Sunday, May 13, 2012

Raylan by Elmore Leonard

Fan's of FX TV channel's hit show, Justified, will be excited to read Elmore Leonard's new book, Raylan.  Justified is based on a short story by Leonard where the characters in the show were introduced.  Raylan Givens is a U.S. Marshall who grew up in Harlan County, Kentucky.  He worked in the coal mines as most men did, but got out as soon as he could and ended up in law enforcement.  After a showdown in Florida where he shot and killed a fugitive, he is transferred back to Kentucky.

Raylan is back with the folks he grew up with; his family and former friends, but things are not the same.  Many of those he knew break the law routinely, and he is now responsible for bringing them in when they do so.  The book is full of shady characters, from pot-growing and Oxcy selling drug dealers to a female coal-mine owner's thug, from poker players to men who will do anything for a buck.  One of the more interesting characters is Boyd Crowder, a former miner who is now The Head of Disagreements for the coal mine owners.  There are female bank robbers and a kidney-stealing ring who steals kidneys from the owners and then ransoms them back.

Raylan is a laconic Marshall who speaks little but what he says others need to listen to.  He is known for his ability to outdraw and shoot to kill when needed.  The violence is casual but deadly, and the stories in the book contain betrayal and loyalty, shifting alliances and an underworld of criminals who are determined to rule the area.  This book is recommended for crime novel readers. 

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