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View Full Version : How 'bout some Elmore Leonard?



BiggerBoat
03-14-2007, 10:30 AM
I've never read any Elmore Leonard, but I'd like to give some a try. Any recommendations on where to start? He's prolific, to say the least.

SlowRain
03-15-2007, 07:19 AM
I've only read Rum Punch, the basis for the Quentin Tarantino movie Jackie Brown. I was pretty disappointed with his writing style as it just seemed to be a slightly expanded screenplay; I didn't even care for the dialogue, which he is supposed to be so famous for. However, the movie for Get Shorty had great dialogue, so maybe Rum Punch was just an anomaly. Anyway, I don't think Rum Punch is a great place to start as it has turned me off of wanting to read anything else by him.

ShapeSphere
03-15-2007, 08:44 AM
And I've only read The Black Dahlia but thought it was very good. Story based on a real life event. A satisfying read as it was well-paced, entertaining and easy. Not seen the film yet.

L.A. Confidential is of course the famous and very successful film based on Leonard's novel. I'll have to try the book myself one day.

e.dashwood
03-15-2007, 09:07 AM
I've read them all, well, all except the westerns.

For dialogue, there is no other.

Flay
03-15-2007, 10:47 AM
Killshot & Out of Sight are the only ones I've read. They were both okay. I think Leonard learned a lot from George V. Higgins, especially when it comes to writing dialogue.

Flay
03-15-2007, 10:48 AM
ShapeSphere, L.A. Confidential & The Black Dahlia are by James Ellroy.

Inkdaub
03-15-2007, 12:13 PM
Ellroy and Leonard are two very different reading experiences. Both are good, though. The main difference is that you might want to kill yourself after an Ellroy book...the guy is as dark and anything I've ever read. Leonard is much more fun and pleasant to read. I've read many books by both authors.

Now, Leonard is good and you will enjoy what you read I'd wager. My favorite Leonard book is Get Shorty but that's just personal preference. You can start pretty much anywhere as they aren't super dependant on a timeline. I would read Be Cool after Get Shorty as it is a sequel but the rest are pretty much stand alones. Rum Punch and Out of Sight are good. Every book I've mentioned has been made into a movie. Leonard also writes westerns if you might like that. I haven't read a western but I hear he's good.

I need to read some more Leonard.

e.dashwood
03-15-2007, 04:31 PM
Killshot & Out of Sight are the only ones I've read. They were both okay. I think Leonard learned a lot from George V. Higgins, especially when it comes to writing dialogue.

That would be quite psychic of Elmore, since he was born almost 15 years before Higgins, and published his first novel 20 years before The Friends of Eddie Coyle. In fact, Leonard had published 9 novels before Coyle. If there's any influence, it would be from Leonard to Higgins.

Cav Guy
03-15-2007, 04:52 PM
I've never read any Elmore Leonard, but I'd like to give some a try. Any recommendations on where to start? He's prolific, to say the least.

He wrote some decent Westerns back in the day. I can't say that I'm familiar with his mystery stuff at all.

Flay
03-16-2007, 06:47 AM
That would be quite psychic of Elmore, since he was born almost 15 years before Higgins, and published his first novel 20 years before The Friends of Eddie Coyle. In fact, Leonard had published 9 novels before Coyle. If there's any influence, it would be from Leonard to Higgins.
I believe Leonard's first novel with a contemporary setting was The Big Bounce (1969). At any rate, Leonard himself has gone out of his way on many occasions to acknowledge his debt to Higgins.

Elmore Leonard has said flatly that Higgins is his favorite author. “He doesn't learn from me, I learn from him.”

http://tinyurl.com/36mzu9

ShapeSphere
03-16-2007, 07:16 AM
ShapeSphere, L.A. Confidential & The Black Dahlia are by James Ellroy.

Oops.

Thanks for letting me know and sorry for the HUGE mistake.

Flay
03-16-2007, 08:58 AM
You're welcome, ShapeSphere. By the way, I agree with you about The Black Dahlia. I hated the movie, though.

stc
03-15-2008, 10:33 PM
Loved the book and movie of "Be Cool." Same for "Eddie Coyle"--one of the better film adaptations of an excellent novel.


That would be quite psychic of Elmore, since he was born almost 15 years before Higgins, and published his first novel 20 years before The Friends of Eddie Coyle. In fact, Leonard had published 9 novels before Coyle. If there's any influence, it would be from Leonard to Higgins.

In his introduction to a recent edition of "The Friends of Eddie Coyle," Elmore Leonard says nothing about a psychic connection with George Higgins.

Leonard does say:
[begin excerpt]
[...]
I did what I was told, bought the book, opened to the first page and read: “Jackie Brown at twenty-six, with no expression on his face, said that he could get some guns.”

I finished the book in one sitting and felt as if I’d been set free. So this is how you do it.
[...]
The review in THE NEW YORKER nailed it in the opening paragraph by listing these friends of Coyle--the man himself described as “a small fish in the Boston underworld”--the bank robbers Jimmy Scalisi and Artie Valantropo; the gun dealer Jackie Brown; Dillon the bartender, a character to keep your eye on; and a dealing T-man, Dave Foley. They’re the book. They reveal themselves not only by what they do, but also by the way they speak, their sounds establishing the attitude or style of the writing.

To me it was a revelation.
[...]
What I learned from George Higgins was to relax, not be so rigid in trying to make the prose sound like writing, to be more aware of rhythms of coarse speech and the use of obscenities. Most of all, George Higgins showed me how to get into scenes without wasting time, without setting up the scene, where the characters are and what they look like. In other words, hook the reader right away. I also realized that criminals can appear to be ordinary people and have some of the same concerns as the rest of us.
[...]
Five years after EDDIE COYLE, a NEW YORK TIMES review of one of my books said that I “often cannot resist a set piece--a lowbrow aria with a crazy kind of scatological poetry of its own--in the Higgins manner.” And that’s how you learn, by imitating.

[end excerpt]