Elmore Leonard: tributes from the literary world
Writers and critics praise the American novelist who influenced hundreds of other authors
THE DEATH of the American crime novelist Elmore Leonard at age 87 has brought tributes from across the literary world. The 'Dickens of Detroit', as some called him, started out writing westerns before turning to crime writing in the 1960s. He leaves several modern classics, including Get Shorty, Out of Sight and Be Cool. Here's what fellow writers and devoted readers have been saying:
James Lee Burke, thriller writer: He was a "gentleman of the old school" whose stylistic techniques and "experimentation with point of view and narrative voice had an enormous influence on hundreds of publishing writers."
Marilyn Stasio, crime columnist for the New York Times Book Review: He was "a novelist who made crime an art, and his bad guys fun . . . In person and in private, he was much like his hero in Split Images: "one of those quiet guys who looked at you and seemed to know things."
Dennis McLellan of the Chicago Tribune: He was "a bearded, slightly built man who looked a little like everyone's favourite English professor" - but he was "one of America's greatest crime novelists and one of Hollywood's favorite storytellers".
David Usborne, US Editor of The Independent: "While Mr Leonard's preferred territory was low-rent America peopled by conmen, loan sharks, whores and hustlers, his place in the literary firmament was entirely of a higher category."
Mark Sanderson of the Daily Telegraph: "Leonard mastered whatever genre he chose to explore... [his] unique ability was to blur the line between good and evil, to make the reader care for his quirky characters, and to do so with humour and compassion".
Louis Bayard, historical mystery writer: "A diligent, unpretentious writer who worked in relative obscurity for many years, Mr. Leonard went on to influence a generation of crime writers, whose sales may have eclipsed his but whose adoration of him never waned."
Mark Billingham, a British crime writer: "He just wrote like nobody else. He was all about character, dialogue and story, and what he was not about was what he called 'hoop-da-doodle' – the stuff you don't need in a novel, the fancy stuff." ·