Life’s a bitch and then you die. But if you’re tired of being a good little worker bee, have I ever got a writer for you: the later Elmore Leonard. The early Elmore—who lived a good long life, dying only in 2013 at the age of 87 after writing more than 40 novels—wrote Westerns. (Elmore—such a great name, we should use it. Besides, after reading hundreds of pages of his punchy prose, it’s hard to stand on ceremony: you feel as if you know the guy.) Even these early Westerns are classics of sorts: you may know “Hombre,” which was made into a movie with Elmore’s almost exact contemporary Paul Newman in the lead role, who, before movies like “The Sting,” did a series of movies starting with H, including “The Hustler,” “Hud,” and “Harper” as well as “Hombre.” By the time Elmore got around to Get Shorty, the first of the four novels in this collection, he was 65 (1990) and had gotten funky. And he stayed funky.