<JohnGabree.com (Some) Writing>
30 years of writing, Elmore Leonard has turned out countless short
stories, more than a dozen screenplays, including "Mr. Majestik"
for Charles Bronson and "Joe Kidd" for Clint Eastwood,
and 22 novels, including the western classics "3:10 to Yuma"
and "Hombre." But it is with a run of crime novels in
the last decade that Leonard has become familiar both to critics
and to book buyers.
Anyone who watches much television knows that writing convincing dialogue is not easy. Leonard records the way people talk with the punctiliousness of an ethnologist on a field expedition in darkest Appalachia. He has an ear for the ragged rhythms of spoken American. He also notices what people don't say to each other; the conversations in this novel move with the halting indirection found in real life. His people blurt out thoughts better left unspoken and step around things that need to be said.
will be too bad if Leonard's reputation as a genre writer frightens
away the audience for general fiction. He is a careful observer
of social milieus on the fringes of society, the hustlers and lowlifes,
the terminally poor and the terminally rich, and the constabulary.
Although his books are violent, he renders killing in an offhand
way all but the most squeamish will find inoffensive, and his deadpan,
sometimes gallows, humor brightens even the darkest terrain. "City
Primeval" is already in paperback and "Cat Chaser"
is "coming soon." Don't miss them. (1983)