Murder mystery author Susan Goldstein
Murder mystery author Susan Goldstein
Murder mystery author Susan Goldstein
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A few words for Elmore Leonard

My world is shrinking. It went down to the size of a tennis ball when I lost my dad. Now Elmore Leonard is gone and it's down to the size of a pinhead. So few left worthy of filling the space we call our world.

I have a collection of three thousand mysteries. One large shelf is devoted to only Elmore Leonard. There is space on that shelf for one more book. Weekly I would look at that space and say, "He's going to do it. He's going to stay here in my tennis ball sized world, keep writing and give me another book to fit into the slot I have left for him." The space is still there but he's not.

I like to say that I discovered Elmore Leonard. Of course I didn't. That would be ridiculous. The reality is that I was reading him long before my mystery aficionado friends had discovered him so it felt like he was my discovery. My favorite book is Cat Chaser. Some who consider themselves fans don't know the book. Of course not. They haven't read his whole body of work like I have, just the last ten or twelve highly publicized and best selling ones. They're all great but different kinds of great. Do yourself a favor. Go read all of them.

I never read an Elmore Leonard book that didn't give me goosebumps when I came to the last line. Especially Cuba Libre. I don't know why. I hated the movie Get Shorty. I felt like the person who made the movie didn't understand Elmore Leonard's rhythm, his characters, his heartbeat. It was too cartoonish. I could go on and on because when it comes to Elmore Leonard I'm on a beloved subject. The reasons are many. He made me feel his characters to my core. He made me wish that I could talk, walk and think like they did. He made me want to jump into his books and make his fictional world my real life. And I like my life. Only I liked his world even better.

I envied how effortless he made writing appear. It was work but he was a master. He made me want to be a better writer. I read his books to be entertained but what also happened is that I learned. I learned about writing and life and characters and the flow. I could say so much more. But he always said leave out the parts people tend to skip. And I think you, dear reader, may be just about there. Isn't it hard to face losing yet another thing to look forward to in the future. Way too much of that as we get older. My favorite author has exited. I will weep for a long time but it would be selfish to not say: Thank you, Mr. Leonard. Just one more time: Thank you, Mr. Leonard. Say hi to my Dad. He loved your work too.