RIP, Elmore Leonard

A punch to the heart this morning. Elmore Leonard, author of 3:10 to Yuma, Get Shorty, Raylan and so many more, has died. We’ve lost a gent.

elmore leonard

My first introduction to his work was through film adaptations, Charles Bronson in Mr. Majestyk. My mother loved his books- Bandits especially- and I read Get Shorty and Rum Punch early on. My story “White People Problems,” a crime caper set in the Caribbean, was my homage to his unique form of chaotic, realistic thriller, with colorful but truly human characters figuring their way through bizarre situations.

Those iconic covers sure helped!
Those iconic covers sure helped!

He wrote tight stories but his dialogue and characters were what always held me. An American anthropologist of sorts, he collected familiar frenetic grotesques we could gladly cheer. Whether it was Jackie Brown, Chili Palmer, Mr. Majestyk, or Raylan Givens of “Justified,” he had a talent for creating unforgettable characters driven to get what they wanted, and we were happy to follow.

Rest in Peace, Mr. Leonard. Tonight I’ll raise a Rum Punch in your honor.

“The saying is: 1 part sour, 2 parts sweet, 3 parts strong and 4 parts weak.”

a recipe for Rum Punch. Mix ’em shake em, garnish with orange or lemon wedge.

1 cup white rum
1/2 cup dark rum
1/4 cup coconut rum
2 1/2 cups pineapple juice
2 1/2 cups orange juice
1/4 cup lime juice
3 tbsp grenadine syrup
ice cubes