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By and large, Elmore Leonard turns out crackling good tales. No doubt many of his fans will find "Killshot" in the same category.

Others, however, may somehow feel that it hasn't quite got the zing and snap of, say, Leonard's "Glitz," "Bandits" or "Freaky Deaky." The novel does have some riveting moments but overall seems to wander about in a slow, jerky fashion.The plot is not exactly captivating: a couple of two-bit killers trying to knock off an ordinary everyday couple for a reason that rather impresses one as not being quite reasonable.

At one point, the intended victims are persuaded by authorities to take advantage of the Federal Witness Security Program. The purpose of this gambit may well have been to permit the author to harpoon the program as being poorly, if not idiotically, operated. In any case, Leonard takes some powerful whacks at it.

Much of the story bumbles through long-winded and insipid dialogue, as well as inner thoughts of various characters who more resemble caricatures than real people. - By Frank Stilley (AP).