Picks and Pans Review: Touch

updated 09/21/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/21/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Elmore Leonard

Ten years ago, when Leonard wrote this novel, no one would publish it. It didn't fit into any category, he was told. What's the matter with that old category: good book? Touch is set in Detroit, and it's about a right-wing Catholic fanatic who wants to be a martyr, a pretty ex-baton twirler who promotes rock bands, an ex-preacher who sells recreational vehicles and a naive young man who works in an alcoholic dry-out clinic. Leonard has never come up with a livelier, more interesting quartet of characters. Clearly each has something the others want, and as soon as they meet, their lives begin to undergo profound changes. There is also an aging go-go dancer with an 11-year-old son who has cancer, a bumbling priest and a few other people who are funny and scary and completely entertaining. Now that a growing number of readers have discovered Leonard's books—and his last two, Glitz and Bandits, hit the best-seller lists—he probably could get his laundry list published. Still it is difficult to understand why some editor didn't rush this book into print back when it was written simply because it's compelling, suspenseful and a sheer pleasure to read. (Arbor House, $17.95)

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