''Most thrillers,'' says Elmore Leonard, ''are based on a situation, or on a plot, which is the most important element in the book. I don't see it that way. I see my characters as being most important, how they bounce off one another, how they talk to each other, and the plot just sort of comes along.''
As all mystery and crime fiction readers will know by now, Elmore Leonard has died at the age of 87. I've been an intermittent reader of his work over the years, and always enjoy it when I do. I have nothing particularly new to add to the eulogies, but I thought I'd post a link to a piece Walker Percy wrote on Bandits for the New York Times book review some years ago. I was probably more of a Walker Percy sort of reader than a crime fiction reader at that point, and I think Percy may have shifted an unconscious snobbiness I had about genre more than I really knew at the time. Reading Leonard helped too.