For the spoken audio audience, Leonard, cooler-than-thou author of the moment, is being positioned as another Louis L'Amour (a longtime bestseller on tape and perennial favorite at truck stops and other alternative retail outlets). Simon & Schuster Audio is releasing four audio titles this spring, all adapted from last year's The Tonto Woman and Other Western Stories, a collection of Leonard's early output as a ""pulp"" writer of western genre pieces. All will feature unabridged readings by star-caliber narrators (James Naughton, Will Patton and Giancarlo Esposito are being tapped for forthcoming titles). Here, in ""The Kid,"" read in affably good-natured tones by Dennehy, a ""half-wild"" white boy raised by the Apaches in the Arizona territory struggles for self-identity. In ""The Big Hunt,"" read in a more grim and ominous manner by Schreiber, another young man struggles to avenge his father's betrayal at the hands of corrupt buffalo-hide traders. Both stories are heavy on atmospheric tone with enough plot to keep listeners hooked, serving well their role as diversionary entertainment. Based on the 1998 Delacorte hardcover. (Mar.) FYI: Leonard's newest novel, Be Cool, has just been released on audio by BDD Audio.
Reviewed on: 02/01/1999 Release date: 02/01/1999 Genre: Fiction