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Posts Tagged ‘elmore leonard’

Pronto by Elmore Leonard

I have read a lot of Elmore Leonard novels over the years and always enjoyed them.  They are always well paced, with interesting characters, and Pronto is no exception.  I pulled this one off the shelf when I found out that Raylan Givens is a featured character in the book.  For those who don’t know, Raylan is the main character in the TV series Justified on the FX network.  I had heard that it was based on a Leonard short story and didn’t realize that Raylan had also appeared in books.  Indeed, he is in Pronto and its sequel, Riding the Rap.  According to articles, and verified when I spoke with Dutch at a Michael Connelly book signing last April (see my report below), while Leonard is an executive producer of the show, he does not work on the scripts.  Even so, viewers will recognize a scene toward the end of the book!

Lunch with Michael Connelly

April 13, 2011 was a beautiful spring day in metro Detroit.  I loaded up the van with two bags of first editions and headed for Birmingham to meet and lunch with one of our favorite authors, one of the few that we actually collect.  The luncheon was a benefit for The Community House and the Baldwin Public Library.  Connelly had a full day with this meet-and-greet luncheon followed by an afternoon event where he discussed The Lincoln Lawyer and an evening event at the Jewish Community Center in West Bloomfield which would up with an overflow crowd of more than 300.

“I might not be here today if it wasn’t for the library,” Connelly said in his brief opening remarks.  Connelly credits the local public library for the many hours he clocked reading as a child in Florida. Connelly’s mother was a bank teller, he said, and in the summer she would drop him off at the library in the morning and pick him up after work.  He said he was “happy to take part in anything that supports the library.”

After his remarks, people quickly lined up to meet Connelly and have him sign books.  Book Beat, a fine local independent book store, had a table of the author’s books available for purchase, including his latest novel, The Fifth Witness.  I think I took the prize for bringing the most books, and I waited until the line diminished before approaching the author.  He very generously inscribed copies for our collection and signed copies that will be for sale shortly.

The bonus round was the appearance of local author Elmore Leonard and his son (and author) Peter Leonard.  I had the opportunity to chat briefly with Dutch about the FX series Justified, which is based on his short story, Fire in the Hole.  Even though he is an executive producer for the show, he has nothing to do with the story line.  However, he is in the middle of writing a novel featuring Raylan Givens and, as he completes sections, has been sending them to the shows writers.  There are times when Shar an I are watching the show, hear some dialog and simultaneous laugh out loud because we know we just heard Leonard’s words.


Authors’ references to each other

by Sharlan Douglas

I’m reading J.A. Konrath’s Bloody Mary (review to come).  One of the characters mentions in passing that he has a fake passport in the name of Barry Eisler.  I’m always amused when authors refer to each other like this.  My favorite is the character in a Michael Connelly or Robert Crais book (can’t remember which) who wears a T shirt from “Robicheaux’s bait house and boat dock.”  On a related note:  A character in an Elmore Leonard novel is named Randy Agley.  That’s the name of a a noted Michigan business owner and I’m guessing it’s not a coincidence: Leonard probably donated the naming rights to a local charity auction.

Do you have examples of favorite “insider” character names?

USA News & World Reports interview with Elmore Leonard

Several years ago, I volunteered with a Detroit area arts organization which was to present an important award to Elmore Leonard. The execs scheduled a meeting with him for lunch to confirm the details, then suddenly realized that none of them had actually read any of his books. They asked me to join them just to have someone at the table who spoke the language.

Turns out we mostly talked about the movies that had been made from his books. In an interview in the 11/5/07 USA Today, Leonard said, “I wanted my books to become movies. That was my aim. I wanted to make some money doing this. My first books, I would get like 2,000 bucks. That was mostly in the ’50s, then it went up to $4,000. I didn’t really make money from books until the 1980s. But I got a lot more from movies.”

In that arts organization meeting, others asked Leonard what authors he read, and his pick at the time was Cormac McCarthy. In the USA Today piece, he mentions Gay Talese, Tom Wolfe and Thomas Lynch, the funeral director-author-essayist-poet from Milford, Mich.

We offer 37 Leonard books online — find them here