Maximum Bob Author:Elmore Leonard Enter the world of Elmore Leonard. The setting is Palm Beach County, Florida, where someone places a live ten-foot alligator in the backyard of the bigoted, redneck judge Bob Gibbs--known to all as Maximum Bob--and his wife, Leanne, a former Weeki Wachee mermaid. Not long after that, shots are fired into the judge's house. It doesn't take much f... more »iguring to conclude that someone's out to get him and that malefactor isn't going to stop at the second try. There's a long list of suspects: Dale Crowe, who just got an outrageous sentence for a minor crime; his uncle Elvin, a killer on parole, raring to go again; Dr. Tommy Vasco, the drugged out former medical doctor; his equally bizarre friend, Hector; and Dicky Campau, who makes a living poaching alligators. And there are others.
Somehow Kathy Baker, a nifty young probation officer, has got herself in the middle of all this. She's got to avoid two seducers--the judge and a homicidal maniac--and work with a young police officer who interests her for more than professional reasons. Trying to pick out from his assortment of bad guys, sociopaths, and punks the one who's trying to kill the judge is pure entertainment, as only Elmore Leonard, with his ear for the sound and eye for the sight of lowlife, can provide.
This was the first Leonard novel I read and it delighted me. Leonard is famous for his dialogue, which feels real, and often he can be very funny. I was particularly impressed with his grace in depicting sex and violence, which occur in moderate doses in his books. His characters tend to be criminals, some of them very scummy types, but he does not rub your face in gore and cruelty. Has a great ability to depict sort of red-neck hillbilly types with affection but without illusion. Good portrayal of cops as well.