Important Modern Novels partially out of a sense of duty, but when I found myself in an antique land with a bacteria-driven case of the feverish shakes, I abandoned the IMN I was laboring through and went with Elmore Leonard to divert me until the inner man was sufficiently recovered to address a work
Jul 19, 2014 Peter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
my wife and me were shopping for books on our trip to Edinburgh. I decided I had all the books I wanted to buy on this trip, and even some more and decided to take a seat and wait for her to finish. While sitting there, this book caught my eye, and having heard some good thinks about Elmore Leonard I decided to add this book to my to buy pile. And it even became the first book from that bunch of books that I started reading.

This story happens in 30's in Oklahoma and is the story of a local lawme
Jan 27, 2016 Giles rated it it was amazing
Prior to reading this I'd have said my favourite Elmore Leonard books were his 70s crime capers. Swag, Stick, La Brava, Freaky Deaky et al, but boy oh boy I may have to reconsider now. Set in the mid-depression dustbowl we are plunged into the world of bank robbers and their molls where Pretty Boy Floyd is a folk hero and Bonnie and Clyde two-bit punks.

This is a total joy, such a breeze to read and chock full of patent Leonard characters, effortlessly captured and imbued with so many peculiar tr
Jan 22, 2016 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Laura by: Joe Hill
I'm a huge Elmore Leonard fan, but I usually gravitate toward his contemporary stories, side-stepping his westerns and Prohibition-era books. But Joe Hill recommended this audiobook (during his afterword in the NOS4A2 audiobook [which is terrific]) and I thought it would be the perfect listen while T. and I drove up to Door County and back.

Leonard capitalizes on a crime-rich period of American history and gives us U.S. Marshall Carl (Carlos) Webster and a host of good bad-guys and bad bad-guys.
Fuzzy Gerdes
Oct 01, 2007 Fuzzy Gerdes rated it it was amazing
The Hot Kid exists at the intersection of Westerns (it's set in Oklahoma), gangster stories (it's the 30s), and true-crime fiction (in a touch of meta, one of the characters writes for those sorts of magazines). And it's unmistakably Elmore Leonard. Yes, please.
Daniel Polansky
The entire time I spent reading this novel (admittedly, only like 4 or 5 hours) I was trying to figure out if I had read it before, but never exactly coming to a conclusion. In and of itself this actually isn't the most terrible thing you could say about a book – Ross McDonald's Lew Archer stuff are one big morass of genius in my mind – but Leonard is, bluntly, not Ross McDonald. The story of a US Marshall in the twenties who's really, really good at shooting people, and of all the people he sho ...more
Apr 28, 2014 Jamie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: the-wild-west
Summer’s almost over! I have to scarf down the last of my summer books, the ones made for sweltering afternoons and ice cold beers.

Louly is one of my favorite Elmore ladies. And Carl Webster? A hotshot, ice-cream-loving marshal by any other name...
Mar 27, 2015 Michelle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The late Elmore Leonard has created a cool, charismatic character in Carl Webster of the US Marshall’s service. Carl is a close second to my all-time favorite lawman, the incomparable Virgil Flowers of John Sandford’s series. The two seem to be cut from the same unassuming cloth, and have some of the same endearing qualities (at least to me). Like Virgil, Carl would rather reason his way toward justice, and in the 1930s, with bank robbers and bootleggers in their heyday, there is plenty of work ...more
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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
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