Ken Levine on Elmore Leonard

Hey, we were wondering when somebody would tell us why this Leonard dude was such a Big Deal. And if Mr. Levine is mourning him, well…

Elmore-Leonard-jpgR.I.P. Elmore Leonard
by Ken Levine

Like all writers, I was greatly saddened to learn of Elmore Leonard’s passing yesterday. He was 87. Until a recent stroke, he was writing until the end. His fiction was always so vivid, his stories clever, and most of all his characters jumped off the page. When people ask me for examples of good dialogue I say pick up any Elmore Leonard book.

His work was also filled with humor. He was Quentin Tarantino long before Quentin Tarantino. He was Carl Hiaasen long before Carl Hiaasen.

Many of you were introduced to him late. JUSTIFIED is based on one of his novellas. Two movie adaptations of his novels are worth seeking out – GET SHORTY and OUT OF SIGHT.

At one time he wrote screenplays but got tired of receiving idiot notes.  Can you imagine?  Some studio D-girl, two months out of Sarah Lawrence telling Elmore Leonard what works and what doesn’t.  Happily for us, the world of novels beckoned.

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