Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Goodbye, Dutch...

A friend at the office and I are big fans of the FX! series, Justified, which is based upon characters created by Elmore Leonard. The primary character, Raylan Givens, first came to my attention while reading the short story, "Fire in the Hole." From there, I read more about Givens and his adventures in the novels Pronto and Riding the Rap. So it came as a surprise, not to mention a topic of discussion, when my friend informed me yesterday of Elmore's passing.

To say that Elmore Leonard is my favorite author is an understatement. I first heard about Elmore while reading Stephen King's On Writing. If a writer wants to know how to write dialogue, Stephen King said he/she needed to look no further than Elmore Leonard and his brilliant craft. From there, I began a journey of exploring Elmore's work, which has ranged from westerns to the modern crime story over the years. Not all of his stories captured my enthusiasm, but most of them did. In fact, my favorite Leonard novel, Out of Sight, has been in my hands through three complete readings.

A few years ago, I made the decision to call a Michigan bookstore and pre-order Elmore's novel Road Dogs and requested that he personally sign it for me. The book and shipping cost me more than thirty dollars, but it was money well spent in my opinion.

I'm going to miss Mr. Leonard. I loved his style. I loved his quirky characters. Truly, he was an American icon in every sense of the word.

Goodbye, Dutch.


  1. Hiya Stephen, just thought I'd stop by and say hello, I hope things are good with you my friend.

    I'm not familiar with FX or Justified, but I certainly am acquainted with many film adaptations from Elmore Leonard novels, Hombre, starring the brilliant Paul Newman. Valdez is coming, with Burt Lancaster at his best. To name just a couple, the list is long and good.

    Sad to say, I didn't know of his death until I read this post, what I do know is that the world will be poorer place without him in it.

    Best wishes Stephen.
    Steve Green.

  2. Steve,

    Thank you for stopping by. It has been a long time since I have ventured out into the open again, but maybe that will change soon.

    Everything is going fine on this side of the pond. I have been extremely busy with my new role in the company and with other issues (moving, new house, etc).

    As for Elmore Leonard, I have read all of the books you mentioned, and I have enjoyed them all. For me, I love the way he used dialogue to define the characters and to participate in the action. If you ever have the chance to read La Brava , do so. The opening scene is a perfect example of what I'm talking about. With only the use of dialogue, you can imagine the characters pointing to different photos and discussing the merits of the photographer's work. Elmore Leonard was a master at dialogue, and there are few that can compare.

    Again, thank you for the comment, and I look forward to visiting with everyone again.

  3. Hi Again Stephen, I'm glad to hear that things are going good for you, just moving house can be such hard work, can't it?

    Thanks for the heads-up on the novel La Brava, I had a look at the synopsis and it looks good, not a western as I expected by its name, but a former secret agent, right down my street. I'm going to get it downloaded to my kindle, and will let you know how I get on with it.

    I'm in the middle of reading "LORD ALF" just now, and next in the queue is Helen Howell's new novel "I know you know" So it may be a while before I get round to reading it, but I promise that I shall.

    I'll keep my eye out for any of your future posts, if you find the time to write.

    Take care Stephen.
    My very best wishes.
    Steve Green.

  4. Hi again Stephen. Well, it's three months later, and I finally managed to find time to read LaBrava by Elmore Leonard.

    I have to agree with you about his use of dialogue, he uses it heavily, and masterfully. The book has indeed been a satisfying, and worthwhile read. In time I shall most likely seek out more of his works to download to my kindle.

    I hope you have a really happy Christmas Stephen, and I wish you all the best for 2014.

    Best wishes.

  5. Steve,

    Thank you again for stopping by. I'm glad you liked Leonard's use of dialogue. Stephen King and many others have commented on Leonard's mastery of dialogue, and I have learned much by reading him. During the last couple of months, I once again read Out of Sight, which is still my favorite. The way he chops up the dialogue (e.g., "The hell you talkin' about?") has such a ring of authenticity to it that makes it so real.

    It has been a while since I've ventured out into the blogosphere, and I need to return as soon as possible. Now that I have almost completed my annual engagement in the Holiday Story Exchange (something I have hosted for many years now), I should have more time to visit again.

    Take care, and a Merry Christmas to you as well.