52 Pickup

52 Pickup by Elmore Leonard Read Free Book Online

Book: 52 Pickup by Elmore Leonard Read Free Book Online
Authors: Elmore Leonard
held on Cable. “So one man’s going to stand us off.”
    â€œThat’s all it’s taken so far.”
    Hombre (1961)
    John Russell has been raised as an Apache. Now he’s on his way to live as a white man. But when the stagecoach passengers learn who he is, they want nothing to do with him — until outlaws ride down on them and they must rely on Russell’s guns and his ability to lead them out of the desert. He can’t ride with them, but they must walk with him or die.
    Western Writers of America: “One of the twenty-five best Western novels of all time.”
    San Francisco Chronicle : “Thrilling.”
    From the novel:
    [“Carl Everett Allen” is recalling how he came to write this account.]
    At first I wasn’t sure at all where to begin. When I asked advice, this man from the Florence Enterprise said begin at the beginning, the day the coach departed from Sweetmary with everybody aboard. Which sounded fine until I got to doing it. Then I saw it wasn’t the beginning at all. There was too much to explain at one time. Who the people were, where they were going and all. Also, starting there didn’t tell enough about John Russell.
    He is the person this story is mainly about. If it had not been for him, we would all be dead and there wouldn’t be anybody telling this. So I will begin with the first time I ever saw John Russell. . . .
    [S]ome of my ideas about John Russell at the time are embarrassing to put on paper. But I was advised to imagine I was telling it to a good friend and not worryabout what other people might think. Which is what I have done. If there’s anything anybody wants to skip, like innermost thoughts in places, just go ahead.
    The Moonshine War (1969)
    The hill folk of Broke-Leg Country, Kentucky, believed that if the good Lord meant for corn to grow, He also meant for it to be distilled, in spite of the passage of a Federal law called the 18th Amendment, or Prohibition. And if a man wanted to get some really good sippin’ whiskey, Son Martin was the one to see. Son not only made the best moonshine in the area, but it was rumored that he had hidden somewhere on his hill farm his old daddy’s cache of 150 barrels of eight-year old corn whiskey. Of course nobody had ever found any of the liquor, but Son never said that it wasn’t there.
    Then one day the tranquility of Broke-Leg County was interrupted by the sudden appearance of Frank Long, an old army buddy of Son’s who knew about the whiskey and was not a Prohibition agent. But his presence had a different purpose than his job as a revenue man. Frank wanted the hidden whiskey to bootleg on his own, and he was willing to use his official position to get it.
    In the attempt, he set neighbor against neighbor, and the Moonshine War was on. Involved were Prohibition agents, Louisville gangsters, and local moonshiners, and as the hills of Kentucky rang with their gunshots, each side fought to learn Son’s secret. As the bullets got thicker, Son was left alone, standing on his principles and waiting for his chance to bring the War to its startling and unexpected climax.
    The New York Times : “Before Leonard tackled Detroit’s mean streets, he turned out a handful of backwoods crime novels, including this rough-edged little jewel. It’s no surprise that the Big Boys want to take over Son Martin’s still. After all, Son makes the best whiskey in Marlett, Kentucky: ‘He let his mash sit a full six or seven days and didn’t put a lot of devilment in it, like buckeye beans or carbide or lye.’ Archetypes fly as fast as fists in this mythic exploration of the rugged individualist as whiskey-maker.”
    Valdez Is Coming (1970)
    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 madesure he had no

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