Crime writer Elmore Leonard is recovering from a stroke in an undisclosed Detroit-area hospital.
“It happened a week ago, last Monday [July 29],” his longtime researcher, Gregg Sutter, told the Detroit News. “He’s doing better every day, and the family is guardedly optimistic.”
The 87-year-old Leonard is in the middle of his 46th novel and “working very hard,” according to Sutter. In November, Leonard -- author of such books as “Out of Sight,” “Killshot” and “Get Shorty” -- received a Medal for Distinguished Contribution from the National Book Foundation, one of several honors to add to his mantelpiece. Other honors include a Peabody Award for the TV show “Justified,” a Grand Master Edgar Award and a PEN Lifetime Achievement Award. He has published novels and short stories since 1953, starting with his book “The Bounty Hunters.”
Several of Leonard’s works have been adapted for TV and film, inspiring some of the industry’s most notable directors, such as Quentin Tarantino (“Jackie Brown,” an adaptation of the novel “Rum Punch”) and Steven Soderbergh (“Out of Sight”). Currently, Leonard’s character Raylan Givens --from the short story “Fire in the Hole” and the novels “Pronto,” “Riding the Rap,” and “Raylan” -- is the root of FX’s excellent series “Justified,” which features Leonard’s stylish, quotable writing and colorful characters.
Despite Leonard’s embrace by Hollywood, and a brief stint living here, he has remained a resident of Bloomfield Township, part of the Detroit metro area. Detroit has served as a muse for the writer, appearing frequently in his fiction.
“He’s showing great spirit,” said Sutter. “He’s a fighter, and we’re glad to see that.”