Like a number of other famous authors, Elmore Leonard served his early apprenticeship producing stories for American pulp fiction. Writing mainly Westerns at the start of his career with some well received stories such as Hombre, he eventually moved towards more urban fiction with an impressive catalogue of gritty detective stories and thrillers. Titles like Get Shorty; Rum Punch (which was adapted in to the film Jackie Brown) and Out of Sight helped establish Leonard as a writer of some repute in the genre, but it was with Glitz in 1985 that he really made his breakthrough in the field.
His books have become highly acclaimed and, although popular with readers, it is through the various film and TV adaptations that a number of his titles have become more famous. His focus on strong, evocative dialogue translated extremely well onto the big screen. As well as the strong dialogue within his books, Leonard also allows his readers to access the thoughts of his characters through inner monologues and third person descriptions. This approach has led to a much rounder and more complete picture of his books’ protagonists.
For collectors of his first editions, The Moonshine War, published in 1969 by Doubleday, can reach around $300 dollars. Fifty-Two Pick Up from 1974 commands a similar figure. His work is occasionally “batched up” into larger collections of 70s and 80s detective fiction books by numerous authors, so these lots are worth investigating for some hidden gems.
Leonard, Elmore. The Bounty Hunters. Houghton Mifflin, Boston (1954). First Hardcover Edition; $2.00 price
Leonard, Elmore. The Big Bounce. Robert Hale, London (1969). First UK Edition;
Leonard, Elmore. The Moonshine War. Doubleday, New York (1969). stated first edition
Leonard, Elmore. Valdez Is Coming. Robert Hale, London (1969). First UK Edition; 1000 copies;
Leonard, Elmore. Fifty Two Pickup. Delacorte Press, New York (1974). first issue DJ with $6.95 price; 1st US edition;
Leonard, Elmore. The Switch. Secker and Warburg, London (1979). First Hardcover Edition.
Leonard, Elmore. Gold Coast. W. H. Allen, London (1982). First UK edition;
Leonard, Elmore. Stick (Original screenplay). Universal Pictures, Universal City (1983). Directed by and starring Burt Reynolds, based on the 1983 novel by Leonard, written for the screen by Leonard, and starring Burt Reynolds, Candice Bergen, George Segal, and Charles Durning
Leonard, Elmore. Bandits. Privately Published (1986). 60 numbered copies
Leonard, Elmore. Valdez Is Coming. Thorndike Press, Maine (1987). First U.S. hardcover edition; Library of Congress stamp dated 1987 to copyright page
Leonard, Elmore. Hombre. Armchair Detective Library, New York (1989). 100 copies; new introduction by the author