This is one of the few books I’ve written about this year, which I’ve been disappointed in. It’s not a terrible novel, nothing of the kind, but like the promise of a cappuccino in North America, I was underwhelmed with what I received.
This could be for a number of reasons, and some having nothing to do with Mr Peter Leonard and his writing. For starters, the book I read before this was Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian which I’m still reeling from. And, a second novel carries a weight. Third, the author is no doubt wedged beneath the heel of his father’s writing boots. How do you scrape yourself out of the shadow of Elmore Leonard? Why, when your dad is such a legend, would you even try this writing caper? I know, I know, when you have to do it, you have to do it. Why do you think I tap out this blog…
I have experienced a past obsession with Elmore Leonard novels – the ‘crime’ ones in particular. A few years ago I would have been able to draw you a mud map of Detroit and its surrounds, so was my attention taken by them. And to be perfectly honest it was Peter Leonard’s parentage which attracted me to his book, Trust Me, and the word on his first novel, Quiver, which I haven’t read. Not that his novels don’t sound like my kind of thing – fast-paced thrillers etc – nor do they sound exactly like Daddio’s kind of thing, (well, you know, he has a few things) but it’s hard to get away from your parent’s reputation.
So here we have Trust Me. Essentially a bunch of not-so-good-guys all trying to get their hands on a wad of cash, that technically belongs to our ‘heroine’ but she’s not really going the right way about getting it back. No one in this story seems to think much through, I’m surprised they don’t all end up on the wrong end of a handgun (though quite a few of them do).
I just didn’t give a particular damn about anyone in this book. Not that you necessarily need to in a crime-y thriller type of thing. But something has to keep you gripped; strapped in for the ride. It might be addictive dialogue, palm-sweating fear, heart-thumping thrills, wry humour, believing the unbelievable, there has to be something. And I’m afraid for Trust Me, there just wasn’t much for this reader. Perhaps whatever I read after Mr McCarthy’s epic story was going to fail, perhaps I was too taken with Toronto and all its distractions… perhaps I wanted Elvis and got Lisa Marie.
Canadian depository: The Canadian Train from Toronto to Vancouver, day 2.