Elmore Leonard might not make crime seem like fun -- his perps spend too much time in jail for that -- but he can invent some of the most likable felons in literature.
In "Road Dogs," he brings back Jack Foley, the celebrated bank robber who was played by George Clooney in the movie version of "Out of Sight." Foley is back in prison after the incidents in that book.
Two more characters return from earlier Leonard novels:
Fellow inmate Cundo Rey (from "La Brava"), a Cuban murderer and con man who arranges to have Foley's sentence reduced to three weeks; and Dawn Navarro (from "Riding the Rap"), Rey's longtime girlfriend, who has promised "to remain a saint" in Rey's absence.
Rey's sentence is up shortly after Foley's. In the meantime, Foley precedes his prison buddy to one of Rey's multimillion-dollar houses in Los Angeles, where he begins an affair with the saintly Dawn.
None of these characters can be trusted, although Foley, at least, starts out with good intentions. He would like to retire to Costa Rica, but is indebted to Rey to the tune of $30,000, for hiring the lawyer who had his sentence reduced.
Meanwhile, it is not clear what Dawn's intentions may be -- toward himself or toward Rey. To add to this, hard-nosed FBI agent Lou Adams is convinced that Foley will rob a bank within 30 days of his release, and is following his prey.
And that's just the beginning of this story.
What follows is a fast-moving romp in which every event is unpredictable, intriguing, suspenseful and utterly hilarious. The scenes are very cinematic, with fast cuts and changes of place and mood.
The book seems made to be turned into a movie and we can hope, the sooner the better.
Robert Croan is a Post-Gazette senior editor.