Today: April 20, 2024

Hit Series Gets The Folio Treatment

If you’re a fan of Epix’s dark-comedy Get Shorty—which has just been renewed for a third season—then the Folio Society’s new edition of Elmore Leonard’s crime-aper is sure to hit the spot.

While the 1995 film, staring John Travolta, Gene Hackman, Rene Russo, and Danny DeVito, took its inspiration from directly from the novel, the TV series is more of a homage than a direct adaptation. Which makes the novel the perfect ‘origin story’ and, arguably, the greatest showcase for Leonard’s prodigious talent.

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 Hollywood wannabes. From the very first page, the reader is plunged headfirst into the action, in the room with mob enforcer Chili Palmer and his cronies. 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…

As Dennis Lehane writes in the introduction to the new edition: “Elmore Leonard’s plots feel less like plots and more like life.” Lehane – whose own collection of stellar writing credits include Mystic River and HBO’s The Wire – is a self-confessed Leonard obsessive and the introduction casts an appreciative eye over the writer’s work.

As Foilo fans know, the heart of every new edition that they produce are its illustrations and this explosive new volume is no exception. Seven mesmerising full-page portraits see Leonard’s characters ruminate, seduce, and terrorise through the wonderfully 50s-feel work of illustrator Gary Kelley. 

Kelly name may not be as familiar as Leonard’s but 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 and has worked for Time, Rolling Stone, Atlantic Monthly, The New Yorker and numerous advertising and design firms. He has also created murals featuring famous authors for Barnes and Noble Bookstores throughout the US.

The edition is three-quarter bound in blocked cloth with a printed and blocked Modigliani paper front-board and a plain slipcase.

The Folio Society edition of Elmore Leonard’s Get Shorty, introduced by Dennis Lehane and illustrated by Gary Kelley, is available exclusively here:

 Illustrations ©2019 Gary Kelley from The Folio Society edition of Get Shorty.

Paula Hammond - Features Editor

Paula Hammond is a full-time, freelance journalist. She regularly writes for more magazines than is healthy and has over 25 books to her credit. When not frantically scribbling, she can be found indulging her passions for film, theatre, cult TV, sci-fi and real ale. If you should spot her in the pub, after five rounds rapid, she’ll be the one in the corner mumbling Ghostbusters quotes and waiting for the transporter to lock on to her signal… Email:

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