Friday, February 10, 2012

Raylan by Elmore Leonard

The television series Justified has propelled Elmore Leonard's character Raylan Givens into millions of homes. This is the third Raylan novel and is a lot of fun. The book began when Leonard decided that he needed to be part of the writing process. He wrote several story ideas and then condensed them into a single novel. This explains some of the structure. If it seems that the first story just ends early on and then another picks up, that is why.

The stories that make up the novel were intended to give the writers of Justified material to mine. They did so. Viewers of the television show will recognize several plots and themes from season 2 of the series. From interviews it seems clear that we may see more of them this season.

In Raylan we run into some relatives of Dewey Crow who decide to diversify their pot business by adding stolen body parts. Leonard takes the classic urban legend of the man with the stolen kidneys and gives it life. We also have a group of pot addled strippers turned into bank robbers, a college girl putting herself through school playing poker, a violent mine company woman, Boyd Crowder, and the usual assortment of strange and wonderful characters. If you are a fan of Justified, do yourself a favor and get this book. If you are just looking for a good book, do yourself a favor and get this book.

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