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Elmore Leonard Week: Elmore on Killshot and Detroit

From ‘Doing What I Do: An Interview With Elmore Leonard’ by Anthony May (Contrappasso #2, December 2012)

Dates: 1st-3rd July, 1991

MAY: And it’s interesting that you’ve located yourself around Detroit. Just yesterday, as we were driving around the downtown, I thought your novelistic descriptions of Detroit were almost like a guide book to the city. Streets connect, places are there. Do you find that’s more difficult to do when you are dealing with other cities, with Miami or the New Orleans of Bandits [1987]?

LEONARD: No. It’s not more difficult because I find out what neighborhoods I’m gonna use and I study maps. I was always referring to this particular map when doing Rum Punch and Maximum Bob. West Palm, Palm Beach, Palm Beach Shores.

MAY: You say that you don’t think of yourself in that tradition of Chandler and Hammett but that writing is always located within a city.

LEONARD: But if we had lived in Buffalo, then there’s still crime in Buffalo. I didn’t pick Detroit in particular. Some people think I chose Detroit because it was, at the time, the murder capital of the US and it has a reputation. In the movies they were always sending away to Detroit to get a hit man.

Read the rest.

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