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The Library of America Publishes Elmore Leonard — Again

Thursday, December 29th, 2016 | Posted by John ONeill

Elmore Leonard Four Novels of the 1970s-small Elmore Leonard Four Novels of the 1980s-small elmore-leonard-four-later-novels

Back in January I dashed off a brief New Treasures article titled The Library of America Publishes Elmore Leonard, in which I highlighted the first two volumes of The Library of America’s omnibus editions of Leonard, Four Novels of the 1970s and Four Novels of he 1980s.

Despite the fact that Leonard never wrote a single SF or fantasy novel (and we’re very much a fantasy blog), it became one of the most popular New Treasures articles I’ve ever written — and in fact, it still outperforms half of the New Treasures articles I write every month. Elmore Leonard is a popular writer in any genre.

So I could hardly ignore the third and final volume in the set, Elmore Leonard: Four Later Novels. Like the others it contains four full novels (Get Shorty, Rum Punch, Out of Sight, and Tishomingo Blues, published between 1990-2002). Here’s the description, which does a find job of summarizing each of Leonard’s freewheeling plots in a single sentence.

The definitive edition of an American master of crime fiction culminates with four modern classics. In Get Shorty, a Miami loan shark with an idea for a movie finds a way to break into Hollywood as a producer, the perfect setup for Elmore Leonard’s brilliantly satiric take on an industry he knew well. Rum Punch (filmed by Quentin Tarantino as Jackie Brown in 1997) shows an aging bail bondsman and an airline stewardess matching wits against lawmen and criminals alike. In Out of Sight, deputy U.S. marshal Karen Sisco and escaped bank robber Jack Foley find themselves thrust together in a highrisk fusion of violent adventure and unlikely romance; included as a special feature is “Karen Makes Out,” the story that introduced Sisco. The collection concludes with Tishomingo Blues, a kaleidoscopic story involving exhibition high divers, Civil War reenactors, and an unforgettable cast of gangsters and hustlers. This is Elmore Leonard at his unbeatable best.

The Library of America has been publishing archival quality omnibus editions for 34 years, and recently has been focusing on the most important novels of the 20th Century, including Kurt Vonnegut, Dashiell Hammett, Philip K. Dick, Ross Macdonald, David Goodis, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and many others. We’ve covered several here recently, including:

Four Novels of the 1970s and 1980s by Elmore Leonard
A Princess of Mars and Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs
American Science Fiction: Nine Classic Novels of the 1950s, edited by Gary K. Wolfe
American Fantastic Tales: Terror and the Uncanny, edited by Peter Straub

Elmore Leonard: Four Later Novels was published on August 30, 2016. It is 1,000 pages, priced at $40 in hardcover. There are no paperback or digital editions.

See all of our recent New Treasures here.

14 Comments »

  1. One of the main reasons ‘Justified’ was such a brilliant show was because they stayed very close to Leonard’s style and vision.

    Get Shorty is a brilliant book (and a hilarious film).

    Comment by Bob Byrne - December 29, 2016 2:57 pm

  2. Was Out of Sight ever adapted as a film?

    This reinforces my belief that I really, really need to read me some Elmore Leonard, and rewatch me some Justified.

    Comment by Joe H. - December 29, 2016 3:38 pm

  3. Out of Sight was a movie with George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez. I tried it and gave up early. Probably should give it another go.

    Comment by Bob Byrne - December 29, 2016 5:19 pm

  4. I loved the film version of Out of Sight. OTOH, Tishomimgo Blues didn’t work for me, not sure why. But still love Elmore Leonard. One of my favorite adaptations was the TV series based on Maximum Bob.
    OK, in the F&SF world, who combines observation and humor most like Elmore Leonard? I will start the list by suggesting Joe Lansdale.

    Comment by jeffreycrogers - December 29, 2016 6:54 pm

  5. I wish they would put his western novels between hard covers.
    I’ve been pleased with all the Leonard I’ve read, and Justified was fabulous, but Leonard’s early western novels are excellent and little heralded in comparison with his crime fiction.

    In fact, Valdez is Coming is one of the very best novels I’ve read in any genre for maybe the past ten years.
    The late, great Ed Gorman compared it to The Great Gatsby in terms of its nigh perfectly balanced plot.
    The story casts aside western cliches, yet manages to brilliantly deliver everything you’d want from a western. Comes close to genre genius.

    Comment by John Hocking - December 29, 2016 7:58 pm

  6. I thought Out of Sight sounded familiar. I remember seeing the movie, but no actual details.

    Yeah, Joe Lansdale (especially his Hap & Leonard novels, although they’re not actually F&SF either) is a good match.

    Comment by Joe H. - December 29, 2016 7:59 pm

  7. I read these Elmore Leonard crime novels when they were first published. They’re terrific! I’m buying these LIBRARY OF AMERICA volumes because I like the format and packaging.

    Comment by kelleyg@ecc.edu - December 30, 2016 11:17 am

  8. > One of the main reasons ‘Justified’ was such a brilliant show was because they stayed very close to Leonard’s style and vision.

    Bob,

    I think that’s spot on — especially with regard to the colorful cast of villains. That show has some of the best villains on the airwaves.

    Comment by John ONeill - December 30, 2016 11:22 am

  9. > Out of Sight was a movie with George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez. I tried it and gave up early. Probably should give it another go.

    The Elmore Leonard page at Wikipedia has an invaluable list of every one of his major works, and how they’ve been adapted for screen (that’s where I found out that Jackie Brown was based on Rum Punch).

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elmore_Leonard

    Comment by John ONeill - December 30, 2016 11:25 am

  10. > OK, in the F&SF world, who combines observation and humor most like Elmore Leonard?

    Jeffrey,

    Joe Lansdale is a great pick, but I have to go with Neal Stephenson. I can’t get through a single chapter of Snowcrash without laughing out loud.

    Comment by John ONeill - December 30, 2016 11:28 am

  11. > Leonard’s early western novels are excellent and little heralded in comparison with his crime fiction.
    > In fact, Valdez is Coming is one of the very best novels I’ve read in any genre for maybe the past ten years.

    John,

    OK, this is embarrassing, but I didn’t even know Leonard WROTE western novels.

    I am heartily intrigued, however. Are any of them still in print?

    Comment by John ONeill - December 30, 2016 11:30 am

  12. John — I was just poking around on Amazon last night, and it looks like most, if not all, of Leonard’s Westerns are still available in eBook; I assume they’d also be available in print.

    Comment by Joe H. - December 30, 2016 11:44 am

  13. > most, if not all, of Leonard’s Westerns are still available in eBook; I assume they’d also be available in print.

    Thanks Joe! I’ll check out Amazon today.

    Comment by John ONeill - December 30, 2016 11:56 am

  14. > I’m buying these LIBRARY OF AMERICA volumes because I like the format and packaging.

    Kelly,

    I know exactly what you mean! I have about half of the Leonard novels in these omnibus collections in hardcover, but I still want the Library of America editions. They are compact and handsome, and highly readable.

    Comment by John ONeill - December 30, 2016 11:58 am


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