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Dutch Master

The great Elmore Leonard turns 85 today.

Hope he enjoys it. Lord knows how much pleasure he’s given us.

If you’ve never read it, dig Leonard’s 10 rules of writing.


1 Matt Blankman   ~  Oct 11, 2010 10:41 am

In the early 90s, I picked up a couple Leonard paperbacks that were being disposed of at my local library. I'd heard the name, and since I was already a fan of Hammett, Chandler and Ross Macdonald, I figured I'd check him out. By the end of the 2nd page I was hooked for life.

Thanks, Dutch, and keep 'em coming.

2 Alex Belth   ~  Oct 11, 2010 10:50 am

He's the MAN

3 Matt Blankman   ~  Oct 11, 2010 11:00 am

Favorite Leonard novels, Alex?

It's tough to rank 'em, but "Get Shorty" has got to be on the short list (n.p.i.), "LaBrava," "Rum Punch," "The Hunted," "Freaky Deaky." Damn, trying to list my favorites, I'm just listing all his books.

4 Sliced Bread   ~  Oct 11, 2010 11:07 am

Great characters. Everybody's shady, and the least shady bad guy is the one you root for. When you set out to tell a story in which nobody is innocent, you're going to tell a believable story.

5 RIYank   ~  Oct 11, 2010 11:20 am

I guess those rules worked for Leonard, but this is a pretty good first sentence:

To the red country and part of the gray country of Oklahoma, the last rains came gently, and they did not cut the scarred earth.

I think that's my favorite first sentence of any book.

6 Alex Belth   ~  Oct 11, 2010 11:39 am


I've only read a few of Elmore's books--"Stick", "LaBrava," "Out of Sight" and "Get Shorty." I liked "Out of Sight" the least. The other three were terrific.

7 RIYank   ~  Oct 11, 2010 12:14 pm

[6] Yes, The Grapes of Wrath.

8 Matt Blankman   ~  Oct 11, 2010 12:27 pm

[6] Interestingly, "Out of Sight" wound up being one of the better film adaptations. For years, Hollywood would buy his books and then decide to get rid of everything that made them special.

9 Chyll Will   ~  Oct 11, 2010 12:42 pm

Steinbeck always depressed me in school. I wonder now if that was the point...

10 Alex Belth   ~  Oct 11, 2010 12:52 pm

9) He was my old man's favorite. I've never read him much though, outside of "Grapes" a million years ago.

11 Matt Blankman   ~  Oct 11, 2010 1:04 pm

[10] At his best, like "Of Mice and Men" or "East of Eden," he's great. But he can be a bit tiring and long-winded. He loooooooooves to describe things in detail.

12 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Oct 12, 2010 12:33 am

Anyone like James Ellroy? Read "American Tabloid" recently..intense, violent, hyper...i liked it!

13 Boatzilla   ~  Oct 12, 2010 3:55 am

Darn! I was on a trip to the mountains and missed this thread. Tshimingo Blues: great plot. Kill Shot: great villain. But his most gripping, fascinating recent work is The Hot Kid and it's sequel, In Candy's Room. Just brilliant in capturing the G-man era.

Jame Ellory, The Cold Six Thousand, fiction featuring characters in and around JFK's assassination. Explosive.

14 Matt Blankman   ~  Oct 12, 2010 12:17 pm

[12] I love Ellroy, but in his recent stuff he's decided to ignore things like punctuation and sentences and it can get really very annoying. Those LA books are fantastic.

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