Legendary American crime novelist Elmore Leonard, who wrote countless best sellers and had his work adapted for both the small and big screens, has died. He was 87.
Leonard, who had suffered a stroke late last month, passed away at 7:15 AM (1115 GMT) at his home near Detroit "surrounded by his loving family," his official website said.
Author Patricia Cornwall paid tribute, saying he was "one of the true icons of crime literature and entertainment".
She added he would be "hugely missed".
Leonard\’s gritty novels attracted a wide audience for more than five decades and inspired several movies, including the 1967 Paul Newman western "Hombre," the 1995 crime comedy "Get Shorty," "Out of Sight" (1998), and Quentin Tarantino\’s "Jackie Brown" (1997), based on the novel "Rum Punch."
The National Book Foundation awarded its 2012 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters to Leonard last November.
"For a half-century, Elmore Leonard has produced vibrant literary work with an inimitable writing style," the foundation\’s executive director Harold Augenbraum said.
In presenting the award, the British novelist Martin Amis succinctly described Leonard as "a literary genius who writes re-readable thrillers."
Leonard\’s best-known works were set in the grimy underworld of cities like Detroit and Miami, starring cops, crooks and hitmen.
Leonard once admitted his books "aren\’t exactly plot-driven."
"They\’re about people, with guns, in dire situations."
Leonard punched his novels ahead with dialogue and avoided long paragraphs with extended descriptions of landscapes or inner monologues, which he derided as "hooptedoodle."
He explained his bare-boned prose in a 10-point writing guide published by the New York Times in 2001 and cited by his many admirers on Twitter as news of his death spread.
Tips include: "Avoid detailed descriptions of characters," "Don\’t go into great detail describing places and things" and "Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip."
"Think of what you skip reading a novel: thick paragraphs of prose you can see have too many words in them," he wrote.
"What the writer is doing, he\’s writing, perpetrating hooptedoodle, perhaps taking another shot at the weather, or has gone into the character\’s head, and the reader either knows what the guy\’s thinking or doesn\’t care. I\’ll bet you don\’t skip dialogue."
His most important rule, summing up all 10: "If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it."
Leonard had been at work on his 46th novel when he passed away.
Source: AFP and Agencies