A collection of fifteen stories, eleven of which have never been previously published, from the early career of bestselling American master Elmore Leonard.
Over his long and illustrious career, Elmore Leonard was recognized as one of the greatest crime writers of all time, the author of dozens of bestselling books—many adapted for the big screen—as well as a master of short fiction. A superb stylist whose crisp, tight prose crackled with trademark wit and sharp dialogue, Leonard remains the standard for crime fiction and a literary model for writers of every genre.
Marked by his unmistakable grit and humor, the stories in Charlie Martz and Other Stories—produced early in his career, when he was making his name particularly with westerns—reveal a writer in transition, exploring new voices and locations, from the bars of small-town New Mexico and Michigan to a film set in Hollywood, a hotel in Southern Spain, even a military base in Kuala Lumpur. They also introduce us to classic Leonard characters, some who recur throughout the collection, such as aging lawman Charlie Martz and weary former matador Eladio Montoya.
Devoted Leonard aficionados and fans new to his fiction will marvel at these early works that reveal an artist on the cusp of greatness.
Written while Leonard (Raylan) held a day job as an advertising copywriter, this posthumous collection showcases the early writing of the author of westerns and crime stories, revealing his particular genius in embryonic, pulpish form. Fans of Justified's Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens will recognize his roots in straight-shooting Charlie Martz, a lawman in the New Mexico Territory who is featured in several stories. Aficionados of the classic movie westerns 3:10 to Yuma and The Tall T, both adapted from Leonard's short stories, will find a familiar narrative in "Confession," in which a Catholic priest defends his church against two cold-blooded outlaws. Readers familiar with the mean streets of Leonard's Detroit will feel right at home with "One, Horizontal," as a man seeks revenge on the mobsters responsible for crippling his brother. Tough guys, another Leonard constant, clash in "For Something to Do," in which a veterinarian squares off against a jealous boxer over a woman. Leonard's trademark pitch-perfect ear for dialogue is on full display with the battling husband and wife of "The Italian Cut." And lovers of his movie-business satire, Get Shorty, will laugh knowingly at the antics of an overlooked American film extra making a sword-and-sandals epic in Spain in "The Only Good Syrian Footsoldier Is a Dead One." Despite the occasional dips into purple prose, the 15 stories in this collection are an enjoyable illustration of a writer taking his first halting steps toward greatness.