The late great Elmore Leonard, whose writing career began at a Detroit advertising agency six decades ago, gets a nice tribute ad on the back page of Thursday’s New York Times Arts section.
That went nicely with the Janet Maslin appraisal on the front page of the Arts section, which began this way:
When “Freaky Deaky” came out in 1988, Elmore Leonard’s writing credo hadn’t quite kicked in yet. Though he would later deliver 10 great rules for writing with streamlined tough-guy elegance, the dedication for “Freaky Deaky” thanked his wife for giving him “a certain look when I write too many words.”
But even in 1988, not yet at his most terse, Mr. Leonard was garnering praise so high it defied belief. “Who else gets reviews like these?!” asked the back cover of his next book, “Killshot” (1989). Who, indeed. Among the mash notes cited were “No one writes better”; “It’s impossible not to love Elmore Leonard”; “Leonard is a national literary treasure”; “The most interesting author of crime fiction that we have ever had”; and “When a new Leonard book comes out, it’s like Christmas morning.”
Now that Leonard’s gone, it’s more like a New Year’s Day hangover.