The Westerns of Detroit Novelist Elmore Leonard

Laura Weber Davis/WDET

The world knows Elmore Leonard as the native son who penned classic modern crime novels such as “Get Shorty”, “Out of Sight”, “Be Cool”, “The Big Bounce”, and “Rum Punch” which was adapted to make the film “Jackie Brown” by Quentin Tarantino.

Leonard created gritty, flawed characters and placed them in urban landscapes that were heavily, or directly, influenced by Detroit.

But Leonard also wrote several stories in a completely different style — Westerns. That includes “3:10 to Yuma” and other stories he penned early in his career.

Terrance Rafferty has edited a collection of Leonard’s westerns. He joins Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson to talk about the author’s fascination with that genre.

He had never been to the West,” says Rafferty. “He got it from the movies. He did some research in books. And he subscribed to Arizona Highways, a glossy magazine of the time that gave him nice color pictures to fuel the descriptions that he wrote.”

Click on the audio player above to hear the full conversation.

Image credit: Laura Weber Davis/WDET

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