I started reading The Moonshine War by Elmore Leonard right around the same time I started watching HBO’s Boardwalk Empire and I couldn’t help thinking about the TV series while reading the novel. The common thread between the two stories set on opposite ends of the Prohibition time line is one of corruption among public officials. In Boardwalk Empire, it is Atlantic City treasurer Nookie Thompson and his younger brother, Eli, the sheriff. In The Moonshine War, set in the fictitious town of Marlett, Kentucky, it’s Mr. Baylor, the sheriff, and government Prohibition agent Frank Long. The story opens with a “raid” by Mr. Baylor and his thirsty deputies at the property of Son Martin, who happens to make the best moonshine in the county. All is well until Long, an Army buddy of Martin’s, turns up in town and starts raiding the stills in the hills. Long enlists a bunch of lowlifes to serve his his deputies, as they try to find the hidden stash of whiskey made by Martin’s father — over 100 barrels worth over $100,000 in 1930s money. Among those working for Long are an interesting pair of villains — Dr. Taulbee, a physician turned felon who specializes in bootlegging, and his psychopathic sidekick, Dual Meaders. In one scene, Meaders sees a seersucker suit he likes and makes the guy wearing it sell it and disrobe — on the spot. From the title of the book, one can surmise that things get nasty toward the end and similar to Leonard’s last book, The Big Bounce, there are a couple of twists and turns before a nice, tidy ending.