Elmore Leonard Takes the 7:15 to Grizzled Old Writer Heaven

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bill-swift - August 21, 2013

This morning, novelest and screenwriter Elmore Leonard skipped the 3:10 to Yuma and took the 7:15 straight to grizzled white guy heaven after succumbing to complications from a recent stroke. Like many old man scribes before him, he'll be welcomed to that great pantheon by gravel-voiced angels and sultry sexpot gun molls spouting eternally witty dialogue.

Leonard, who was 87, is best known for his Hollywood-ready (and frequently adapted) crime novels like Get Shorty and his refined westerns like Hombre and, well, both renditions of 3:10 to Yuma. His work has turned into pretty fantastic television like Justified and even badass Quentin Tarantino flicks like Jackie Brown.

For those of you not familiar with his  uniquely off-kilter vision of America, it is best described by Neely Tucker, his real-life friend and, oddly enough, a character in his book Cuba Libre,

It is primarily a vision of the lower end of the post-Vietnam era, when the margins got thin, the morals of the nation got cloudy, and irony became a survival mechanism.It's populated by cops who aren't exactly good, crooks who aren't exactly bad, and women who have an eye for the in-between. There is no judgment. Bad guys don't know they're bad. They brush their teeth and call their moms and then go rob a bank. Cynicism is on view, as is a vast detailing of bars, alcohol, prison cells, loan-sharking operations and gun runners. There is usually a lot of cash in a small container. People get shot. Self-confidence is a requirement.

Oh man, you can't go wrong with that. He will be sorely missed.

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