Book Review: Out of Sight by Elmore Leonard

Out of Sight: A Novel - Elmore Leonard

The Basics


Jack Foley is in the middle of a prison escape and accidentally kidnaps a beautiful US Marshall by the name of Karen Sisco. As he goes on the run, the result is their paths cross and part over and over again, sparks flying all the while.


My Thoughts


I don’t really have clear thoughts on this one. I was left feeling very neutral, and whenever I try to think of what to say, it all comes out negative. I went into this because Leonard is known for writing crime fiction with notoriously good dialogue, and I got a romance. Normally that wouldn’t bother me too much, but it was a very problematic romance that tried to incorporate the grit of a crime-driven novel while leaving me feeling unconvinced these people should even be talking to each other.


For instance, Karen is made to look pretty unprofessional and a really poor judge of character for someone who made it all the way to US Marshall. Jack’s insistent advances make him seem like a date rapist, especially early on when they’re trapped in a trunk together. Nothing about that screamed “romance” to me, rather the opposite, but the book insists that this makes them… something. Compatible? Soul mates? Potential lovers? Not to me.


So then I tried to tell myself this world doesn’t apply to my world. It’s some alternate universe where being kidnapped by a scuzzy con on the run is hot. I still couldn’t do it. Karen was consistently narrowed down to how good her legs and hair looked, and I couldn’t get the image of him trapped with her in a trunk out of my head, and I just couldn’t do it. This book lost me from the beginning, and I kept trying to get back on its wavelength, and it never happened.


Aside from the romance, there were some good points here. I like the crime in crime fiction, and it is here. It was just overrun by an unbelievable relationship that Leonard so wanted me to believe in.


While I think I would like to pursue other authors in the genre, Leonard’s writing was so sparse that I couldn’t sink into it. This is not Hemingway or McCarthy sparse. It’s to the point of having no rhythm, nothing to hold onto. Not every book needs to be a purple mess, but I wanted something here that I didn’t receive.


Final Rating