Monday, February 20, 2012

Raylan - Elmore Leonard

Fans of Elmore Leonard will be familiar with Raylan Givens, the US Marshall who was featured in Leonard's previous books Pronto and Riding the Rap. At eighty six years old, Elmore Leonard shows no signs of slowing down. He's just released his latest book - Raylan.  Raylan is also the star of the hit television series Justified. (I'm hooked on the show and Timothy Olyphant)

Harlan County, Kentucky is hurting from the closure of coal mines. Entreprenurial folk have now made marijanua the county's number one cash crop. Raylan is familiar with most of the players, having grown up in Harlan County. But two enterprising souls have discovered yet another lucrative sideline - body parts, mostly kidneys. How to stop this dogged US Marshall that's hot on their trail? Well, he does have two perfectly good kidneys...And that's just one of the three storylines Leonard has penned for Raylan. Although they were loosely connected, each felt like a separate novella.

Now, Raylan released after the mid season break of Season Two of Justified. I found some of story lines and characters from television repeated in the book, albeit with a few changes. Or did the television series borrow heavily from the book? So, part of the storyline was not new, but parts of it were. No matter, fans will still be captured.

The audio version of Raylan features Brian D'Arcy James as the reader. As a fan of Justified, I have come to associated certain actors and voices with the characters. I was concerned that I wouldn't identify with new voices. But that concern was unfounded. James employed a great accent for each of the characters, almost matching those I knew. His tones and inflections immediately brought Harlan County to life. Leonard's strength is in his dialogue and James did it justice.

Raylan is a walk tall, talk soft, draw your gun and use it kind of lawman. Fans of Jack Reacher and Joe Pike would enjoy the character of Raylan Givens. A gritty, down and dirty tale filled with Leonard's trademark whip smart dialogue.

Read an excerpt of Raylan. Or listen to an excerpt of Raylan. You can find Leonard on Facebook or on Twitter.


bermudaonion said...

I've never read Leonard's work and look forward to trying this book.

Francis said...

I have never read any of his books either. I came across this book when it was featured on Elaine Charles' radio show,The Book Report. They played an extract from the audio book. As you say, the reading is excellent. You can listen to the archived shows on