The National Book Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award for 2012 goes to Elmore Leonard (M). Or more specifically, the impressive sounding Distinguished Contribution to American Letters Medal.
Elmore Leonard, now considered to be one of the great living American writers, began publishing in 1953 with his first novel The Bounty Hunters (M). His career has spanned seven decades beginning with westerns, moving into crime, suspense and noir novels and onto the movies. Leonard’s novels can be gritty and violent with intricate plot twists and a likeable and quirky cast of characters. Though born in New Orleans, Leonard grew up in Detroit and many of his novels are based there and his vivid descriptions bring the city to life.
His novels have included stories of alligator poaching, the behind the scenes machinations of Hollywood, illegal arms, gangsters, daredevils and in his latest – human organ trafficking.
Amongst Leonard’s many awards are the Hammett Award, the Grand Master Edgar Award and the F. Scott Fitzgerald Literary Award for Outstanding Achievement in American literature.
In Raylan (M) “With the closing of the Harlan County, Kentucky, coal mines, marijuana has become the biggest cash crop in the state. A hundred pounds of it can gross $300,000, but that’s chump change compared to the quarter million a human body can get you—especially when it’s sold off piece by piece. So when Dickie and Coover Crowe, dope-dealing brothers known for sampling their own supply, decide to branch out into the body business, it’s up to U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens to stop them. But Raylan isn’t your average marshal; he’s the laconic, Stetson-wearing, fast-drawing lawman who juggles dozens of cases at a time and always shoots to kill. But by the time Raylan finds out who’s making the cuts, he’s lying naked in a bathtub, with Layla, the cool transplant nurse, about to go for his kidneys. The bad guys are mostly gals this time around: Layla, the nurse who collects kidneys and sells them for ten grand a piece; Carol Conlan, a hard-charging coal-mine executive not above ordering a cohort to shoot point-blank a man who’s standing in her way; and Jackie Nevada, a beautiful sometime college student who can outplay anyone at the poker table and who suddenly finds herself being tracked by a handsome U.S. marshal. Dark and droll, Raylan is pure Elmore Leonard—a page-turner filled with the sparkling dialogue and sly suspense that are the hallmarks of this modern master.”