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Old 28-01-2013, 11:40   #1
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Best Elmore Leonard books??

Hi folks,

As mentioned in the ‘What are you reading’ thread, I was planning to take a break from sci-fi/fantasy and give some Elmore Leonard a try. Given that he’s mentioned as one of the greatest American writers of the past 100 years, I was surprised to find there’s no thread about his books, which I’ve now remedied!

He’s the author of some 50-odd books, and was keen to get some recommendations where to start.

From a few articles, I’ve got Swag, Hombre, KillShot and Rum Punch (source of Jackie Brown) earmarked. I also read that his earlier western-themed stories are worth reading

My main concern is that I understand quite a few of his characters turn up in multiple books, so don’t want to read something where someone's killed, only for them to turn up as the main protagonist in the next one I read!

As a fan of Justified, I notice Raylan Givens turns up in a few of his books so was thinking of giving that a try too (although the newish novel ‘Raylan’ bizarrely sounds to be a alternative timeline version of Season 3 of Justified, with some characters swapped around or meeting other conclusions )

Any recommendations welcome
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Old 28-01-2013, 13:07   #2
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To be honest I find it really hard to remember which ones I have read and which I haven't.

I tend to go for the ones that haven't been filmed. I remember enjoying The Switch.

I think you are fairly safe all round with Leonard, none particularly stand out, but most are enjoyable.

I have also compounded the problem by reading quite a bit of Joe R Lansdale as well, so I am getting even more confused between the two of them, too.
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Old 29-01-2013, 01:56   #3
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It's been well over a decade since I last read any Leonard books, but of the ones I've read, Get Shorty is easily the best. I'm a fan of the film, but the novel is much better, the sequel: Be Cool is also worth reading, but not in the same league.

Of the others I've read: Glitz & Rum Punch are very good, definitely get those. Pronto is the only book of his I've read with Raylan Givens in it, when I read it as a youth I considered it in the same league as Be Cool in good, but not quite up to the stellar standards of Leonard's best, but I have a feeling my tastes have changed quite a bit since then & might appreciate it more if I read it today. Give it a go, I think it's the first book with Givens in it, so it's safe to try.

Last edited by Shingster; 29-01-2013 at 02:04.
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Old 29-01-2013, 18:27   #4
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Pretty much any one will guarantee a good read, but another vote here for Get Shorty. Much better than the film, & the final line is probably my favourite ending to a book ever.

Raylan is a good book, but as you say, if you've seen Justified Seasons 2 & 3, you may get a feeling of deja vu quite a few times. (though most of storylines end differently to the show)

His short stories are well worth a look too. 'When the Women Come Out to Dance' is a decent place to start & includes the story "Fire in the Hole' which was the basis for Justified.

Check you local charity shops, as it seems to be a law that they must always have a few of his books on their shelves.
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Old 31-01-2013, 20:01   #5
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Maximum Bob, Pronto, Riding The Rap, Freaky Deaky... been a while since I've read them, but they're all worth a read, as are the others mentioned above.
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Old 03-02-2013, 09:09   #6
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I enjoyed Rum Punch and Get Shorty. The Switch (which is the predecessor to Rum Punch/Jackie Brown) isn't quite as good, but still worth a read.

(think they're the only ones I've read)
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