Get Shorty

Elmore Leonard

Illustrated by Gary Kelley

Introduced by Dennis Lehane

Elmore Leonard’s acerbic rampage through Miami’s underworld and Hollywood’s movie industry is given a much-anticipated Folio production.

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A prolific author whose work is widely known but whose name remains under the radar, Elmore Leonard was the master of the popular crime genre, embracing mid-century noir and Americana. Arguably, the greatest showcase for his prodigious talent is Get Shorty, and this explosive new edition sees Leonard’ characters ruminate, seduce and terrorise through a series of compelling full-page portraits by multi-award-winning illustrator Gary Kelley.

’I didn’t know it was possible to be as good as Elmore Leonard’

  1. New York Times Book Review

Production Details

Three-quarter bound in blocked cloth with a printed and blocked Modigliani paper front-board

Set in Freight Text with Neutraface as display

296 pages

Frontispiece and 6 colour illustrations

Plain slipcase

˝ x 6¼˝

A lesson in the craft of novel writing

‘Mr Leonard did more than merely validate the popular crime thriller; he stripped the form of its worn-out affectations, reinventing it for a new generation and lifting it to a higher literary shelf’

  1. The New York Times

A masterclass in dialogue-driven narrative, Get Shorty is a pulse-quickening romp around the back streets of Miami, the gambling dens of Vegas and the flashy pads of LA with a motley crew of mobsters, dames and wannabe movie stars. From the very first page the reader is plunged headfirst into the action, in the room with mob enforcer Chili Palmer and his cronies. As introducer Dennis Lehane writes, ‘Elmore Leonard’s plots feel less like plots and more like life’. And he should know: a Leonard obsessive with his own collection of stellar writing credits, including Mystic River and The Wire, Lehane casts an appreciative eye over the writer’s work in an introduction specially commissioned for this edition.  

Mobsters and moviemakers aren’t so very different

Harry Zimm is a has-been pulp-horror film director trying to get a new project off the ground with finances from insalubrious sources. When Chili makes a midnight visit to call in a bad debt, he realises that his career is a near-perfect screenplay, so instead of putting the frighteners on Harry he pitches him a film. What follows is an unlikely alliance between the pair, with supporting roles from every walk of life. There’s Harry’s ex-wife Karen, a sassy siren trying to offer more than her physical assets to the movie industry; Bo Catlett, a driver with dubious connections and cash to invest in a film; and Michael Weir, the vertically challenged Hollywood A-lister gunning for the lead in Chili’s real-life movie plot.  

Writing so good the films make themselves

‘It would be hard to characterise Elmore Leonard’s creative burst during the whole of the 1980s as anything but a sustained – and quite possibly unequalled – bout of excellence’

  1. From Dennis Lehane’s introduction

It’s no surprise that so many of Leonard’s books have been snapped up for big-screen adaptations (Freaky Deaky, Jackie Brown, Hombre and, of course, Get Shorty, to name just a few). His on-point characters and no-holds-barred narratives make these stories pretty much clapperboard ready, with actors and directors including Quentin Tarantino, John Travolta and Gene Hackman queuing up for screen credits. But Get Shorty is the cleverest of them all. Here, the apparently disparate worlds of mobsters and moviemakers seamlessly merge until the reader is left unsure where the money comes from, who runs the show, and whether there’s anyone left in either camp without blood on their hands or skeletons in the closet.

About Elmore Leonard

Elmore Leonard wrote more than 40 books during his long career, including the bestsellers Raylan, Tishomingo Blues, Be Cool, Get Shorty and Rum Punch, as well as the acclaimed collection When the Women Come Out to Dance, which was a New York Times Notable Book. Many of his books have been made into movies, including Get Shorty and Out of Sight. The short story ‘Fire in the Hole’ and three books, including Raylan, were the basis for the FX hit show Justified. Leonard received the Lifetime Achievement Award from PEN USA and the Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America. He died in 2013.

About Dennis Lehane

Dennis Lehane grew up in Boston. Since his first novel, A Drink Before the War, won the Shamus Award, he has published 12 more novels that have been translated into more than 30 languages. His most recent work is a standalone novel, Since We Fell. Five of his novels – Live by Night, Mystic River, Gone, Baby, Gone, Shutter Island and The Drop – have been adapted into films. Lehane was a staff writer on the acclaimed HBO series The Wire and is currently a writer and producer on the television adaptation of Stephen King’s Mr Mercedes.

About Gary Kelley

‘This story is told with great dialogue; conversations among the characters. For me, their portraits were the perfect way to enhance that’

  1. Gary Kelley

Gary Kelley studied painting and design at the University of Northern Iowa. As an illustrator his awards have included 27 gold and silver medals from the Society of Illustrators in New York, and Best-In-Show recognition in New York and Los Angeles Illustrators’ Exhibitions. He was elected to the Society of Illustrators (NY) Hall of Fame in 2007. His list of clients includes Time, Rolling Stone, Atlantic Monthly, The New Yorker and Playboy, plus numerous advertising and design firms. He created murals featuring famous authors for Barnes and Noble Bookstores throughout the US.


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