Despite knowing he couldn't go on forever, the news of Elmore Leonard's death is truly
saddening, partly because he went on so long, partly because he did it so well, and partly because he was so matter-of-fact, humble, and good humoured about his success. He was the perfect of example of a writer who laboured at his craft until the world caught up to his talent, and then kept labouring, unspoiled by his success. It was a marvelous run, the kind every pulp writer might have dreamed about. And if he were underappreciated in his early
years, he was perhaps over-hyped as mainstream literary people caught up. But if that were true, he certainly deserved it.
him at the NFT. 'Call me Dutch', he said, and after his lecture when he signed my copy of his
Complete Western Stories, I hadnt yet realised that it would be the best book
I'd read all that year. The last thing I wrote about him was this essay on Hombre, here on New Year's Day. He will be sorely missed.
'And are they shooting down the angels? You can bet your life they are They're irresistible targets, yeah For any shooting star' -John Stewart (1939-2008)
IRRESISTIBLE TARGETS: cultural commentary reaching critical mass with Michael Carlson, author (Pocket Essential Sergio Leone, Clint Eastwood, & Oliver Stone); journalist (Guardian, Indy, FT, Telegraph, IHT, Lobster, bbc.co.uk); critic (Spectator, TLS, Headpress, London Mag, Kamera, afterword to M.Connelly's Crime Beat, intros Sjowall & Wahloo's Murder At The Savoy, Octopus Collected Melville; essays in Following The Detectives); poet (Winter Lovers, Mucho Mojo, Chump Change, By The Sound & Zombie Footwork); film ed. Crime Time, books ed. Petrolhead, Xtreme; Shots' American Eye columnist; radio pundit (Sat. Review, Front Row, Open Book, Film Programme, Weekend, Brief Lives, Strand etc); & as Mike Carlson, sports journalist & commentator for Channel 4's NFL, BBC Olympic basketball, Eurosport, etc; podcaster at Americarnage.co.uk