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And another loss yesterday: Elmore Leonard, the creator of some of the most memorable characters in modern crime fiction, has died. Until he suffered a stroke a few weeks ago, the 87-year-old never stopped writing.


Elmore Leonard lived in or near Detroit for most of his life. He wrote about his hometown, but his characters could also be found across the country, from Atlantic City to L.A., coming at readers in a rush of dialogue both funny and crass, and stumbling upon trouble wherever they went.

GREENE: In an interview with NPR, Leonard said he auditioned his characters in the first 100 pages of his books to figure out who would live and who would die.


ELMORE LEONARD: If I have several bad guys, and I only want to end up with one of them, then I have to decide which one I want in the end. And it's - normally, it's the one who is the most interesting talker.

MONTAGNE: And Leonard's characters were great talkers. He wrote more than 40 novels: "The Big Bounce," "Get Shorty," "Rum Punch," "Glitz."

GREENE: Many of them were made into movies. Elmore Leonard was also known for his 10 rules of writing, among them: Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip. He was writing to the end, hard at work on yet another novel.

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