US crime writer known for Get Shorty, Hombre and Out of Sight whose work served as a barometer of contemporary AmericaWhen Elmore Leonard’s Stick was published in Britain in 1984, one newspaper called it “a fine first novel”. At almost 60, the author would have been amused at such an accolade; it was, in fact, his 21st novel, and Leonard, who has died aged 87, had been selling his fiction regularly, occasionally to Hollywood. But the genres in which he chose to work often failed to attract serious critical attention: westerns first, then crime novels set in the contemporary urban hinterlands.Westerns as a literary genre still lack respectability, but the craft and energy of Leonard’s crime novels, which include Get Shorty, Out of Sight and LaBrava, eventually made them impossible to ignore. Still, recognition came late: only in 1992 did the Mystery Writers of America grant him its highest accolade, the Grand Master Edgar. In 2009, his lifetime achievements were recognised by both the Western Writers of America and PEN USA. By then, Leonard’s appeal went far beyond generic boundaries. In 1998, Martin Amis, in the course of a somewhat idolatrous interview with Leonard at the Writers’ Guild in Beverly …read more

Via: The Guardian | Books