Saturday, June 20, 2015

REMEMBERING LEGENDARY CRIME WRITER ELMORE LEONARD--books became hit films and the acclaimed TV series "JUSTIFIED"

Elmore Leonard created a character and wrote a short story which inspired FX's "Justified," the acclaimed series starring Timothy Olyphant as Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens. Leonard was inspired to write more about the no-nonsense lawman after visiting the "Justified" set.  The novel "Raylan" covers three connected stories in about 300 pages. Leonard was a big fan and an executive producer of the show, which strived mightily to stay in line with the style and sensibility of Leonard's famous crime fiction work. "I love it," he said. "I think it's great." 

Widely regarded as a master of the crime fiction genre, Elmore "Dutch" Leonard passed away on August 20, 2013 at the age of 87. 

Raylan (Raylan Givens, #3)

RAYLAN  by Elmore Leonard

The revered New York Times bestselling author, recognized as “America’s greatest crime writer” (Newsweek), brings back U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens, the mesmerizing hero of Pronto, Riding the Rap, and the hit FX series Justified.

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 a piece; 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 sometime college student who can outplay anyone at the poker table and who suddenly finds herself being tracked by a handsome U.S. marshal.

Dark and droll, Raylan is pure Elmore Leonard—a page-turner filled with the sparkling dialogue and sly suspense that are the hallmarks of this modern master.

MY REVIEW:  I have a "Justified" obsession. From the very first glimpse of the original TV promos for the FX TV series, "Justified", I was a goner. When I finally got to actually watch the show--have mercy!!! Timothy Olyphant fits the character of Raylan Givens the way that Raylan’s Stetson fits his head! Perfectly! I must say that Timothy looks mighty fine in that hat, and he wears the hat, it doesn’t wear him. “Justified” is just about perfect in every way–an outstanding cast and astounding writing and overall production values. Dark, gritty, and impossible to look away from! Raylan is a dedicated lawman, a deadly crack shot, and his own worst enemy. Having said all that, I must also say that before I finished the first page of "Raylan", by Elmore Leonard, I realized that I was going to have to separate my enjoyment of the series from the very different experience of reading the book. Elmore Leonard is a highly esteemed crime writer who blends quirky characters and bizarre humor with tightly-written suspense story lines. The character of Raylan Givens was first introduced in "Fire in the Hole", which was followed by "Pronto" and "Riding the Rap". Those three books have been on my wish list for some time, and I jumped (jumped really high and hurt myself) at the chance to read and review "Raylan". The book's title lead me to believe that the focus would be more in-depth on the character of Raylan. While there where glimpses of the wry wit, savvy lawman instincts, and self-troublemaking elements that are very much a part of the character, there just isn't enough Raylan in "Raylan". However, there is a uniquely told twisted tale with enough turns to make you feel like you are riding on the back roads of a Kentucky hollow. Watch out for those "pot"-holes! Also, don't mess with Granny! For me one of the most praiseworthy aspects of Elmore Leonard's writing is that anyone can be bodaciously bad. Age and gender don't matter--anyone can be "bad to the bone". Whoo hoo! What a hoot! No wonder I'm obsessed. Thank you, Mr. Leonard!

Review Copy Gratis Amazon Vine

Pronto (Raylan Givens, #1)

The feds want Miami bookmaker Harry Arno to squeal on his wiseguy boss. So they're putting word out on the street that Arno's skimming profits from "Jimmy Cap" Capotorto—which he is, but everybody does it. He was planning to retire to Italy someday anyway, so Harry figures now's a good time to get lost. U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens knows Harry's tricky—the bookie ditched him once in an airport while in the marshal's custody—but not careful. So Raylan's determined to find the fugitive's Italian hideaway before a cold-blooded Sicilian "Zip" does and whacks Arno for fun. After all, it's a "pride thing"...and it might even put Raylan in good stead with Harry's sexy ex-stripper girlfriend Joyce.

Riding the Rap (Raylan Givens, #2)

Now that his mom's gravy train has derailed, gambling, debt-ridden Palm Beach playboy Warren "Chip" Ganz has decided to take somebody rich hostage—with the help of a Bahamian ex-con, a psycho gardener/enforcer, and the beautiful, if underfed, psychic Reverend Dawn. The trouble is they choose bookmaker Harry Arno as their victim, and Harry can scam with the best. The BIG trouble is ace manhunter U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens is sleeping with Harry's ex-exotic dancer ex-girlfriend, and Joyce wants Harry found. And since nearly everyone has guns, locating and springing the captive bookie most probably can't happen without some measure of lethal difficulty.

Fire in the Hole: Stories
In this superb short fiction collection, Elmore Leonard, “the greatest crime writer of our time, perhaps ever” (New York Times Book Review), once again illustrates how the line between the law and the lawbreakers is not as firm as we might think. In the title story, the basis for the hit FX series Justified, U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens meets up with an old friend, but they’re now on different sides of the law. Federal marshal Karen Sisco, from Out of Sight, returns in “Karen Makes Out,” once again inadvertently mixing pleasure with business. In “When the Women Come Out to Dance,” Mrs. Mahmood gets more than she bargains for when she conspires with her maid to end her unhappy marriage.


These nine stories are the great Elmore Leonard at his vivid, hilarious, and unfailingly human best.

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