Thursday, March 8, 2007

A Very Short Post on Elmore Leonard

In most crime novels (even really good ones), the criminals tend to be dangerous because they are smart or wiley or obsessed or possess some other kind of strength that makes them worthy opponents.This is understandable: writers want to give their heroes a challenge. So, if their protagonists are a cut above, their antagonists need to be, too. (A clear example of this is in the TV show Law & Order: Criminal Intent: Goren is always facing off in a battle of wits against some kind of extra-clever killer.)One of the things I like about Elmore Leonard's criminals is that they are dangerous because they are unpredictable and violent - even though they're usually not that bright. This strikes me as being a somewhat clearer-eyed take on the matter.

1 comment:

dale said...

I agree.
Another reason they are so dangerous is the chemistry between Leonard's band of criminals.
One will usually be the leader for awhile, but things take a turn when another feels betrayed and alters the plan. This is when people will die toward the third act. FREAKY DEAKY is a good example of this, my favorite of his novels still.