Elmore Leonard Dies at 87

One of our finest crime writers passed away early this morning.  Elmore Leonard, author of “Get Shorty,” “Out of Sight,” and “Rum Punch” died from complications following a stroke he suffered in July. An announcement on his official website read “Elmore passed away this morning at 7:15 AM at home surrounded by his loving family.”

Leonard authored 45 novels in his lifetime.  After his start writing short stories for Western pulp magazines, he graduated to novels with the 1953 publication of “The Bounty Hunters.”  Leonard continued to write Westerns for several years before moving on to crime fiction. Dubbed the “Dickens of Detroit,” Leonard frequently wrote about his home city in Michigan.  He was widely praised by critics and readers for his strong dialogue, gritty sense of realism, and brevity.  Several of his novels and stories were adapted into Hollywood hits, including “Out of Sight,” “Get Shorty,” “3:10 to Yuma,” “The Big Bounce” and “Rum Punch,” which was transformed into “Jackie Brown” by Quentin Tarantino.

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Leonard was also famous amongst writers for his 10 Rules of Writing, which include such gems as “If it sounds like writing, I re-write it,” and “Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.”

I’ve been a big fan of Elmore Leonard ever since my Dad gave me a copy of Leonard’s great Western vengeance novel “Valdez is Coming.”

For collectors, building a Leonard collection is still an affordable undertaking.  Copies of Leonard’s first novel, “The Bounty Hunters,” published in paperback format in 1953 by Ballantine Books, will set you back about $50.

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