By James Calemine
Born in New Orleans during 1925, Elmore Leonard ranks as one of America’s finest writers. His family soon moved from the Crescent City to Detroit when he was a child, and Leonard never moved away from the Motor City. Author of 45 novels, Leonard wrote various screenplays and books that were adapted to film such as Get Shorty, Be Cool, Out of Sight, Joe Kid, Killshot and many others. One of Leonard’s short stories became the film 3:10 to Yuma.
Leonard’s book When The Women Come Out To Dance contains nine stories of crime fiction. Several of these short stories were never published before. Leonard’s trademark economical prose, sharp dialogue and vivid imagery appear throughout this concise collection.
“Sparks” reveals a flirtation between an insurance agent and a woman under suspicion of burning down her house. The title story tells the tale of an ex-stripper, now the wife of a rich surgeon, who fears her husband is going to kill her, and she intends to turn the tables. “Fire In the Hole” presents Boyd Crowder–a bible-thumping neo Nazi–who enjoys terrorism in east Kentucky.
A southern baseball story called “Chickasaw Charlie Hoke” proves memorable. “Tenkiller” revolves around a former world champion bull rider from Oklahoma. Perhaps in this day and age of crazy ADD, short stories may be the best way to become acquainted with a writer. Rest assured, When The Women Come Out To Dance stands as the work of a master.