Elmore Leonard: Four Novels of the 1970s: Fifty-Two Pickup / Swag / Unknown Man No. 89 / The Switch: (Library of America #255)

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Overview

The Library of America inaugurates its Elmore Leonard edition with four funny, street-smart early masterpieces, gathered in one volume for the first time: Blending gritty toughness and unpredictable violence with wild humor and an uncanny ear for the rhythms of ordinary speech, Elmore Leonard (1925–2013) was the most widely and enthusiastically admired crime novelist of his time. His genius for scene and dialogue led Time magazine to describe him as “a Dickens of Detroit,” and Newsweek called him “the best ...

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Overview

The Library of America inaugurates its Elmore Leonard edition with four funny, street-smart early masterpieces, gathered in one volume for the first time: Blending gritty toughness and unpredictable violence with wild humor and an uncanny ear for the rhythms of ordinary speech, Elmore Leonard (1925–2013) was the most widely and enthusiastically admired crime novelist of his time. His genius for scene and dialogue led Time magazine to describe him as “a Dickens of Detroit,” and Newsweek called him “the best American writer of crime alive, possibly the best we’ve ever had.” Now The Library of America inaugurates a three-volume edition of Leonard’s greatest work, prepared in consultation with the author shortly before his death and edited by his long-time researcher Gregg Sutter.

The four novels collected in this first volume re-invented the American crime novel and cemented Leonard’s reputation. All are set in his hometown Detroit, a hard-working “shot and a beer” kind of place whose lawless underside becomes a stage for an unforgettable cast of rogues, con artists, and psychopaths. Fifty-Two Pickup (1974), fast and sharply written, is an insidiously brutal book about an adulterous businessman who runs afoul of a crew of murderous blackmailers. Swag (1976) finds Leonard moving for the first time into the more comic mode that would become his signature, as he charts the small-time criminal careers of an amiable ex-con and an ambitious car salesman who share a bachelor pad and pursue their hedonistic dream of the good life through a string of armed robberies. Unknown Man No. 23 (1977) spins a complex web of crisscrossing rip-offs and con games, with process server Jack Ryan, a typically laid-back Leonard protagonist, caught in the middle. In The Switch (1978), one of Leonard’s funniest books, Mickey Dawson, a discontented housewife held for ransom, manages to turn the tables on her kidnappers while exacting overdue revenge on her scheming husband.

This volume also contains a newly researched chronology of Elmore Leonard’s life, drawing on materials in his personal archive, and detailed annotations, which include as a special bonus a scene from the typescript for Swag that did not appear in the published book.

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Charles Finch
This volume shrewdly drops us into [Leonard's] assured midcareer run, starting with the absorbing Fifty-Two Pickup, about a Detroit businessman and his blackmailers, and concluding with The Switch, about a housewife who manipulates her kidnappers. All four novels flawlessly capture the sad, twilight feel of the 1970s…Leonard is best when he's plotting something, like the serial armed robberies of Swag—mid-crime, nobody's pace or voice has ever been so dazzling.
From the Publisher
"The new Library of America volume of four Elmore Leonard novels from the 1970s has a winner on just about every page." — Neely Tucker, The Washington Post

"Leonard's star has never been brighter." — Los Angeles Times

Neely Tucker
"The new Library of America volume of four Elmore Leonard novels from the 1970s has a winner on just about every page."
Los Angeles Times
"Leonard's star has never been brighter."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781598533057
  • Publisher: Library of America
  • Publication date: 8/28/2014
  • Pages: 816
  • Sales rank: 124,041
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Elmore Leonard

Detroit native GREGG SUTTER first met Elmore Leonard in 1979 and began working for him in 1981. He is currently at work on a biography of Leonard, from his unique perspective as his full-time researcher for more than thirty years.

Biography

Elmore Leonard has written more than three dozen books during his highly successful writing career, including the bestsellers Be Cool, Get Shorty and Rum Punch. Many of his books have been made into movies, including Get Shorty and Out of Sight. He is the recipient of the Grand Master Award of the Mystery Writers of America. He lives with his wife in Bloomfield Village, Michigan.

Author biography courtesy of HarperCollins.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Elmore John Leonard Jr.
      Elmore Leonard
    2. Hometown:
      Bloomfield Village, Michigan
    1. Date of Birth:
      October 11, 1925
    2. Place of Birth:
      New Orleans, Louisiana
    1. Education:
      B.Ph., University of Detroit, 1950
    2. Website:

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 18, 2014

    Fantastic quality of printing and binding and materials. The wri

    Fantastic quality of printing and binding and materials. The writing is crisp, entertaining, deep, and fast-paced. 10 out of 10! 

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