Last night I attended the Elmore Leonard reading and Q&A with the release of Road Dogs. From the reviews it looks like Dutch has done it again. In this, his 43rd novel, he brings back a Jack Foley from Out Of Sight, Cundo Rey from La Brava and Dawn Navarro from Riding The Rap. A few excerpts he read had the room laughing out loud several times. The man is just effortlessly funny.“So, what’s he like more? P*%$y? Or being one?”
During the Q&A someone asked what he thought the biggest obstacle to being published was. He said “Well, not writing a saleable book…” Another cat asked how he managed to write the way ex-cons and crimeys spoke so accurately. Mr Leonard answered with a story about a guy he’d met who’d asked the same question. This guy who had done time for marijuana sales explained that he couldn’t convince the authorities that it was for his personal use. “How much did you have?’ Elmore asked. The guy answered “400lbs”. Howls of laughter. He also hailed The Friends Of Eddie Coyle as one of the greatest crime novels ever written.
While he was signing my two books I told him that one was for my father who’d introduced me to Freaky Deaky, which was still my favorite. It turns out that he had “…no idea where it was going…” when he started it. The glint in his eye showed that he genuinely loves what he does and that’s what translates on the page.
Cheers, Dutch! (and J D’Beck)
Elmore Leonard interview on Don Imus May 13, 2009
Illustration by Kerry Waghorn www.kerrywaghorn.com