I’ve been reading Elmore Leonard’s books since a time when I was way too young to have been reading his books. I started with City Primeval: High Noon in Detroit when I was about 12 and I’ve been reading him ever since. His dialogue sparkled in a way no other writer I’ve ever read has ever done. His characters sounded and felt “real” in a way that few other novels I’ve ever read have. In my life I’ve worked about a gazillion jobs, one of which included a short span working a temp job as a graphic designer in a now-defunct stockbrokers office in one of big buildings in Downtown Detroit. There wasn’t much about the six months or so I was there that was particularly memorable, except for that one day when I went downstairs to the bookstore in the lobby of the building next door only to discover none other then Elmore Leonard was there doing a book signing. This was for the paperback release of Riding the Rap, and I was stunned when I realized no one was there waiting to meet him. So I bought myself a paperback copy of the book, even though I already had it in hardcover, and for about 20 amazing, uninterrupted minutes I got to chat with one of my literary idols about the Detroit Tigers, his books and about the character of Raylan Givens long before Justified was on the air. So I was extremely saddened today to hear about Mr. Leonard’s passing. It’s not much, but here’s a little sketch of the man I did today. Thanks, Dutch, for all the good times I had reading your stories.