He's been called "the greatest living writer of crime fiction" (New York Times). Though he'd been writing for decades, critics didn't take notice of him until the 1980s. Now his work is known for its tight prose, "ear-perfect" dialogue and depiction of lower-class life. Leonard has written more than 32 novels, including the bestsellers Pronto, Maximum Bob and Get Shorty, which was made into a film starring John Travolta and Gene Hackman. Leonard's 1999 novel Be Cool is the sequel to Get Shorty. It's just been made into a film also starring John Travolta, with Vince Vaughn. This interview originally was broadcast on Feb. 24, 1999.