Murder Is Our Peculiar Pastime: Fifty Notable American Crime Novels: 29-30


Leonard, Elmore.  Get Shorty.  New York: Delacorte, 1990.

Almost single-handedly, Elmore Leonard brought the genre of crime fiction to renewed prominence. Although the sub-genre stretches back to James M. Cain and was enriched by Cornell Woolrich and Jim Thompson, it was eclipsed by the proliferation in the categories of mystery detective novels in the 1970s.  Leonard’s crime novels have been not only extraordinarily popular but also critically acclaimed.  They have transcended the conventions of their type in the same way that Hammett’s and Chandler’s detective novels exceeded the expectations of popular literature and demanded to be treated as “serious” fiction.  Leonard’s novels now routinely receive full-page reviews in the New York Times Book Review, and his work has been already been the subject of several book-length critical studies and a steadily increasing number of journal articles.

Most of Leonard’s crime novels have been set in Detroit or Florida…

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