Book info

Cat Chaser (2005)

Cat Chaser (2005)
Rating
3.6 of 5 Votes: 1
ISBN
075381966X (ISBN13: 9780753819661)
languge
English
publisher
phoenix
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Cat Chaser (2005)
Cat Chaser (2005)

About book: Continuing with my recent pulp-crime kick I turned to the biggest name in the genre, Mr. Elmore Leonard. I had previously read killshot and watched the series 'Justified,' and any avid movie-goer has probably seen one of the many adaptations of his works ('Get Shorty,' '52 Pick-Up,' 'Out of Sight,' and 'Jackie Brown,' for instance). He is pretty darn good, and extremely prolific. Furthermore, unlike a certain horror novelist who's dominant on the bestseller scene, Leonard's quality does not seem to have diminished with his ubiquity. Perhaps this is because he is not, despite his generic tendencies, married to a particular brand of fiction. His scope strikes me as wider, and his style is more elastic than that of Stephen King. And, subjectively speaking, I feel he is a far better writer. That having been said, Cat-Chaser was a mild disappointment, with clunky dialogue, some lazy literary conceits, and some unrealistic coincidences framing the story. It concerns a recently-divorced protagonist, George, who got to keep the Miami resort motel he owned with his ex and little else. No matter, the former marine is content to shuffle through his existence, until suddenly, Nolen, a P.I. and former airborne officer in the same obscure conflict George was in, happens to take up a room in his motel. This coincidence on its own is quite a surprise as the seldom-remembered conflict was the 1963 one in the Dominican Republic—another American intervention intended to stop the spread of communism which nearly did the opposite. What's more, Nolen is at George's motel to surveil the sister of the ousted general of that same conflict. Also, General de Boya is married to George's one-that-got-away socialite friend Mary, whom he is still pining over. By another silly coincidence, Nolen has arrived at the motel the same week George had planned to go to the Dominican Republic on a sort of pilgrimage. Guess who meets up with him in D.R.? That's right, Mary the socialite. It's just a bit much, even if it serves the plot. On top of that, while he has written women characters quite believably in other novels, Mary's character is basically phoned in. For that matter so is Nolen's. There's all this artificial setup and then, mercifully, the two main conflicts are properly introduced. One is the infamous general's jealousy, which was inevitable, and the other is Nolen's getting George mixed up in a scheme to get General Andres' money. I've spent far more time talking about this book than it deserves, but there you go. Not really recommended to anyone but a diehard fan.

In the mid-1960s, George Moran was a young Marine caught up between competing factions in the Dominican Revolution. A young girl tried to kill him and then saved his life. Years later, George owns a marginally successful motel in Florida. He determines to make a sentimental journey back to Santo Domingo to visit the scene of his most memorable youthful experiences.He also determines to try to find the woman who saved his life. In a twist of fate, though, he discovers instead a woman named Mary de Boya who was a casual acquaintance a few years earlier when George was married and moving in the upper circles of Miami society.George and Mary begin a torrid affair which is made much more dangerous than the usual, run-of-the-mill torrid affair because Mary's older husband is a multi-millionaire who was once a high-ranking military officer in the Dominican Republic. He has a reputation as a man who tortured and killed countless members of the opposition in the DR before he escaped one step ahead of the lynch mob. Obviously, this is not a guy you want to screw around with.Inevitably, there are a lot of twists and turns, but as is always the case in an Elmore Leonard novel, the real delight of the book is in the characters he creates and in the dialog that he gives them. This is a fairly early EL book, and even though it's not perhaps one of his best, it's still pretty damned good and one that will appeal to any reader who enjoys his work.
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Reviews
Mark R.
Elmore Leonard's dialogue is always fun to read. Clever, humorous, (usually) realistic, it's the number one reason to read his books. "Cat Chaser," one of his early eighties novels, is no exception, and fans of his other works could do worse than this one.George Moran runs a twelve-room beachside motel in Florida. One day he notices a private investigator taking interest in a woman and man who've recently taken up residence in the motel. Turns out, the woman is the sister of a one-time General from Santo Domingo. Responsible for various crimes against the population of that country, he fled a few years back and took up residence in Florida. Moran used to know the General and had feelings for his wife. He runs into the wife after some time apart and finds she has similar feelings. He travels to Santo Domingo, returns to Florida with the wife, and finds himself in the middle of a possible plot to rob the General. All the while, the man is coming close to discovering his involvement with his wife.Leonard really knew how to write about criminals and the people who go after them, sometimes one and the same. I've only read a half dozen or so of his books, and am glad he left behind such a collection, with many I can still read for the first time.
Eric Rickert
For some reason I feel like the creators of JUSTIFIED would love this book more than most of Leonard's because both the show and this book are filled with characters who spend the majority of their times posturing and pontificating. Which, again, I adore.Elmore Leonard books are all like the coolest suspense movie you've ever seen. I was going to specify a movie in that last sentence but then I realized all my favorites are based on Elmore Leonard stories, and I so hate being reductive.This one was an NYT Best Of Book when it came out because a) the NYT used to be fun, and b) this is one of those times that Leonard layered and waxed more than usual. CAT CHASER's got everything: POWs, mute Latins, denim cutoffs, vets, obese goons, booze, violent teens, drugs, a weird and forgotten 80s cinematic adaptation starring Ray Scheider in his post-JAWS glory, and an epic love story.This is a book of tell, not show, which isn't to say it's more expository than his other books: it's quieter and less bloody than those but just as sexy.I think Florida is a fucking cesspool, but goddamn if it isn't the location of some of the greatest American fiction in the last 50 years, mostly from Elmore Leonard and Joy Williams. I really want to think about those two getting drunk together somewhere in Key West.
Cat
This was the first Elmore Leonard novel I've read, though I SAW Out of Sight and Get Shorty. Obviously, I felt like I knew what to expect before I opened the book: numerous plot twists, character's who've seen better days and tight dialogue. I'm not a fan of "detective" fiction, so I can't really compare it to that. I found the setting to be compelling: motel in South Florida, the Dominican Republic. I thought the main character's experience with the Marines in the Dominican Republic was interesting. Frankly, as a 28 year old, I wasn't even aware that Marines were in the Dominican Republic at that time.Book is a quick read, no matter how you slice it. Despite the "adult" subject matter, it occurs to me that Leonard novels would make a good read for a certain kind of high school student. Leonards books are always cheap to pick up and widely available.The rythym of the dialogue in "Cat Chaser" is above average.
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