The Detroit News
By Susan Whitall
Peter Leonard knows the exact moment that he wanted his father Elmore Leonard’s job. It was after a long, tense day at the ad agency, dressed in a suit, making pitches to a room of bored suits. Peter had gone over to his father’s house to find the eminent crime writer lounging around dressed in a black Nine Inch Nails T-shirt, jeans and sandals. “I said, I have to have a job like this.”
And so a second generation of Leonards went into mystery/crime writing.
The elder Leonard is, of course, the acknowledged master of the genre after 44 novels (“Swag,” “Get Shorty,” “Killshot,” “LaBrava”), countless screenplays, novellas and short stories in a writing career that spans 60 years. His finely honed sentences can sound as flinty/poetic as Hemingway or as hard-boiled as Raymond Chandler. His ear for the way people talk — or should — is peerless.
Peter Leonard was talking about his career epiphany in a meeting room in the basement of the Baldwin Library in Birmingham, appearing with his father at a standing-room-only dual book signing Jan. 19. (Peter’s latest: “Voices of the Dead.”)
It was a rare appearance, one of only three the elder Leonard did to celebrate the release of his latest novel, his 45th, “Raylan: A Novel” (William Morrow, $26.99). The book makes a splashy debut Sunday at No. 7 on the New York Times best-seller list.
Read the rest.