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.