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Publisher's Summary

Carl Webster, the hot kid of the marshals service, is polite, respects his elders, and can shoot a man driving away in an Essex at 400 yards. Carl works out of the Tulsa, Oklahoma, federal courthouse during the 1930s, the period of America's most notorious bank robbers: Dillinger, Baby Face Nelson...those guys.

Carl wants to be America's most famous lawman. He shot his first felon when he was 15-years-old. With a Winchester.

Louly Brown loves Carl but wants the world to think she is Pretty Boy Floyd's girlfriend.

Tony Antonelli of True Detective magazine wants to write like Richard Harding Davis and wishes cute little Elodie wasn't a whore. She and Heidi and the girls work at Teddy's in Kansas City, where anything goes and the girls wear, what else, teddies.

Jack Belmont wants to rob banks, become public enemy number one, and show his dad, an oil millionaire, he can make it on his own.

With tommy guns, hot cars, speakeasies, cops and robbers, and a former lawman who believes in vigilante justice, all played out against the flapper period of gun molls and Prohibition, The Hot Kid is Elmore Leonard, a true master, at his best.

©2005 Elmore Leonard; (P)2005 HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Critic Reviews

  • 2005 Audie Award Nominee, Mystery

"The writing is pitch-perfect throughout....It's all pure Leonard, and that means it's pure terrific." (Publishers Weekly)
"As always, Leonard's prose seems effortless, his dialogue is perfect, and his humor is as dry as a moonshine martini....A terrific pleasure." (Booklist)

What members say

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  • Overall

A great book, an even better listen

This is one of my favorite Elmore Leonard books. The characters are so well developed they feel real by the end of the book. The story flowed well and really held my interest.

My highest praise goes to the narrator. As a native Oklahoman, I tire of fake southern accents which are more ridicule than reality. Arliss Howard gets the accent spot-on. The only way to fully experience this book is by listening to it as read by Arliss Howard.

18 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Dean
  • Delray Beach, FL, USA
  • 12-03-05

one of my favorite audiobooks

The main character in this audiobook is Carl Webster, the son of Virgil Webster, who just happens to be a supporting character in Elmore Leonard's other book, Cuba Libre. This is sort-of a sequel to that book, and it's written in the same style as that one. Some say it is simple and easy and some even say boring. But I like to think it is in the same pace of life as back in the early 1900's. More easy-going and simpler. But certainly not more innocent. Leonard is really great at getting inside characters of the lawful and the unlawful kind. Instead of mobsters and jaded cops, we have the US Marshalls against the infamous bank-robbers of the Roaring 20's, like John Dillenger, and Pretty Boy Floyd.
These books are really dialog-driven and if you give them a chance, you will really fall for these characters. You will root for Carl, who's a little bit of a show-off, who knows how to stare down a bad guy by looking directly in their eye and never turning his back, and who has a thing for 'gun molls'. As he extolls the virtues of staying in Tulsa with him, he seals the deal with the promise to Louly of "I'll take you out dancing". As she falls for him, you will also be smitten with these people and their 'easier' and 'simplier' time period.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Rick
  • Waco, TX, United States
  • 10-26-05

Hard to follow

I was really disappointed in this book. I just finished listening to Pagan Babies and was ready for something similar. My main problem was following the story. So much of it is dialog driven, and the reader did not differentiate his voice between the characters - they all sounded the same, and it was impossible to tell who was saying what.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • P. Chavez
  • Huntington Beach, CA USA
  • 08-10-05

The Hot Kid (Unabridged)

I loved the reader. I thought he gave an authentic interruption of the main character's personality and the times...slow and easy. I was fascinated by the easy acceptance of women engaged in prostitution as if it was just a temporary career choice until something better came along.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Janis R.
  • Springfield, IL, USA
  • 07-04-05

A Great Listen

I thoroughly enjoyed this book! I've read the other reviews and a couple seem to be complaining about the reader's voice being 'boring'. I found the reader's style anything but boring! The characters are well developed and the story is skillfully crafted. What appear to be small details become important as the book moves along. Besides being a good story, it's an excellent period piece as well. This is the first book I've read by this author, but it won't be the last!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Moire
  • Linden, VA, United States
  • 08-01-06

A Tale of 1930's Gangsters

A beautifully woven story with characters that mesh together. Howard's southern drawl adds to the feel of 1930's Oklahoma dust, crime,and poverty (while contrasting with the big bucks oil tycoons).

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Painfully dull narrator

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?


How did the narrator detract from the book?

The narrator read the book in a flat monotone that left me looking for any excuse to stop listening and do something else. And, once I stopped I looked for any excuse not to get back to it. That's not typical of the way I listen to a good book. His style reminded me of Kevin Costner's emotionless and boring style of delivery. I think the story likely is a good one but it's hurt by the way it was read. I think I'd like the book more if I read the actual printed book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Very good

I like Elmore Leonard's books a lot. This one is very good, but not one of his best.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Evelyn
  • Washington, DC, USA
  • 08-16-06


My dogs walked far more than usual since I had far better than the usual fare to listen to. It was great and was quite sad when it ended (as were the dogs).

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Dan
  • Salinas, CA, USA
  • 01-26-06

Great imagery and story telling.

The Hot Kid really captures the life and mood of the early part of the last century. I was born in 1938 and recall a lot of little things mentioned in this novel. It brought me back in time. Leonard is a great story teller.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful