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Raylan: A Novel
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 11, 2012
Raylan Givens appeared in the short story, Fire in the Hole, and as a secondary character in two novels, Pronto and Riding the Rap, but Raylan is the first novel in which the Marshal plays a lead role. Of course, the character might be best known as the main character in the excellent TV series, Justified, created by Graham Yost (Speed).

Justified is actually based on Fire in the Hole, which is also the title of the pilot episode. The set up is simple: Raylan Givens is a U.S. Marshal, reassigned to the local office of his hometown of Harlan, Kentucky, after a questionable shooting in Miami. In Harlan, he is forced to reconnect with childhood friends, many of whom have turned to a life of crime.

According to Leonard, it was Timothy Olyphant, star of Justified, who suggested the author might want to consider writing further short stories featuring Raylan Givens. Leonard took the actor's advice, producing Raylan, not so much a collection of short stories or a self-contained novel, as a trio of Justified episodes in prose form.

Fans of the show will recognize many characters, including Boyd Crowder (played in the series by the fantastic Walton Goggins), Ava Crowder (Joelle Carter), and the Crowe clan. Those who've never seen the show need not worry, though some of the events portrayed on the show are referenced, no backstory is needed to enjoy the novel. And, of course, all of the Leonard hallmarks are present: spot-on dialogue, spare description, and sly, subtle humor. Elmore Leonard says he simply leaves out the boring parts when writing, and anyone who's read a single page of his work knows he's not kidding.

Plot-wise, as mentioned, the book follows three loosely-connected storylines. In the first, Raylan hunts down a couple of low-lifes who've evidently graduated from dealing pot to selling body parts. In the second, a new mountaintop relocation project leads to the destruction of a home and murder. Finally, Raylan comes to the aid of a young poker prodigy--an attractive university grad who may want Raylan's company more than she needs his help.

If I really need to convince you to read the latest Elmore Leonard, then we don't have much more to talk about. If you're already convinced but haven't yet checked out Justified: do yourself a huge favor and watch it; no movie or TV show has better captured the Elmore Leonard tone than Graham Yost's brainchild.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 7, 2012
After watching the Justified series on Blu-ray, the characters just come alive in this book. It is neat seeing how the producers used parts of the book to build their own plots for season 2. Mr. Leonard is a literary genius and I would love to shake his hand.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon August 12, 2012
Fans of the television series Justified will enjoy reading this novel which interweaves three separate stories involving Kentucky's favourite son lawman, Marshall Raylan Givens. Author Elmore Leonard assumes that the reader is familiar with his hero, as well as his boss Art Mullen, his fellow Marshalls and his frienemy Boyd Crowder. Those unfamiliar with the series or with the characters from some of Leonard's earlier Raylan Givens novels, including Fire in the Hole, Riding the Rap or Pronto, may find themselves playing catch-up in trying to understand the likeable, confident hero so ably portrayed by actor Timothy Oliphant in the TV series.

Raylan (the book) involves three stories concerning the theft of human organs (kidneys to be specific) from unwilling donors, an uncaring mining company that deals with one particular complaint in a very drastic way, and a female college student turned star poker player who is also a suspect in a series of armed robberies. The stories play out in a way that only the mind of Elmore Leonard can concoct, with violence, black humour, quirky characters and a unique sense of justice.

This book offers light but entertaining reading best enjoyed by fans of Raylan Givens, of Justified, or of Elmore Leonard. Those who have never read Leonard before are not only missing out on a very amusing storyteller, but should begin with one of Leonard's other better known novels such as Get Shorty, Out of Sight or Maximum Bob. Raylan is an average Elmore Leonard mystery, and that's not such a bad thing to be said about any book.
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on July 6, 2012
as a fan of Leonard's books and of the series "Justified" I looked forward to this book. The previous two novels featuring the character and the short story "Fire in the hole" were all very good. The latter is also one of the most faithfully adapted for the pilot of the TV show. 'Raylan' is a good read but is actually 3 loosely connected short stories and not a sustained novel. My biggest issue with it was, as a fan of the TV series, it was all very familiar. The characters and most of the situations mirror episodes of Justified and the Leonard seems to ignore the history he had previously established for the character in the previous stories to better mirror the series. It was entertaining, as Leonard always write crisp dialogue but I knew where it was all going. As noted, it was an okay read but ultimately a disappointment as I was expecting more. It is more of a tie in or even an adaptation of the show, so if you go into it knowing this, you may enjoy it more than I did.
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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.
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I haven't read a bad book by Elmore Leonard.
I will get the rest of this series.
It kind of helped to have an actual face to put on Rayin.
I haven't watched a whole Justified show yet but may now.
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on September 29, 2013
How does Leonard do it? Novel after novel -- great reads. Raylin, one of his many addictive, quirky characters, keeps the pages turning.
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on December 21, 2014
Too close to Christmas to start reading but I have read all the rest of Elmore Leonard's books so I expect this will be just as excellent
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on July 25, 2014
God quality, good price, came in good time.
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on August 16, 2015
Item received on time, and as described.
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