The Sirens of Suspense

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An Anthony Award-nominated website on all things mystery.

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Researcher for Elmore Leonard for more than 30 years. Born in Detroit, he lives in Los Angeles and recently edited the Library of America's Elmore Leonard three-volume anthology, the first of which (containing FIFTY-TWO PICK UP, SWAG, UNKNOWN MAN NO. 89 and THE SWITCH) is out now..

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GREGG SUTTER: A Jog With item1b

What is the strangest thing you were ever asked to research?

The methods used to ejaculate a bull. (Mr. Paradise.)


Ever gotten into a sticky situation doing in-person research?



Elmore Leonard would often be influenced by real people, one of whom you brought to his attention (Karen Sisco, who was inspired by a federal marshal standing outside a Fort Lauderdale courthouse with a shotgun). What about this image inspired him?

You’re joking, right? A dame with a rod is always inspiring.


What did you look for?

High contrast, always.


Did you ever have to research regional dialect and slang, or compile lexicons for characters?

"Fuck, you say.” No. You must not have read Elmore’s Ten Rules of Writing. #7 “Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly.” Nobody told Elmore how his characters talked, certainly not me. Character was a big part of his genius.


Leonard’s greatest influences were Hemingway and Bissell - if you could only choose one work from each author for a neophyte, which would you recommend?

For Whom the Bell Tolls and High Water.


What’s your favorite of his work? Why?

Unknown Man #89. The bad guy, Raymond Gidre shot out windows on Main Street in Rochester, Michigan where I lived when I was in college. I narrowly missed getting hit.


What’s coming next for you?

A greeter’s job at Walmart or becoming a Hollywood producer.





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Book he wishes he could read again for the first time: Fifty-Two Pickup.

What he's reading now: Good Manners for Nice People Who Sometimes Say Fuck by Amy Alkon.

Book or eReader? Both.

Favorite online resource: Nexis.

Favorite independent bookstore: John King Books, Detroit.

If he could have a drink with any author: Amy Alkon.

If he could invite four people to a dinner party: Adolph Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt. After we carved up Poland, we'd play canasta for five.