29 March 2012

Book 6 of 2012

Some close friends got me an iBooks gift card for my birthday, so I went on a Raylan Givens spending spree.

6) Pronto by Elmore Leonard
The first Raylan Givens story showcases a guy named Harry more than it does the hero of the tale. Harry is a bookkeeper for the mob who's been falsely accused of skimming more than the acceptable amount off the top, and it's up to Raylan Givens to save him from a Sicilian hitman. Characters shift between Miami and Italy as Harry fails to retire on his own terms. Meanwhile, Raylan makes the effort to keep Harry alive. While Harry is an interesting guy with an interesting background that includes his involvement in World War II and Ezra Pound poetry, Raylan is the most complex character in the book. He's a guy born in the wrong time who enjoys his cowboy hat and what it allows people to think of him.

Elmore Leonard's books specifically and detective-style novels in general have been a category which I've always had a keen interest but never took the time to read. Serialized books that follow a single character through his or her many adventures feels right up my alley considering my interest in comic books. Plus, of the Elmore Leonard based movies I've seen, it would take less than one hand to name the few that have disappointed. That dialogue and characterization really won me over before I picked up the book, but it's presence here is unavoidable and welcome.

Having been a fan of FX's Justified for it's now two and a half seasons, I entered into the series with a preconceived idea of Timothy Olyphant's single minded portrayal of the US Marshall who tends to have an Old West attitude. The focus on Harry, his girlfriend Joyce, and the various mobsters involved took away from what I thought would be an all Raylan, all the time story. Judging the book based off my expectations isn't fair, either, and I admit that, but it didn't kill my enjoyment completely. Raylan is still wry and stoic...and also a complete badass. It's too bad there are only two other books and another short story devoted to the character.  At least there's still Justified.

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