Other Free Encyclopedias » Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern Fiction » Books & Authors: Award-Winning Fiction (Ke-Ma)

Leonard, Elmore


(US, 1925– )

Elmore Leonard had already established himself as a notable writer of Westerns, including Valdez is Coming (1969), which was filmed with Burt Lancaster, before he decided to concentrate on crime fiction. His interest lies in the behaviour and personalities of the people who commit crimes, rather than in the unravelling of whodunit puzzles. His books feature a wide range of criminal activity: not just murder, but also robberies, swindles, and drug dealing. Leonard is concerned to give an impression of realism in his work and in recent years he has even hired researchers to assist him with background details which help to lend credibility to often bizarre and coolly ironic stories. His cinematic prose has attracted much interest in Hollywood and several of his thrillers have been adapted as films. Mr Majestyk (1974) was an exception: he wrote the screenplay first and then produced a novelization. Leonard has written many best-sellers, but one of the most enjoyable is Get Shorty (1990), which earned critical and commercial acclaim both as a novel and as a film starring John Travolta and Gene Hackman. Typical of his breezy style are Gold Coast (1980), in which Karen DiCilia's late husband leaves her $4 million and the instruction never to lay a finger on another man, and Rum Punch (1992), in which bail bondsman Max Cherry makes the mistake of falling for a client.

James M. Cain, Carl Hiassen.


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