May 13, 12
Not that Leonard needs a plug. But while Glitz was his first best-seller, I always preferred LaBrava. The title character is a former secret service agent turned pro artsy photographer. He suffers regrets over the only time he had to kill someone. Soon he runs afoul of a crazy ex-cop the force is well rid of. Next his mentor/friend and a sultry ex-starlet are threatened in an extortion scheme. LaBrava is happy to help, but soon notices that some aspects of the case resemble plot elements from the star's movies. A coincidence? A deranged fan? What's the answer?
This novel has more plot than most Leonard books. There is a narrative flow to the character's actions, and actual plot twists. With that comes the thorough character development and crisp dialogue Leonard is known for. There is one exception, a villain who is too threatening and deranged to be believable, especially given his background.
The hero is likable and effective, his friends, the female lead, one of the villains, are all interesting to follow as they move the plot. There is not a wasted scene, there is always something happening, some point to the scene.