The final episode of FX’s Justified ran on Tuesday night, bringing renewed attention to Elmore Leonard via subtle homages to the author that were not lost on fans, the switching of the iconic Stetson hat to a version closer to the one Leonard lobbied for and a cameo of the book Leonard said he often re-read for inspiration, The Friends of Eddie Coyle by George V. Higgins (Macmillan/Picador, 1972; OverDrive Sample).
The series, originally based on Leonard’s short story “Fire in the Hole” (from the collection When the Women Come Out to Dance, re-released in trade paperback as Fire in the Hole, HarperCollins/Morrow; OverDrive Sample) and featuring the central character who also appeared in the novels Pronto, Riding the Rap, and Raylan, the last novel Leonard published before his death in 2013, has been a powerhouse show for the network and brought more fans to Leonard.
Both Fire in the Hold and The Friends of Eddie Coyle are currently rising on Amazon’s sales rankings.
Glowing reviews of the series’ end all laud Leonard as well, from New York Magazine’s in-depth conversation with executive producer Graham Yost to a consideration of Leonard’s character in Word & Film.
The renewed attention makes this a good time to promote Leonard’s extensive backlist and many adaptations through virtual and in-house displays.
The three Justified novels. as well as the collection featuring the original short story, have been reprinted with bursts on the covers to make the connection, “Featuring RAYLAN GIVENS, from the new FX Series, JUSTIFIED.”
Beyond the series, classic examples of Leonard’s style include Hombre, Rum Punch, Be Cool, and Killshot. The Morrow imprint of HarperCollins recently re-released those titles as well several others in new trade paperback editions.
Many of Leonard’s books have been made into movies such as 3:10 To Yuma, Get Shorty, Jackie Brown, and the recent Life of Crime (based on The Switch). The first five seasons of Justified are available on DVD and the final is on its way.
Don’t forget the audio versions. Favorite narrators Frank Muller and George Guidall served as narrators for many of his titles.