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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Raylan by Elmore Leonard

Available from Amazon
Given the success of the TV series, "Justified," it's no surprise that Grand Master Elmore Leonard has revisited the character of U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens for his new novel, Raylan. The publisher even put a picture of Timothy Olyphant (who plays Raylan in the show) on the cover of the hardback.

And Leonard's done this before, getting inspired by Steven Soderbergh's adaptation of Out of Sight to bring back bank-robber Jack Foley for the novel, Road Dogs (which I wrote about here).

But Raylan, as a novel, is something of a disappointment. Its plot is baggy & episodic, involving 3 major arcs: an organ-napping/extortion arc, a coal-mining/extortion arc, and a bank-robbery arc that includes a sexy young female poker player. And the lead character, Raylan himself, saunters through it all, barely breaking a sweat.

Maybe I was expecting too much. After all, Raylan still features the same wry dialog & lean, muscular writing that has made Elmore Leonard a living legend of American fiction. And I don't want to give the impression that I didn't enjoy reading Raylan. I really did. Elmore Leonard could write a book-length grocery list, and I'd probably enjoy it.

But up against Leonard's best (like, say,  Freaky Deaky or Glitz or Bandits or Rum Punch) Raylan just doesn't stand up.

I give it a C+.

written by Elmore Leonard




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