Elmore Leonard’s final novel may be completed by his son

Elmore Leonard at work in 2010.
(Carlos Osorio / Associated Press)

Elmore Leonard was in the middle of writing a novel, “Blue Dreams,” when he passed away last week at age 87. That’s no surprise — Leonard was famously prolific, sometimes publishing a book a year or more.

But Leonard’s death may not be the end of the “Blue Dreams” story. His son, Peter, also a novelist, may complete the book left unfinished by his father.

When asked if he would complete the book, Peter replied, “I would, I think so.” The interview was with British BBC 4 Radio. “It’s been discussed among family members and I’ve talked to Greg Sutter, Elmore’s longtime researcher,” he said.


“Blue Dreams” has been described as involving a rogue Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent and a retired bull rider who falls for a movie star. Although Leonard’s books often had complex, fast-moving plots, they were always driven by character — so we know first who is in the book before we come to learn what they’ll do.

That may make things difficult for Peter, who seriously turned his hand to fiction only after he turned 51, after suffering a harsh critique from his father when he was right out of college. When he finally showed his father his work again, “He wrote back saying, ‘I’m on the edge of my seat; you really know how to write',” Peter explained.

Another complication is that Elmore Leonard, whose well-known novels include “Get Shorty,” “The Big Bounce,” “Glitz,” “Hombre,” “Bandits,” “Be Cool,” “Killshot,” “Rum Punch,” and “Out of Sight,” was not much of an outliner. He let the stories unfold as he was writing them.

Finishing “Blue Dreams” will be a real challenge — one that will require more than just adhering to Leonard’s famous 10 rules of writing.


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