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Book Review – Raylan by Elmore Leonard

Synopsis:  The revered New York Times bestselling author, recognized as “America’s greatest crime writer” (Newsweek), brings back U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens, the mesmerizing hero of Pronto, Riding the Rap, and the hit FX series Justified.

With the closing of the Harlan County, Kentucky, coal mines, marijuana has become the biggest cash crop in the state. A hundred pounds of it can gross $300,000, but that’s chump change compared to the quarter million a human body can get you–especially when it’s sold off piece by piece.

So when Dickie and Coover Crowe, dope-dealing brothers known for sampling their own supply, decide to branch out into the body business, it’s up to U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens to stop them. But Raylan isn’t your average marshal; he’s the laconic, Stetson-wearing, fast-drawing lawman who juggles dozens of cases at a time and always shoots to kill. But by the time Raylan finds out who’s making the cuts, he’s lying naked in a bathtub, with Layla, the cool transplant nurse, about to go for his kidneys.

The bad guys are mostly gals this time around: Layla, the nurse who collects kidneys and sells them for ten grand a piece; Carol Conlan, a hard-charging coal-mine executive not above ordering a cohort to shoot point-blank a man who’s standing in her way; and Jackie Nevada, a beautiful sometime college student who can outplay anyone at the poker table and who suddenly finds herself being tracked by a handsome U.S. marshal.

First Line:  Raylan Givens was holding a federal warrant to serve on a man in the marijuana trade known as Angel Arenas, forty-sever, born in the U.S. but 100 percent of him Hispanic.

Random Quote:  Bob Valdez, the name he was going by at this time, was loaned to Pervis by the Mexican Mafia – what they called themselves – to act as security, watch over the patches and see they got their cut.  Pervis would put up with it for the time being.

Review:  If you’ve watched the show Justified on FX, you’ll be familiar with Raylan Givens, the laconic shoot first, ask questions later Marshall who is the star of the show based on books by Elmore Leonard.  I’m never sure what I think about Leonard – although I suppose the best way to put it is that I tend to like the movies over the books.  Leonard’s writing style is very distinctive, but also very distracting for me.  He’s a funny guy with a sly sense of humor and his plots are always twisted in ways you don’t consider.  I enjoy his books when I read them, but I don’t wait in eager expectation of them, either.
About Elmore LeonardI’m probably the worst person in the world to review Raylan, if only because I don’t watch the series and this book is very tied to the series having been the basis of much of the second season of the show.  Its downfall was to have been released after the season of a show that many people consider better than the original.  I honestly can’t speak to that, so I won’t.

Leonard’s books are always a fun ride and Raylan holds to this tradition.  It’s full of the fast-talking sly humor that one expects from an Elmore Leonard novel along with a plot that hangs together although the last third seems a little tenuous compared to the pacing of the rest of the novel.  It’s sort of like he attached a coda onto a musical piece and the coda didn’t quite live up to the climax that came before it.  This doesn’t make either bad – it just exists and I don’t particularly like after-thought endings – especially when the rest is so entertaining.  Not Mr. Leonard’s best work, but as with a number of authors his “not best” is heads and tails above most people’s best so you still get plenty of bang for your buck.  I might have to go back and watch some of the series on FX …

FTC Disclosure:  Copy from publisher for review for the author’s TLC Book Tour

Publishing Information:  William Morrow – January 17, 2012

Format:  Paperback


Reading Challenges:  A to Z Reading Challenge, Mystery/Crime Reading Challenge

I’m pleased to have been a host on Mr. Leonard’s virtual book tour through TLC Book Tours!

Elmore Leonard has written more than forty books during his highly successful writing career, including the bestsellers Road DogsUp in Honeys RoomThe Hot KidMr. Paradise,Tishomingo Blues, and the critically acclaimed collection of short stories When the Women Come Out to Dance. Many of his books have been made into movies, including Get Shorty, Out of Sight, and Be CoolJustified, the hit series from FX, is based on Leonards character Raylan Givens, who appears in Riding the RapPronto, the short story Fire in the Hole, and Raylan. Leonard is the recipient of the National Book Foundations Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, the Lifetime Achievement Award from PEN USA, and the Grand Master Award of the Mystery Writers of America. He lives in Bloomfield Village, Michigan.
The fourth season of FXs hit original series, Justified, is set to premier on January 8, 2013.
Visit Elmore at his website, find him on Facebook, and follow him on Twitter.

Elmores Tour Stops

Wednesday, December 26th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Friday, December 28th: Book Addict Katie
Sunday, December 30: EmSun
Thursday, January 3rd: Helens Book Blog
Monday, January 7th: My Life in Not So Many Words
Tuesday, January 8th: Chaotic Compendiums
Thursday, January 10th: Jenny Loves to Read
Wednesday, January 16th: Jenns Bookshelves
Monday, January 28th: Luxury Reading
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