Thursday, July 19, 2012

Raylan, by Elmore Leonard

(hb; 2012: third book in the Raylan Givens series)


From the inside flap:

"With the closing of the Harlan County, Kentucky, coal mines, marijuana has become the biggest cash crop in the state. A hundred pounds of it can gross $300,000, 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 Raylan isn't your average marshal: he's the laconic, Stetson-wearing, fast-drawing lawman who juggles dozens of cases at a time and always shoots to kill. 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.

"The bad guys are mostly gals this time around: Layla, the nurse who collects kidneys and sells them for ten grand apiece; Carol Conlan, a hard-charging coal-mine executive not above ordering a cohort to shoot point-blank a man who's standing in her way; and Jackie Nevada, a beautiful sometimes college student who can outplay anyone at the poker table and who suddenly finds herself being tracked by a handsome U.S. marshal."


Review:

Fans of the cable show Justified will likely recognize the events of Raylan as those of Justified's second season.

That didn't take away from my enjoyment of this burn-through read; rather, my familiarity with the characters and their frenemie-eseque relationships and dealings deepened my appreciation of this novel - it's mostly because of Leonard's spot-on, reader-immersive and quotable writing, of course, which has earned him many accolades (and deservedly so).

Raylan is an excellent novel, worth owning.

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