Leonard was a maestro, an inspiration, and one of my favorite authors. Glitz, Pronto, Riding the Rap, Out of Sight, Rum Punch, Cuba Libre, Get Shorty, Pagan Babies, Touch, Maximum Bob, When the Women Come Out to Dance… Those are only a few of his works.
In 2006 I was fortunate enough to meet Leonard, when he was awarded the Diamond Dagger for lifetime achievement by Britain’s Crime Writers’ Association. At the awards reception, it took me an hour to work up the courage to approach him. When I did, I acted like the tongue-tied fangirl I was. I don’t think I could speak in complete sentences.
In response he was soft spoken and kind. He asked if I wanted to know which of his novels was his own favorite. Of course I did. Of course I did. He said: Freaky Deaky.
I nodded frantically. I love Freaky Deaky. If you want to know why, here’s a video of Leonard reading the first chapter. The book features a character who’s a romance novelist, and when Leonard mentioned the novel, I blurted her line about writing historical bodice rippers: “Lots of rape and adverbs.”
Yes. That’s what I said to him. Then I scuttled back to the corner and beat my head against the wall.
Farewell, sir, and thanks for everything.