The Elmore Leonard Home Page

The Official
Elmore Leonard Website



The Bounty Hunters
The Law at Randado
Escape from Five Shadows
Last Stand at Saber River
The Big Bounce
The Moonshine War
Valdez is Coming
Forty Lashes Less One
Mr. Majestyk
Fifty-Two Pickup
Unknown Man No. 89
The Hunted
The Switch
City Primeval
Gold Coast
Split Images
Cat Chaser
Freaky Deaky
Get Shorty
Maximum Bob
Rum Punch
Riding the Rap
Out of Sight
Cuba Libre
Be Cool
Pagan Babies
Tishomingo Blues
Mr. Paradise
A Coyote’s in the House
The Hot Kid
Comfort to the Enemy
Up in Honey’s Room
Road Dogs


The Complete Western Stories of Elmore Leonard
The Tonto Woman and Other Western Stories
When the Women Come Out to Dance
Trail of the Apache
Apache Medicine
You Never See Apaches…
Red Hell Hits Canyon Diablo
The Colonel’s Lady
Law of the Hunted One
Cavalry Boots
Under the Friar’s Ledge
The Rustlers
Three Ten to Yuma
The Big Hunt
Long Night
The Boy Who Smiled
The Hard Way
The Last Shot
Blood Money
Trouble at Rindo’s Station
Saint with a Six-Gun
The Captives
No Man’s Guns
The Rancher’s Lady
Moment of Vengeance
Man with the Iron Arm
The Longest Day of his Life
The Nagual
The Kid
The Treasure of Mungo’s Landing
The Bull Ring at Blisston
Only Good Ones
The Tonto Woman
Hurrah for Captain Early
Karen Makes Out
The Odyssey
Hanging Out at the Buena Vista
Fire in the Hole
Chickasaw Charlie Hoke
When the Women Come Out to Dance
Showdown at Checotah
Louly and Pretty Boy
Chick Killer (2011)
Ice Man

Film and TV

Moment of Vengeance
3:10 to Yuma
The Tall T
The Big Bounce (I)
The Moonshine War
Valdez is Coming
Joe Kidd
Mr. Majestyk
High Noon, Part II
52 Pickup
The Rosary Murders
Glitz (TV)
Cat Chaser
Border Shootout
Split Images
Get Shorty
Last Stand at Saber River
Elmore Leonard’s Gold Coast (TV)
Jackie Brown
Maximum Bob
Out of Sight
Karen Sisco
The Big Bounce (II)
Be Cool (2005)
The Ambassador
3:10 to Yuma (2007)
Killshot (2009)
Freaky Deaky
The Tonto Woman
Life of Crime

‘Killshot’ spending topped $700,000 for local economy

SCOTT MOYERS ~ Southeast Missourian

The release date for movie partially set in Cape Girardeau has been pushed back.
“Killshot” producers pumped more than $700,000 into the Cape Girardeau economy when a portion of the movie was filmed here in January, which multiplies into a total economic impact of more than $2 million, state officials said Monday.

Meanwhile, the release date for the movie—based on an Elmore Leonard book that was partially set in Cape Girardeau—has been postponed from Oct. 20 to a more vague category of fall 2006.

“They haven’t assigned a new hard date yet,” said Jerry Jones, director of the Missouri Film Commission. “They’re just saying sometime this fall, but that doesn’t even mean it won’t change again.”

Movie publicists at the Weinstein Co. in New York would not comment on the release date change, except to say the Quentin Tarantino-produced movie is still slated for wide release and that the movie was not going directly to DVD.

The date could have been changed for a variety of reasons, Jones said, though he didn’t know the specifics. The filmmakers—including director John Madden (“Shakespeare in Love”)—could still be working on the movie, Jones said.

Another possibility, he said, could be that an early screening has prompted Madden to tweak the film, which is about how a woman (Diane Lane) and her husband (Thomas Jane) become entangled in a scam with a small-time con artist and his over-the-hill hitman partner.

Jones cited a recent incident in “Spiderman 3,” in which a poor test screening caused the film’s producers to call back actors to put in more action sequences.

“Any of those things could have happened,” Jones said.

Jones also said not to rule out a local premiere in Cape Girardeau, where some of the actors with smaller roles may attend. Don’t expect a theatrical trailer until there’s a firm release date, he said.

But Cape Girardeau can still bank on the direct economic impact, which was at least $700,000, according to LeAnn Korsmeyer, an auditor with the Missouri Department of Economic Development. Korsmeyer is preparing a report of the movie spending in order for the Weinstein Co.—which is producing the film—to qualify for state tax credits.

Korsmeyer could not give specifics until all the information is tallied, but she said some of the larger expenditures were for lodging, food, construction work and location fees.

Cape Girardeau Convention and Visitors Bureau executive director Chuck Martin said he was pleased with the figure.

“That’s a big economic impact for the small amount of time they were here,” Martin said. “If somebody told us our economy could be boosted by $700,000 over a couple weeks, we’ll take it every time.”

Martin also said he’s gotten several calls from smaller movie makers about possibly filming movies here.

“Before ‘Killshot,’ the number of inquiries I got? Zero,” Martin said.

The amount spent here can be multiplied for a more accurate economic impact, Jones said. For every dollar spent, a multiplier reveals how much that dollar really means to the community, which in this case is close to $2 million, Jones said.

“When they spend money on construction, on payroll, on location fees, that money stays in the community and is spent several times over,” he said.

The reason the state is monitoring how much was spent, he said, was because the Weinstein Co. has been approved for $350,000 in state tax credits.

But out-of-state companies that don’t pay much in income tax and other taxes generally sell those tax credits, which is what Weinstein intends to do. That is a legal process, Jones said, which is usually handled by an in-state broker.


Even as a greenhorn scribbler of saddle sagas, Elmore Leonard knew how to hook the reader.

The Complete Western Stories
Shane Maloney, reviewer

Even as a greenhorn scribbler of saddle sagas, Elmore Leonard knew how to hook the reader.

Elmore Leonard is the master of sparse, the maximum minimalist. His brisk, snappy novels are the crime fiction equivalent of an addictive snack food. They satisfy the appetite, deliver an immediate buzz and leave you wanting more. If successfully converted into movies, they pack a high-energy wallop that overdoses the senses and sends waves of satisfaction rushing to the brain.

And now, as a special treat for hard-core Leonard junkies, he is also available in the original, mesquite-smoked western flavour.

The Complete Western Stories is a collection of 30 yarns, most of them not seen since the 1950s, when they were published as throw-away dime novelettes or stories in adventure magazines. As the earliest examples of the master’s work, they provide instructive insight into the evolution of his much-praised, pared-back style.

Better still, they’re a pretext to pay a visit to some old, long-neglected friends. The rookie cavalry lieutenant, for example, the trail boss, the bounty hunter, the homesteader’s wife. They’re all in there somewhere, along with the renegade Apaches, the showdown at the livery stables, the stand-off between a small-town sheriff and a notorious gunslinger, the stagecoach hold-up. And if they’re not, hell, they’re so damn close you can smell ‘em.

Leonard wrote these stories in his mid-20s. He’d served in the US Navy during the war in the Pacific, got a college degree, landed a job in advertising and started a family. His feet were on the ground and his literary ambitions were unambiguously practical.

“I was looking for a genre where I could learn to write and be selling at the same time,” he said. “I chose westerns because I liked western movies.” Demand for western stories was high at the time and a good shoot-‘em-up could command as much as two cents a word.

The West has always been as much a cultural artefact as a geographical location and by the ‘50s and early ‘60s all of its mythologies were converging. Its themes and settings provided the raw material for innumerable books, comics, films and television shows. Its stock repertoire of characters, its straightforward plots, iconic landscapes and moral certainties were devoured by audiences around the world. When Clint Eastwood said America had produced no original art forms except jazz and the western, he knew whereof he spoke.

But like the buffalo, the western almost reached its inevitable moment of extinction. Kept alive only by infusions of spaghetti, it eventually disappeared up its own canyon. Struggling to survive the campfire farts of Blazing Saddles, it was gut-shot by market forces and left to die.


The Great American Mysteries 2006


The Great American Mysteries 2006, edited by Scott Turow, contains Elmore’s story, “Louly and Pretty Boy.”  Here is the complete Table of Contents.


Spontaneously Combusting Elmore Leonard Novel


BYLINE: Lynette Evans

Was it The Hot Kid?

Incendiary fiction! Blistering hot romance! Fiery rhetoric! All phrases one might find on the jacket of a modern pocketbook—although not usually on an Elmore Leonard novel.

Neither is Leonard commonly associated with the microwave oven, the appliance that revolutionized the American kitchen—not always for the better.

My father insisted that microwaving bacon was better than frying it, and we couldn’t convince him that nuking strips of meat between half a roll of paper towels was not cost-efficient. Neither would he buy into the fact that because microwaves work on volume, it would have been faster—and a whole lot tastier—to scramble eggs in a frying pan than to wait and watch, stop and stir a bowlful of eggs for 20 minutes in the microwave.

We’ve limited microwaving to thawing frozen items, reheating coffee and steaming fresh vegetables, and it has served us well—until last weekend, that is.

On Saturday, my husband, John, who devours three or four novels a week, managed to dunk the latest Elmore Leonard paperback in the hot tub. Being thrifty—and only a third of the way through the novel—he shoved the book into the microwave and forgot it. Until Sunday night, after a futile search of the house and car, he remembered it was in the microwave. I looked. Sure enough, there it was. Damp but not destroyed. I hit the one-minute button.

Sometime later, John reached in for the book—still damp. He hit the “casserole’’ button, and four minutes later pulled out a hot, but dry, book, and headed out to the hot tub where he read for a few moments before I heard him yell, “Fire!”

Running outdoors, I saw the book smoldering on the edge of the hot tub, John batting at the glowing pages. I swatted the book into the tub, where it sizzled and went out. “It burst into flames,’’ John said incredulously as blackened pages floated around him.

Elmore Leonard’s novels are not known for torrid love scenes or sizzling sex. Potboilers, perhaps, but this may be the first time one of his books has seemingly spontaneously combusted. (Of course, it did so because microwaves heat food—and evidently, books—from the center, and John could comfortably hold the edges of the pages just as one can lift a plate of food from the microwave without burning one’s fingers.)

Lesson learned: Neither novels nor scrambled eggs belong in the microwave. But, if you must cook the books, do it on low heat.


Three-Ten to Yuma Paperback


Long awaited and coming soon.


Once Upon a Time in the West

The Independent (London)
CLIVE SINCLAIR The Complete Western Stories By Elmore Leonard WEIDENFELD & NICOLSON pounds 16.99 (544pp) pounds 15.50 (free p& p) from 0870 079 8897 100 Westerns By Edward Buscombe BFI PUBLISHING pounds 13.99 (272pp) (free p& p) from 0870 079 8897

There can be few devotees of Johns Ford and Wayne who do not bless the name of Edward Buscombe, editor of The BFI Companion to the Western. Now he has produced a more compact volume, in which each of the 100 selected movies receives individual and judicious attention. To celebrate its publication, the NFT put on a season of classics, Tales from the Big Country. Buscombe introduced many of them, including Stagecoach, The Searchers, and Unforgiven. One he didn’t introduce is Delmer Daves’s 3.10 to Yuma. That honour went to Elmore Leonard, author of the short story upon which it is based. All of Leonard’s Western stories have now been collected in a single volume for the first time. He took the opportunity to talk about those, too.

Why had he settled upon that genre? Because when he decided to be a writer - at the start of the 1950s - it seemed to be the most lucrative. But how to do it well? Not a native Westerner, Leonard’s knowledge was derived from the cinema, and from the pioneers of hard-boiled prose. The best movies, and the best writing (he noted), belonged to a specific place and time, so he staked out a corner of southwest Arizona as his own. In the 1880s (his chosen time), it was populated by Mescalero Apaches, US Cavalry (including black Buffalo Soldiers), Mexicans, ranchers, rustlers, rapists, mail-order brides, outlaws and Wyatt Earp. So he had his cast of characters.

Details about guns, saddles, flora and fauna, topography and local history were culled from specialist books and journals and stored in ledgers. That done, he set to work. The first fruit was published in 1951. During the next decade, 27 further stories appeared between the lurid covers of pulp magazines.

How do they read now? In the earliest tales the book-learning shows, but gradually Leonard sheds his tenderfoot status. You begin to feel that he knows the land as well as the indigenous Apache, and the laconic scouts who must outwit them in order to survive. The transition is announced (quietly) in “Law of the Hunted Ones”. A hostile featured therein goes by the curious name of Two Cents, which happened to be the amount that Leonard was paid per word.

At first it seems that this Two Cents - who knows every trick in the Apache war manual - is certain to kill rather than be killed, but in the end he is dispatched with surprising ease. This is because Two Cents is not only a Mescalero, but also a metaphor. What else is writing but the eternal struggle between feral words and the writer whose job it is to domesticate them?

Having conquered the written word, Leonard’s next goal was to attract the attention of the movie-makers who had inspired him. That happened in 1953, when 3.10 to Yuma was optioned, though it was not actually filmed until 1957. The story is spare’ a deputy brings a convicted stage-robber to Contention to await the eponymous train. They hole up in a hotel, while the baddie’s gang reconvenes in the street. The train arrives on time, as does the showdown. To borrow Leonard’s own adjective, the story is “relentless”. It’s law vs outlaw, duty vs charisma. No comic relief, and no stuff like kissing.

In the movie version -scripted by Halsted Welles -the deputy becomes a dirt-poor farmer, conscripted by need rather than duty, while the outlaw becomes more murderous and more attractive. And there is kissing. Leonard was still learning, and owes as much to Welles as to Dudley Nichols (who scripted Ford’s Stagecoach).

Both 3.10 to Yuma and Stagecoach portray the West as a place where natural and civic justice were more or less in accord. This is also the basic assumption of all Leonard’s Western stories (bar one). It is made explicit in “The Rustlers”, a reworking of the notorious scene in Owen Wister’s The Virginian, where the hero hangs his best friend for stealing horses (with the author’s approval). Leonard does not approve of such extra-judicial sentencing, however, and intervenes at the last minute (via his first-person narrator) to stop Em-mett Ryan from lynching his own brother.

The exception is “Only Good Ones”, the last Western story Leonard wrote (save for two late whimsies). Its title is derived from General Phil Sheridan’s infamous remark: “The only good Indians I ever saw were dead.” And its contents sadly concede that cynicism - and racism -rather than idealism and justice was the West’s true modus vivendi. With that story Leonard graduated, and was ready to enter the real world, where crime pays.

Clive Sinclair’s ‘Back in the Saddle Again’ is due from Picador next year



“I Make It Up”

Otto Penzler writes in the New York Sun:

Years ago, I asked Elmore Leonard how he was able to replicate the speech of the low-life Hispanic, black, and white street thugs and drug dealers so perfectly. He responded, “How do you know I do? Do you know a lot of guys like that?” “No, of course not,” I said. “Well,” he said, “neither do I. I make it up.”



Killshot Delayed?

Dark Horizon’s Entertainment News website is reporting a delay in the previously published Killshot release date.  The film was reportedly scheduled for release on October 20. No new release date has been annnounced according to the Dark Horizon story.


Elmore on BBC Radio 4


James Naughtie and a group of readers talk to leading authors about their best known novels.  In August, 2006, for Bookclub’s 100th Show, Naughtie and his audience discuss “Rum Punch” by Elmore Leonard.


“From the master of American crime fiction, this [Rum Punch] offers tight writing, sharp dialogue and a list of characters that includes thieves, dangerous eccentrics and sassy women.”


Great interview with audience questions and Elmore readings.

Click here for audio.


A & E Biography on Elmore


A&E’s Biography Channel is preparing a one hour biography on Elmore, produced by Pyramid Productions from Calgary, Alberta who last year did Elmore for a Canadian Bravo series called “Books into Film,” not to be confused with the American Bravo series, “Page to Screen” which ran a few years earlier.  In the above picture, Larry Day, head of Pyramid is interviewing John King, of John King Books of Detroit, one of the favorite research haunts of Gregg Sutter, your webmaster and Elmore’s researcher.

According to Larry, the A&E Biography Channnel show on Elmore will debut on the American cable network before the end of 2006.




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