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Forty Lashes Less One (2002)

Forty Lashes Less One (2002)

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3.88 of 5 Votes: 1
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0380822334 (ISBN13: 9780380822331)

About book Forty Lashes Less One (2002)

Surprisingly funny Western that takes place mostly within the walls of Yuma prison in the early part of the 20th century. Harold is the only black inmate at the soon-to-be-closed Yuma, and Raymond is the only Indian, which makes them the targets of derision. Shelby, a prisoner with connections, makes their lives hell, until the new warden, Mr. Manly, takes a special interest in the pair and decides to elevate their confidence in the hopes he can bring them to Jesus. Harold and Raymond eventually form a bond, based on their desire to be like the warriors of their ancestry. When Shelby and his cohorts plan an escape, Manly relies on the misfits to bring the fugitives to justice.I loved how the central characters were nothing like your standard Western heroes-- like pretty much every character in the book, they aren't too bright and they aren't too heroic. But there's something very likable about both of them. There's a scene about mid-way through FORTY LASHES LESS ONE that was pure Leonard humor, where Warden Manly is trying to explain some finer points of the Bible to the boys, who are clearly not getting it. It's presented in the sort of dead-pan way that Leonard would later become famous for, and reminded me once again why his dialogue is so enviable.The very last paragraph made me laugh out loud.

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.

Do You like book Forty Lashes Less One (2002)?

Mr Majestyk, When the Women Come Out to Dance, Raylan, & Pronto are all excellent & should be to your taste, Mike. I didn't see that you liked westerns, but any of his are good, better than this one, even. Hombre & Valdez Is Coming are both excellent. If you liked the movies, the books are slightly better. (It's hard to beat Paul Newman in "Hombre" even on paper.)

This is the first Elmore Leonard book that I have read and I must admit I was somewhat disappointed in it. However, I think it was more of the story and setting than anything else. Leonard is definitely a remarkable writer and I plan on reading more of his stuff. Wasn't too impressed with this story however. It takes too long to go anywhere. The last 20-30 pages are great though and I was impressed on how quickly he wrapped it all up without it seeming rushed. Even with my disappointment, I'm looking forward to trying out other books of his.
—Cody Gardner

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