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Forty Lashes Less One

Narrated by: Josh Clark
Length: 6 hrs and 38 mins
Categories: Fiction, Historical
4 out of 5 stars (44 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The hell called Yuma Prison can destroy the soul of any man. And it's worse for those whose damning crime is the color of their skin. The law says Chiricahua Apache Raymond San Carlos and black-as-night former soldier Harold Jackson are murderers, and they'll stay behind bars until they're dead and rotting.

But even in the worst place on earth, there's hope. And for two hard and hated inmates - first enemies, then allies by necessity - it waits at the end of a mad and violent contest - on a bloody trail that winds toward Arizona's five most dangerous men.

©1972 Elmore Leonard (P)2010 HarperCollins Publishers

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  • Darwin8u
  • Mesa, AZ, United States
  • 01-20-19

Five times I received...

"They had learned to do this in the past months, to detach themselves and be inside or outside the running man but not part of him for long minutes at a time."
- Elmore Leonard, Forty Lashes Less One

I remember finishing this, the fourth and last novel in Library of America's Westerns: Last Stand at Saber River / Hombre / Valdez Is Coming / Forty Lashes Less One / Stories thinking "THIS needs to be made into a movie by Quentin Tarantino". Well, I'll be sucking water out of a shotgun in the hot desert of AZ if Tarantino doesn't already own the rights to this book. It sounds, however, like he's thinking of making it into a TV series rather than a movie. OK Tarantino, you be you.

Anyway, the book is harsh, funny, absurd, and has two of my favorite protagonists in a Western novel ever. It isn't my favorite Elmore Leonard, but it is hard to think of a better scene than Raymond the Apache and Harold the Zulu warrior running after Frank Shelby and his gang with their spears. One of my favorite things about Leonard's Westerns is I KNOW all the places he writes about. I've driven through Ajo multiple times on my way to Mexico. I've spent more time than I planned in Yuma. His scenes all hit home with a nostalgic sadness. I also love that he doesn't shy away from the racist parts of the American West. He explores many ways blacks, Mexicans, and Apaches were treated. Which, sadly, seems a bit relevant today still.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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I'm not big on Westerns, but this was fun!

The narrator is amazing and the story was steady the entire time. Has it's funny moments as well! Definitely recommend this fun quick read!

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Could not finish it

This thing just droned on and on. I got about half way though and determined it was a waste of time to continue.

2 of 11 people found this review helpful