Best-selling author Elmore Leonard dies at 87

DETROIT (AP) - Every fan of crime stories knows the name Elmore Leonard. Every novel he wrote from the mid-1980s on was a best-seller.

He helped achieve for crime writing what Stephen King did for horror, and Ray Bradbury for science fiction -- he made it hip, and he made it respectable.

Leonard died this morning at the age of 87. His researcher says Leonard died at his home in a Detroit suburb, where he did most of his writing. He died of complications from a stroke he suffered a few weeks ago.

Just last fall, Leonard became the first crime writer to receive an honorary National Book Award. It's a prize that was given in the past to Philip Roth, Norman Mailer and Arthur Miller.

Critics praised his unadorned style, as well as how real his characters sounded when they spoke. In all, Leonard wrote more than 40 novels, featuring pathetic schemers, clever con-men and casual killers.

When moviegoers flocked to see "Get Shorty" in 1995, Leonard became the darling of Hollywood's hottest young directors. His novels and short stories have been turned into dozens of feature films, TV movies and series, including the current FX show "Justified."


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