“Truth always sounds like lies to a sinner.” – Boyd Crowder
Elmore Leonard, the preeminent writer who was affectionately called the “Dickens of Detroit”, passed away on August 20 at his home in Bloomfield Village at the age of 87.
Through his novels which featured his inimitable crackling plain prose, Leonard gave the world of crime and thriller novels a shot in the arm with his cool criminals, lovable thugs, and fallible lawmen (you could juggle the adjectives around and still get an accurate description). Make no mistake, though: Leonard’s characters are ready to get brutal and violent at the drop of a hat, and his plots often involve a mix of unpredictable double-crosses and absurd twists that make you go “What the ….”
Leonard’s works have also been the basis for film and television through the decades, but Hollywood definitely started to take notice with Get Shorty in 1995. Other notable adaptations that followed in quick succession include 1997′s Jackie Brown (based on the novel Rum Punch) and Out of Sight in 1998. More recently, the critically-acclaimed and Emmy-nominated FX television series Justified was created based on the character of Raylan Givens, an anachronistic US Marshal featured in Leonard’s short story “Fire in the Hole” and also in the novels Pronto and Riding the Rap.
Here’s a clip from the film Get Shorty featuring John Travolta as Chili Palmer, representative of the classic Elmore Leonard character:
An Elmore Leonard reading list
Image: Elmore_Leonard.jpg (1989) by MDCarchives (CC-BY-SA-3.0) at http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AElmore_Leonard.jpg