Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Elmore Leonard’s death on August 20, 2013, is a great loss to mystery lovers. His writing continued to get better as he got older and we all hoped he had many more novels in him. “Blue Dreams” is scheduled to come out in 2014. He started writing in 1949 when he got a job with an ad agency and wrote western stories on the side. He liked western movies and wanted his stories to become movies which happened when “3:10 to Yuma” was produced. In 1984, his novel “LaBrava” was presented the best novel of the year award by the Mystery Writers of America. By 1985, he was a bestselling novelist and suddenly touted as “the greatest living crime writer.” Many awards followed and many movies including “Jackie Brown” and “Out of Sight” (take a look at lists online of his influence in TV as well). It’s a great time to read or re-read one of his books as a tribute. Any of his books would be a good choice, but you can’t go wrong reading “Road Dogs” and/or “Get Shorty.”

Leonard was 87 when he died having been born in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1925 and at his death considered Michigan home. He served in the military and went to college afterwards. He graduated from the University of Detroit majoring in English and Philosophy. He married in 1949 and raised five children.

Reading right now:

            Sophie Hannah’s “Kind of Cruel.” It’s bad enough that she can’t sleep, but when Amber Hewerdine talks about “Kind, cruel, kind of cruel” under hypnosis, she finds herself arrested for the brutal murder of a woman she’s never heard of in her life. This is an unusual puzzle and I can’t wait to find out what really happened. Hannah is an award winning British poet who also writes amazing mysteries.

On hold right now:

            “Family Business” by Michael Z. Lewin. Nominated for the Edgar award three times (and won twice), Lewin is an American mystery writer living in England whom I’ve missed and decided to start reading. His Lunghi family series starts with “Family Business,” continues with “Family Planning,” and “Family Way.” Lewin started this series in 1995 and the last one came out in 2011. The series is about several generations of the Lunghis family who run a detective agency in Bath, England.

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