With the closing of the Harlan County, Kentucky, coalmines, marijuana has become the biggest cash crop in the state. A hundred pounds of it can gross three-hundred thousand dollars, 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 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.
Dark and droll, Raylan is pure Elmore Leonard - a pause-resister filled with sparkling dialogue and sly suspense that are the hallmarks of this modern master.
©2012 Elmore Leonard, Inc. (P)2012 HarperCollinsPublishers
First, the narrator was excellent. We all know and love Timothy Olyphant's voice, but Mr. James did a great job with all the characters and soon disappeared into the story perfectly.
"Raylan" has three storylines intertwined. In the first, I can see the essence of Episode 5 from "Justified" Season 3, "Thick as Mud" involving stolen kidneys. In the second, I see the essense of Episode 8 from Season 2, "The Spoil" involving the mining company woman requesting Marshal Givens to protect her, later trying to seduce him, of course. Although, in both cases some characters and events are changed and narrowed in focus to fit the episode restrictions. The third storyline is completely new, but I'm sincerely hoping we see the bones of that storyline later in an episode or even separated into two episodes of Season 3 as I'd love to see the scene with Delroy Lewis in drag. Very funny and tense at the same time.
I had no trouble following all the characters, especially since we know a lot of them from "Justified" and Harlan County, although a few have been changed in gender, etc. Definitely my favorite book of Leonard's Raylan Givens character. Leonard has such a nice sharp rhythm with his dialogue. Loved it. Loved the Tennessee Ernie Ford reference. Favorite quote -- Art Mullen said,"You don't think of your manners and let the woman go first, not when she's pointing a gun at you." That's so Raylan!
Highly recommended as just a fun read, light entertainment... with some gunfire thrown in.
Backstory Details Explanation
I don't read this genre much.
For those who want to follow a modern day Lawman saga
I'm a big fan of the cable TV show "Justified." This book filled in some details that made me better understand the series--sometimes the series cuts scenes and doesn't call sufficient attention to small details and you miss elements of motivation. I enjoyed listening to Raylan for that reason...
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I love the character of Raylan as I am addicted to the show Justified on FX. Good narrator.
Up at the top. I am a fan of the TV show Justified, which is based off of Elmore Leonard's characters. in a previous book. The narrator is what made it a perfect match to the mountain folk Elmore was writing about.
I liked them all for different reasons, one wa because they were so stupid, or so evil, or just believable. Each one had a richness that made the story a great read.
I liked the beginning with the kidney stealing scam.
I was sad when it was over, wished it kept going. I'll have to wait for the next season of Justified to continue following the characters.
I was born in 1967. Haven't died yet.
It's fun to see Raylan Givens again and as I'm a big fan of "Justified" it's nice to see him in a familiar context. Namely, Harlan County, Kentucky. In fact, most of the characters in this book come right out of seasons 2 and 3 of the series, but with some significant changes. Characters that died on the show are alive, and sometimes with slightly altered names that fit Elmore Leonard's greater continuity.
That's part of what's fun here: the melding of the two universes, and it works just fine. My problem with the book is that it seems fairly lightweight for Elmore Leonard. He's such an entertaining writer with a mind that shoots sparks out like a catherine wheel, but this one seemed a little... tired, maybe. I don't think he wrote it just to make a buck, but maybe Raylan and Elmore are slowing down a bit.
It's not that the book isn't fun- it is. Lots of fun. But it it's not FREAKY DEAKY fun, or PRONTO fun (the story that introduced Raylan Givens to us). Raylan seems to be a hybrid of the character from the earlier books and the television character, which is fine- I saw Timothy Olyphant as I listened to this book- but I was taken out of the story a couple times while I tried to figure out the continuity differences.
That said, it's always nice to read some good Elmore Leonard characters- and this book has a lot of 'em. Some we kind of know, and some we're introduced to here for the first time. And nobody writes dialogue like Elmore Leonard. And there is some nice growth for Raylan as well and an ending that will make fans of the television show stop and go, "whuh?!!"
The narrator does a nice job with the book too. He reads the offbeat dialogue with a clear understanding of the inflections and rhythms, something I often screw up the first time I read a sentence. Very well done in that department.
RAYLAN is not the best Elmore Leonard book I've read/heard, though I know opinions vary and there's no accounting for taste (most people liked TISHOMINGO BLUES more than me too...). It's prettygood though, and like I said in the headline: Good Elmore Leonard is better than many writers at the top of their game. Give it a try.
I walk about an hour each day and then spend around 30 minutes in the backyard doing odds & ends jobs. During this time I listen to books which I find make these tasks much more enjoyable.
I enjoy the TV show Justified and found this to be a couple of the TV shows wrapped up in an audible format.
Raylan, of course,
No, way too long for one sitting.
I believe if you like the TV show Justified then you will like the book.
fewer characters with more distinct characteristics I think. It seemed to go around in meaningless circles. Raylan himself was weakly drawn.
I guess so. I've truly enjoyed some of his others.
Narration was well done despite the weakness of the book.
This is first rate Leonard. The book compares interestingly with the use of these stories in the TV series.
I was excited by the prospect of listening to Raylan, as I've become a fan of not only Elmore Leonard's novels but also the the TV Series Justified. While the book is only six hours long for the unabridged version, I've still yet to finish it, I find it so bad. Normally I finish one book before I purchase another, but it's almost as if I am looking for any other book so I don't have to finish this one.
If you've spent any time watching the show, skip listening to the book. The plot is basically just a rehash of seasons one and two, only the characters have been given different names in several instances. The book is also covering some of the story arc from season three too.
Not wanting to get into plot spoilers, I must say that the folks putting together the writing for the TV series have done a far better job than Leonard has done for this book. It's as if he wanted to cash in on the Justified success, and phoned it in by ripping pages directly from the scripts and trying to tailor them to his new novel. Pronto, Riding the Rap, and Tishimingo Blues are far better examples of Leonard's work. I'd recommend avoiding this novel, but if you feel that you must listen to it, wait till it drops under $10...
I saw this mediocre writing performance re-worked into a passable "Justified" program a few weeks after I listened to it. As a novel, however, it fell completely flat.
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