Book #75: LaBrava

I’ll have to admit that I remember next to nothing about Elmore Leonard’s LaBrava. It didn’t leave much of an impression on me.

What I do remember is that Joe LaBrava is an ex-FBI agent now working as a photographer in Miami. When he meets a classic 1940s movie star, with whom he fell in love with as a twelve-year-old boy in the movie theatre, is being harassed by thugs, he works with the star’s longtime friend to solve the mystery of who is bothering her and why.

Unfortunately, a cursory read-through of Goodreads reviews and a look at the book’s Wikipedia page didn’t jog my memory any further than that. The plot summary on Wiki is only two sentences long.

I read this book, but I genuinely can’t remember how it ended or what happened in it. I know it was very noir-esque; I read it in black and white. The plot played out in my head as a black-and-white noir movie, and I could just picture LaBrava as one of those Bogart-esque detectives on the big screen.

The only thing I really remember about the book, and the only part I liked, was the fun interplay between movie tropes and real life. Often when LaBrava is starstruck and talking to the movie star, he imagines how the scenes would go if they were in one of their movies. He thinks about the lines he would say and how she would react to them. She often does the same. She is troubled and down on her luck, but she lives her life like she’s in a noir film. The two of them have so obviously confused real life with movies, that it was interesting and a little sad to read.

Other than that, LaBrava was a no-go for me. I’d say when you read a book and, a month later, can’t remember anything about the plot and only remember one character’s name, that’s probably a bad sign.

Read it if the plot seems interesting to you. Maybe you can tell me what I’m missing. If you like a good noir story, you might enjoy it.

Rating: **
Up Next: High Rise


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