Out of Sight by Elmore Leonard Review

Elmore Leonard was a master of crime fiction writing. He wrote over 45 novels, many of them turned into TV series or movies. Mystery buffs know Leonard for his tight writing and on-point dialogue. The movie based on Out of Sight starred George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez.

Leonard was a recipient of the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters and the Grand Master Award for the Mystery Writers of America. Many have called Leonard the “Dickens of Detroit.”

First Sentence

Foley had never seen a prison where you could walk right up to the front gate without getting shot.

Out of Sight with Jack Foley
Out of Sight by Elmore Leonard

Many critics have chosen Out of Sight as one of Elmore Leonard’s top novels. The reader will find the surprising chemistry between Jack Foley and Karen Sisco intriguing.

Serial bank robber Jack Foley is serving 25 years in prison when he hears of a pending escape attempt. He uses their attempt as a screen for his own escape.

When he meets up with his pal, Buddy, waiting with the car outside the fence, they surprise U.S. Marshal Karen Sisco. The pair takes the attractive marshal as a hostage, throwing her in the trunk with Foley climbing in with her. During the getaway, Foley talks with Sisco and becomes infatuated with her. Foley wants to take Sisco with them as they change cars, but Sisco convinces the driver to leave Foley and Buddy by the road and escapes.

While he was in prison, another inmate had told Foley about a drug dealer who kept millions in his house and would be an easy mark. So, he and Buddy drives to Detroit.

Sisco kicks herself for letting an escapee get away. She’s determined to track down the pair and follow her leads to Detroit. When she encounters him, it doesn’t go as smoothly as she expected.


If you can buy the premise of a federal marshal risking everything to dally with a prison escapee, this will be an entertaining read. I just couldn’t go there.

Jack Foley comes across as a very original character. He is a career criminal who doesn’t think of himself as one. He has greater aspirations, no matter his circumstances. Even though he and Karen Sisco are on opposite sides of the law, he could see them having a future, if things were different.

Leonard gives us a peek into the dark side of life. Even though most of Foley’s acquaintances are evil, he never sees himself as one of them.

Sisco is a Federal Marshall who has always liked her men a little rough. Even though she knows she shouldn’t toy with Foley, she finds herself swept up in the imaginary game of what could have been.

Not a long book or complicated plot makes this an easy read. But the story doesn’t leave the reader with a lot to think about.

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