{List-O-Rama} 3 Elmore Leonard Novels You Really Should Read

Elmore Leonard & Timothy Olyphant aka Raylan GivensWith the (very deserved) popularity of the FX television show Justified, there’s a resurgence in interest of Elmore Leonard’s work. The thing is, the dude’s written a lot—and I mean—a lot of novels. And, I’ve read most all of them that aren’t westerns. So, if Justified has your interest piqued in Leonard’s work, here are my suggestions for good books of his to start with. 


Touch by Elmore LeonardTouch, 1987, Arbor House

This is probably my absolute favorite Leonard Novel. It’s about an astigmatic former monk and faith healer who finds himself admist an odd assortment of characters (including a baton twirler) in Michigan. It’s the Leonard book I recommend to people who have a soft spot for romance and are nervous about crime fiction, because this one is far sweeter and none of the characters are actual criminals per se. But, it’s just as suspenseful and twisty as all of his novels, and is written with the characteristic Leonard wit.

{Buy Touch: Amazon | BN | Powell’s}

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Tishomingo Blues by Elmore LeonardTishomingo Blues, 2002, Harper Collins

Tishomingo Blues tells the story of a wayward high diver who witnesses a murder while on his diving platform in Mississippi. This book has one of my favorite casts of characters in a Leonard book (and they’re always great), including one who’s a washed-up baseball player who bloviates incessantly of his former glory. The scenes with him are golden. This is definitely more of a traditional crime novel, but it’s a great gateway to the genre. 

{Buy Tishomingo Blues: Amazon (only $5.60!) | BN | Audible | Powell’s}

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Cuba Libre, 1998, Harper Torch

Cube Libre by Elmore LeonardFinally, I cannot recommend Cuba Libre enough. In many ways, it epitomizes Elmore Leonard’s writing: it’s got a western-ish feel, there’s a caper and clever dialog. It takes place during the run-up to and beginning of the Spanish-American War, so there’s an enjoyable fabric of history overlaid on the story as well. There’s also a bit of a sweet love story in this one, for folks who like a bit of that with their crime fiction. 

{Buy Cuba Libre: Amazon | BN | Powell’s}

 {Add it on Goodreads}

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