My name is Doug Wykstra, and this is some of the stuff I've read and watched.
A lot of the advance word I got on this Elmore Leonard crime story mentioned its “loose” or “relaxed” feel, how everything seems improvised and off-the-cuff. For me, it was a bit too much so, the literary equivalent of a driver who seems to be leaning back in his car only for you to realize that he’s asleep at the wheel.
Like many Leonard novels, this one mostly follows a single plan to completion, with no twists and few complications. There’s a romance subplot that materializes out of nowhere in the last 50 pages to give the main character some direction, a dead dog that only matters in the specific chapters Leonard needs it to, and some devil/crossroads symbolism that is initially too obvious and later seems pointless.
This is Elmore Leonard, though, so you still get some sharp dialogue and memorable characters, even if few of them are given much to do. I like the idea of using a civil war reenactment to pull off a plan, and wish that the shifting allegiances between certain characters had been emphasized more. But again, that’s asking for a little more plot than this book is willing to give.