Dan Schwent 's Reviews > City Primeval

City Primeval by Elmore Leonard
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Apr 10, 13

bookshelves: crime-and-mystery, 2012, elmore-leonard, leonard
Read from September 02 to 04, 2012

Career criminal Clement Mansell killed a crooked judge and the only witness to the crime, the judge's girlfriend. Now, detective Raymond Cruz is trying to pin the crime on Clement but Clement is the slipperiest of worms. Cruz and Clement are heading for a showdown that only one of them will walk away from...

As of this writing, I've read 15 Elmore Leonard novels. Many of them have the same sort of rhythm. The bad guys are slick, the good guys are slicker, and you wind up liking most of them to some degree. This one doesn't quite fit in that mold.

The characters drive the story in City Primeval. Roger Cruz, the divorced detective trying to make his squad take him seriously, and Clement Mansell, the career criminal who might just be too slick for his own good, contrast one another nicely. The interaction between the pair make this cop story feel more like a modern western than anything else. Unlike a lot of Leonard antagonists, I couldn't wait for Mansell's has to get settled. He was a reprehensible worm and I had the literary equivalent of a screaming orgasm when he finally met his fate.

The supporting cast was a little light on personality but the two lead female supporting cast members contrasted one another almost as well as Cruz and Clement. Sandy was a pothead who lived in fear of Clement while Carolyn was a tough lady lawyer who was reluctant to let herself need anyone.

The writing was still Leonard's standard style but with a coldness where much of the humor would normally be. Of all the Elmore Leonard's I've read, this one would be the only one that I could see being at home in the Hard Case Crime series.

No complaints on this one. It was quick and breezy and a slight departure from Leonard's normal fare. Four easy stars.

Also posted at Shelf Inflicted
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Reading Progress

09/02/2012 page 39
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Comments (showing 1-21 of 21) (21 new)

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message 1: by Jason (new) - added it

Jason Koivu "I had the literary equivalent of a screaming orgasm..." = Best line I've read in a review in a long time!


message 2: by Jason (new) - added it

Jason Koivu Goodreads won't let me "like" this and that is annoying.


message 3: by Melki (new)

Melki Yes, I also had troubling "liking" this. I'm pretty sure they're out to get you, Dan.

Also, if you experience the literary equivalent of a screaming orgasm for longer than four hours, consult a physician - so he can tell all his doctor buddies and they can have a good laugh at your expense.


message 4: by Steve (new)

Steve I'm not totally sure on this, but I think this is where he switched from being a Western writer to a Crime writer (though the ending is right out of the old West). I remember liking it quite a bit.


message 5: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan Schwent Steve wrote: "I'm not totally sure on this, but I think this is where he switched from being a Western writer to a Crime writer (though the ending is right out of the old West). I remember liking it quite a bit."

I liked it a lot. Any idea if Raymond Cruz is in any of Leonard's other books?


message 6: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan Schwent Jason wrote: "Goodreads won't let me "like" this and that is annoying."

The problem appears to be widespread. I hope the girl in the rocking chair isn't affected.


message 7: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan Schwent Melki wrote: "Also, if you experience the literary equivalent of a screaming orgasm for longer than four hours, consult a physician - so he can tell all his doctor buddies and they can have a good laugh at your expense. "

I'm almost certain this is what doctors do as soon as they get home from work. "Honey, you're not going to believe this..."


message 8: by Steve (new)

Steve Dan wrote: "Steve wrote: "I'm not totally sure on this, but I think this is where he switched from being a Western writer to a Crime writer (though the ending is right out of the old West). I remember liking ..."

I don't think so, but I've probably been reading Leonard over a longer span of time (I can go years without reading him, and then all of sudden I'll knock a few off during the summer), so maybe I've missed something. As a familiar "type," you could probably find him in a large number of his crime novels.


message 9: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan Schwent He reminded me of the ATF agent from Rum Punch.


message 10: by Jason (new) - added it

Jason Koivu Dan wrote: "Jason wrote: "Goodreads won't let me "like" this and that is annoying."

The problem appears to be widespread. I hope the girl in the rocking chair isn't affected."


I have a growing hatred of the rocking chair girl...


message 11: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan Schwent Jason wrote: "I have a growing hatred of the rocking chair girl... "

We all do...


message 12: by Mark (new)

Mark I see Jason beat me to it but good grief, how fantastically in your face is

"literary equivalent of a screaming orgasm "


message 13: by Mark (new)

Mark actually I feel I ought to have re-read my comment before posting...it reads like an horrific double entendre


message 14: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan Schwent Mark wrote: "actually I feel I ought to have re-read my comment before posting...it reads like an horrific double entendre"

Hilarious!


James Thane Another nice review of a very good book. Fortunately, I am having no problems with the "like" button.


message 16: by Adam (new) - rated it 3 stars

Adam This is definitely in my top tier of Elmore Leonard's novels, along with Killshot, Tishomingo Blues, and 52 Pickup.

One of my favorite details was the two guys who have the picture of Jesus in their house, but it's not a painting, it's a photograph of a white guy dressed up like Jesus. Cruz can't get over how crazy that is, and he even brings another cop over just to see it, but the guy doesn't think it's that weird.

It's been awhile since I read this. Am I remembering that right?


message 17: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan Schwent That's right. I thought the Jesus photo was really odd.

Still need to read Tishomingo Blues.


message 18: by Adam (new) - rated it 3 stars

Adam I remember really feeling Cruz on that one. I'm always the guy who looks at something and says, "Isn't this really weird?" and other people just shrug and say "Whatever."

Tishomingo Blues is one of my favorites. There was a movie in the works with Don Cheadle and Matthew McConnaughey, which would have been great casting, but nothing ever came of it.


message 19: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan Schwent Is Cruz in any of Leonard's other books?


message 20: by Adam (last edited Sep 11, 2012 02:04PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Adam No, and there's actually a good reason why:

One of the biggest mistakes to appear in one of his novels was not the result of sloppy research, but the renaming of his protagonist in Split Images. Raymond Cruz, the cop from City Primeval, was supposed to move on to the next novel as a continuing character, but when Leonard's agent read the manuscript, the writer was told to change Cruz's name if he hoped to sell the screen rights. United Artists previously bought City Primeval and owns the character Raymond Cruz. (The screen version earned UA the Grand Prix de Literature Policiere in France in 1986.)

"My publisher, Arbor House, would rather have a movie sale than a continuing character," he said, "so I changed Raymond Cruz to Bryan Hurd and lightened his mustache a little. I changed the name throughout the manuscript, but missed one and as did the publisher’s proofreader. So, on one page of
Split Images the name of Raymond Cruz appears out of nowhere. It's not much of a mistake, though. I don't even remember which page it's on."

You can read the full article here: http://www.jeanhenrymead.com/elmore_leonard_interview.htm


message 21: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan Schwent That's a good interview.


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