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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

Tom Jane’s Remarks about Killshot


Jim Dorey at the MarketSaw 3d Website, did an interview with Thomas Jane who plays Wayne Colson in Killshot.  In the audio interview, Jane said:

I did a movie called Killshot, that looks like it’s going straight to DVD.  It didn’t turn out so hot, I guess.

While what Tom says is probably true about Killshot going straight to DVD, I don’t think he has any inside information, just common sense about a movie that should have been released at least a year ago.  As to his other statement, I’m not sure Tom has seen the final version.  The movie turned out just fine, even Elmore said so.  Tom had a tough role for many reasons, and with all the rewrites, he may have lost perspective about the film’s value and his character Wayne in particular. 

Jane’s comments were also reported on KFVS12 TV in Cape Girardeau.  The folks in that neck of the woods are still hungry for news about the movie and their city’s place in it.

Rest assured, the Cape is in it, but minimally.  Most of the scenes that are supposed to be Cape Girardeau were reshot in Ontario. There are still a few images left.  There’s a particularly nice beauty shot from the steps of the Courthouse.


Swanie on Elmore

H. N. Swanson, the legendary “Swanie,” was a Hollywood-based literary agent whose roster of clients, at one time or another, included just about anybody who was anybody in American literature (and screenwriting) from the 1930s through the 1950s—among them F. Scott Fitzgerald, John O’Hara, Raymond Chandler, James M. Cain, William Faulkner, Steve Fisher, and, of course,  Elmore Leonard.  When LaBrava came out and Elmore was began heating up in the early 1980s, Swanie took out a full page ad in The Hollywood Reporter, expressing his feelings for Elmore.

Not since I represented John O’Hara has a writer defined so well what happens between a man and woman

Not since Damon Runyon has any fellow done dialogue that runs so true and is as entertaining at the same time.

Not since James M. Cain has a writer shown how the lives of everyday people can turn into explosive melodrama

Not since Raymond Chandler have I had a man who knows so well the hills and valleys of plotting

H. N. Swanson

They don’t make ‘em like Swanie any more.  I’m sure Elmore would agree.




Elmore’s Fans Won’t Be Disappointed in Son’s First Crime Novel

Leonard’s the name, noir’s the game . . . just like dad
Gritty plot, tough women, set in Detroit. Sound familiar? Elmore’s fans won’t be disappointed in son’s first crime novel

Peter Leonard has been writing advertising copy for 25 years. It pays the bills. He lives in Birmingham, Mich., with his wife and four kids. Working nights and weekends, Leonard finished his first crime novel not long ago. It’s called Quiver. Especially for a first novel, Quiver is mature, funny, well paced and smartly structured.

Is there a catch in this nice story of long-delayed accomplishment?

There might be if you ask about the first name of Peter Leonard’s father. The answer is Elmore. Peter grew up in a home where his old man happened to be writing some of the greatest books in American crime fiction.

It’s inevitable, reading Quiver, that the reader’s mind drifts to comparisons with the works of Elmore. Early in the book, a principal character named Jack Curran turns up. Immediately, thoughts of other memorable Jacks surface. Jack Foley from Elmore’s terrific 1996 book, Out of Sight. Or Jack Delaney in 1987’s excellent Bandits.

A guy in Quiver says to a woman, “You’re better looking than Sister Mary Andrew who I had in second grade.” Elmore, the reader thinks, would have left out the “who.” Later on, Peter Leonard describes the way a character is talking, “Trying to put a little enthusiasm behind it.” The phrase is reminiscent of a favourite line of Elmore’s: “Not putting too much into it.”

The reflex habit of matching Peter’s style to Elmore’s never quite goes away. The son writes in a manner resembling his father’s. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. But the reader’s impulse to compare does nothing to spoil Quiver’s pleasures, which are legion.

One more mention of Elmore may be relevant. According to a charming interview that Elmore and Peter recently conducted with one another – it can be Googled – Quiver started out as a movie script. Peter rewrote it as a novel when his father, who has a long history with Hollywood, said to him, “Being a screen writer is like wanting to be a co-pilot.”

The book’s story, which is best described as multi-faceted, concerns the efforts of three bad guys, plus one really nasty girlfriend, to shake down a rich widow for as many millions as possible. With these guys, shakedown is a wide-ranging concept. Scamming enters into it of course, but homicide is far from out of the question,

Jack Curran, a Detroit guy, has what passes for the brains of the threesome, though Jack isn’t as slick as he thinks he is. Then comes Teddy from southern Illinois, a dumb and vicious hick. Last is DeJuan, a super cool, inner city Detroit dude. Teddy brings Celeste to the party. She’s blond, shapely, spectacularly tattooed and bad-tempered. Nobody should look sideways at Celeste.

Tension fuels relations among the group. More than three years earlier, the three guys stuck up a supermarket for either $257,000 or $166,000. Jack got caught and did 38 months for armed robbery. He didn’t rat out the other two, but neither did he reveal what happened to the loot.

Teddy and DeJuan think Jack hid it. He didn’t, but everybody’s mad at everybody else, and the only route to recouping is by way of a scheme to separate the widow Kate McCall from her money.

Kate’s late husband, Owen, built a fortune in NASCAR, first as a driver, then as a team owner. Owen and Kate, happily married, had a son named Luke. A few months before the book opens, 16-year-old Luke killed his father in a horrible accident while the two were hunting for deer with bows and arrows.

The kid is practically catatonic with grief. The widow works hard at coping for the two of them. Then Jack, Teddy, DeJuan and Celeste swing into view.

For the rest of the book, with all the characters established in their roles, the story lopes along to an admirably brisk and exciting rhythm. Surprises enliven events. One obvious and unnecessary plot misstep slows the tempo, but only briefly.

In the online interview between the two Leonards, Peter says his favourite character is DeJuan. Elmore more or less agrees. The reader may not. Crime writers seem to embrace their bad guys, all decked out with weird pathologies, getting off on cruel one-liners.

But DeJuan, as with most characters like him, seems just another psychopath. He’s fairly funny in his homeboy way, but what’s so amusing about killing somebody when DeJuan has all the odds, not to mention the weapons, in his favour?

Much more essential to Quiver’s plot, much more interesting and successful as a character, is Kate McCall. The novel wouldn’t click if Peter Leonard couldn’t deliver the goods in shaping Kate into someone strong and dependable. Happily for us readers, he makes Kate into the real thing.

Now in her late 30s, Kate has a back story that works in terms of the plot. Years earlier, after she came out of the University of Michigan, she joined the Peace Corps. She took her good intentions to East Guatemala. While protecting a young Guatemalan woman, she angers the local police chief. He sends two cops to rape and kill Kate. She shoots both cops dead.

When Jack and his colleagues make life hard for Kate and Luke, when they abuse and threaten the woman and her son, we know that Kate has the toughness to resist.

Come to think of it, Kate bears a likeness to Carmen Colson, the housewife in Elmore’s 1989 book, Killshot. In the last pages of Killshot, Carmen drills two bullets into the hitman known as Blackbird. That’s something Peter Leonard’s Kate McCall could handle.

Jack Batten is a Toronto author, novelist and freelance writer. His Whodunit appears every two weeks.


From Legends to Gunsights

Before writing Gunsights in 1979, Elmore wrote a treatment for a western movie called Legends.  Two excerpts from the Legends treatment are reproduced below.  They were published in the book,  Give ‘em What They Want: The Right Way to Pitch Your Novel to Editors and Agents by Blythe Camenson, Marshall Cook.

Long before Elmore Leonard became one of North Americas most popular and prolific novelists, he wrote a treatment for a Western yarn he called Legends and tried to sell it to the movies. “I would write a book on spec.” he says. “but not a screenplay.” He had been immersing himself in Western lore and was able to write the treatment without much new research.

The treatment failed to sell as a film, but Marc Jaffe, an editor at Bantam Books, asked Leonard to do a Western novel, and Leonard used the Legends treatment to write the book. “Emmett Long” from the treatment became Dana Moon” in the book. “If I wrote any more Westerns.” Leonard explains. “I planned to use Emmett Long as a pseudonym.” Something he never did.

The treatment for Legends doubles as a synopsis, and a compelling one at that – a good plot in an authentic setting. rendered crisply and with a good dose of Leonard’s famous dialogue for flavor. It’s long, but it reads short. And it shows how you can turn the sawdust of a failed project into gold. Although Leonard uses past tense, we recommend that you use present tense for your synopses.

The Legends treatment is reproduced here.



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“Killshot May Never See the Light of Day”

The Independent (London)
BYLINE: Guy Adams

This is very sad, if true.

Drama in the film industry: Tough times for Hollywood’s tough guy

The movie mogul who championed intelligent, independent film-making has never been short of enemies. So has the news that his empire has hit stormy waters been exaggerated by his rivals? Guy Adams reports from Los Angeles Drama in the film industry

In a town where image is everything and personalities come larger than life, Harvey Weinstein has always been a force of nature. For three decades, the cigar-chomping movie mogul has used his explosive persona and mercurial talent to occupy Hollywood’s top table, confounding the critics who said his career was built on style and bluster, rather than substance.

A sense of history in the making is therefore greeting speculation that Weinstein’s media empire has sailed into choppy waters. In a troubled market, he faces mounting commercial pressures that would leave a lesser mortal resembling one of the bloodied extras from the blockbusting Quentin Tarantino films on which much of his early success was built.

The impresario, who made his name bringing intelligent, independent cinema to the masses, faces a multitude of problems, but they all boil down a single, intractable difficulty: he is struggling to produce and distribute enough intelligent, independent cinema that the popcorn-scoffing masses actually want to see.

Killshot is awaiting a release date amid reports it may never see the light of day.



Tough Chicks in Literature


National Public Radio (NPR)
July 22, 2008 Tuesday
SHOW: All Things Considered 9:00 PM EST NPR
Smart, Sassy Heroines Pack a Literary Punch

Writer Mary Curtis is a big fan of strong women. And that’s her theme for today’s installment of Three Books, that’s our series in which writers recommend a group of books on a single theme. Curtis’ three books each offer a variation on the powerful heroine.

Ms. MARY CURTIS (Features Editor/Columnist, Charlotte Observer): You may not like her, but you do what she wants. She’s a tough chick, a woman with attitude and an instinct for survival. She’s quick with a quip and totally in charge of herself and those around her.

Curled up on a couch in a fuzzy robe and slippers, book in hand, I don’t feel so indestructible. That’s why I look for my tough chicks in literature.

Elmore Leonard is the king of wise-guy dialogue. In the book, “Out of Sight,” he created Karen Sisco, a woman every bit equal to the Detroit lowlifes she encounters as a federal marshal. Guns? Oh, she’s got them, from a pump-action shotgun to a sexy Sig Sauer, held snug against her thigh. Even when pushed tight against an escaping bank robber in the trunk of a car, Karen’s dressed sharply and talking coolly. She earns the bad guy’s respect - and yours.

Read the rest of the story.



From the Western to the City

Writer Carlo Rotella was online Monday, July 21 to discuss “Crime Story,” his Washington Post Magazine profile of George Pelecanos as he considers a future beyond crime novels.

Carlo Rotella, director of American studies at Boston College, last wrote for the Magazine about WaterFire, an environmental art piece in Providence, Rhode Island.

Also, I was interested by your comment that hardboiled crime stories are descended from westerns. I think Book World columnist Michael Dirda once wrote that Westerns are a Hollywood invention. Hardboiled detective stories, however, are generally attributed to authors Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett. Although both were based in Los Angeles, it’s an interesting thought to consider Chandler’s Philip Marlowe as an urban version of John Wayne.

Carlo Rotella:  Westerns and crime stories, certainly have a shared history that extends well into the 19th century—into dime novels, for instance—and therefore precedes Hollywood. The two strands, Western and urban, have developed separately over the past century, but they also come together at various points in their development. A good example would be the moment in the late 60s and 70s when a number of urban Westerns suddenly appeared: Coogan’s Bluff, Dirty Harry, Death Wish, the great early Detroit novels of Elmore Leonard. These were crossovers of stars, stories, storytellers, and imagery from the Western to the city, and what they suggest, to me, is that the two genres have so much in common that there are times when they can fuse to form hybrids.


The Period of the Great Moonshine Wars


This is an occasional series to highlight a book that influenced an Elmore Leonard novel.  In this case, The Moonshine War. The book that influenced it:  Night Comes to the Cumberlands by Harry M. Caudill.

Elmore tells the story about a Hollywood producer who wanted him to write something like Valdez is Coming only different.  Note, Valdez was written before The Moonshine War, but published a year later.  Elmore went to the library looking for an idea.  He pulled a book off the shelf in the history section and remembered opening it to a chapter entitled: “The Period of the Great Moonshine Wars.”  He says he closed the book real quick so it wouldn’t get away.

There are a few discrepancies in Elmore’s account.  The actual chapter heading in Night Comes to the Cumberlands is: Moonshine and Mayhem.”  He is certain that he has the right book.  Where the chapter title came from is a mystery.

The story line to The Moonshine War is laid out in the few paragraphs of the chapter.

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The Wire: “Hurrah for Smart Literary TV”


John Williams discusses The Wire in an article in The Guardian entitled, “Is this the best TV series ever made?”

Some time in the 1980s it struck me that mainstream contemporary fiction was doing a woeful job of reflecting what was going on in our modern-day cities. Meanwhile, in the world of crime fiction, writers like Elmore Leonard, James Lee Burke, Sara Paretsky and the late, great George V Higgins were turning out books that married social realism to energetic storytelling. They, and others who followed in their footsteps, such as Walter Mosley and George Pelecanos, successfully conveyed the notion that out there on the streets was a world that Miss Marple and Hill Street Blues were never going to set right, a world that Amis and McEwan, or McInerney and Ellis, barely seemed to realise existed.

I was so enthused by this notion that I wrote a book called Into The Badlands in which I roamed America, talked to its great crime novelists, and fleshed out my case. And for the next decade or so I suppose I mostly still believed in it. But as I went on reviewing crime fiction in the Noughties, I felt an increasing sense of disappointment at the prevailing lack of ambition to do anything more than entertain. Everything people always used to say about crime fiction - isn’t it just a formula? - seemed to be true. There was a plague of serial killers, pathologists and profilers, cops with bad marriages and drink problems. Lumbering plots with saccharine endings. I couldn’t deny it any longer: the world of crime fiction had ceased to interest me.

Then I watched The Wire. And there was everything I’d liked in the work of Higgins or Leonard or Pelecanos: the inventive dialogue, the characters etched in shades of grey, the prevailing mood of moral ambiguity and profound cynicism as to the motives and efficacy of the forces of law and order. There, in particular, was the sustained attack on the war on drugs - a war that makes the Iraq adventure look well thought out - that neither our newspapers nor our novelists (with the shining exception of Richard Price) seemed able to make. There, in a nutshell, was the revival of American social realism: the Steinbeck/Hammett/Algren tradition that seemed to have been lost in a welter of postmodernism, post-colonialism and pure unadulterated schlock.

So I watched The Wire, and watched it some more, and nodded my head in respect as it widened its brief to take on education and politics, becoming positively Zola-esque in its detailing of the ways in which the rich and the powerful fail and exploit and madden the poor and the powerless and - in Baltimore at least - the black.

My one consolation, I suppose, in finding a TV series that is so much better than contemporary crime fiction is that much of the series is actually down to writers - not screenplay writers but book writers. Its progenitor, David Simon, made his name with a wonderful non-fiction account of policing in Baltimore called Homicide. And the show’s regular writers include the aforementioned George Pelecanos and Richard Price, as well as Dennis Lehane.

Which is perhaps why, for me, The Wire is so satisfying. It’s got all the advantages of a great series of crime novels, plus moving pictures - and for once there’s no one telling the writer that it’ll only sell if they stick a serial killer in the middle of it. So hurrah for smart literary TV; and boo to dumbed-down crime fiction.


Jim Born - “My Biggest Thrill is Having Dutch Be Proud of Me”


Scott Eyman still thinks Elmore is a mystery writer, but at least he didn’t take some cheap shot at him as he has in the past, even in articles that weren’t even about Elmore!  A kinder, gentler Scott writes a nice profile of our friend, James O. “Jim” Born. 

Born met legendary mystery novelist Elmore Leonard through the late Judge Marvin Mounts, and helped Leonard out as a technical advisor about guns. Leonard encouraged him to write, becoming a sort of surrogate literary father. Born says that, absent his father, “my biggest thrill is having Dutch (Leonard’s nickname) be proud of me.”





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