Elmore Leonard

Deemed by many to be the finest living crime writer, Leonardís mastery of dialogue is second to none. He says his trademark fractured speech patterns are culled from tapes he made of live interviews by the Detriot police, but the rhythms and exquisite balance of his sentences are the product of a hard-working craftsman. Take the first page of Freaky Deaky, and its wonderfully banal telephone conversation between Booker, dragged from his Jacuzzi and persuaded into his favourite chair, and his supposed girlfriend, Moselle. Only when she has him seated can she reveal that "when you get up, honey, whatís left of your ass is gonna go clear through the ceiling". There have been several attempts - unsuccessfully - to turn Leonardís brilliant books into films, though the recent Get Shorty came near, and Quentin Tarantino believes that he has succeeded.

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