Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Raylan: A Novel Paperback – December 26, 2012
|New from||Used from|
See the Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
“A punchy mix of crime and Kentucky coal-mine sociology . . . It’s one of Leonard’s best thrillers in years.” (Entertainment Weekly)
“With a practised ease and the craft of more than half a century of novelistic composition, Leonard works like the Picasso of crime fiction . . . Raylan is as close as it gets to creating the complete illusion of unmediated entertainment on the page.” (San Francisco Chronicle)
“In addition to kinetic storytelling and spot-on dialogue, Leonard has a cool wit. . . . Characters roll from scene to scene, urged on by self-interest and greed, bumping against one another and building up steam until they’re smashing together in orgies of violence.” (New York Times Book Review)
“Raylan is Leonard’s best of the 21st century—good stuff from first page to last.” (Los Angeles Times Book Review)
“The smarter crooks give Raylan grudging respect; his fellow lawmen grant him their highest praise: ‘You’re doin’ a job the way we like to see it done.’ The same can be said of the 86-year-old Elmore Leonard.” (Wall Street Journal)
“[Leonard’s] finely honed sentences can sound as flinty/poetic as Hemingway or as hard-boiled as Raymond Chandler. His ear for the way people talk—or should—is peerless.” (Detroit News)
“There is no greater writer of crime fiction than Elmore Leonard, and no one who has more resplendent energy. . . . Like pretty well every Leonard novel, Raylan is a delight.” (The Guardian (UK))
From the Back Cover
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.
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top Customer Reviews
The Raylan Givens of the books occupies a slightly different universe than the Raylan Givens of the television series. While Leonard has been enthusiastic about the series (although he is listed as an executive producer, he actually does no work on the show at all, the title undoubtedly being a part of the agreement for the producers of the show using his character), saying that Timothy Olyphant delivers his lines precisely the way he envisioned when writing them, he does insist that they didn't get the hat right. This is not a bad thing, in my opinion. Think of the photos you saw of Lyndon Johnson wearing his hat in the sixties. That is precisely the kind of hat that Leonard had in mind.
Apart from the hat, there are odd parallels between the two Raylan Givens. This is due in part to the fact that the TV series has borrowed liberally from the two novels and short story in which Givens originally appeared. For instance, Harry, the bookie in the two novels, appears on the TV series in a much younger incarnation. Several scenes in the books appear in the show. For instance, in an early Season One episode two gunmen are hired to go after Raylan. Encountering him on a road they try to approach him from a distance. One keeps saying, "We just want to talk." Raylan tells him that if he takes another step closer he is going to shoot him. He takes a step and Raylan shoots him. That scene original appeared in PRONTO. The entire plot of the novel RIDING THE RAP is utilized in a Season One episode, with a number of minor modifications. Nonetheless, the resemblances between the episode and the novel are deep and profound. The plot of the short story "Fire in the Hole" provides the narrative for the TV series Pilot, the only major difference being that Boyd Crowder did not die in the series. In fact, due to the TV series Boyd, who unquestionably was killed in the short story, was retroactively resurrected from the dead, the gunshot miraculously not damaging any major organs, all so that this enormously popularly character was able to appear in the novel RAYLAN.
There is a major difference between the three earlier Raylan Givens stories written by Leonard and the new novel RAYLAN. The first three clearly exerted enormous influence on the series, excepting the style of the hat. In the new novel, the TV series perhaps influenced the book more. The plot is not quite consistent with events in the TV series. I'm going to avoid many specifics because to delve into them would be to raise up spoilers for either the book or the series, so let me just say that characters in the book die who do not die in the series, while at least one character who dies in the show dies differently in the novel. It is almost as if the two exist in parallel universes, much like the DC superheroes in Earth One and Earth Two. The show and the novel are both alike and very different.
I'm not entirely clear on whether Leonard wrote the book prior to Season Two of the show (though I suspect he did) or whether he wrote it afterwards. I believe he probably wrote this last winter and that there is a chance he showed the manuscript to the show's writers. Either way, reading the novel after having seen Season Two of JUSTIFIED is a rather schizophrenic experience. As a result, while I love Leonard as a writer, I found I enjoyed this Raylan Givens story considerably less than the previous ones. There are some splendid moments (one involving a bathtub and a kimono is an example), but it almost felt as if in this book Leonard was trying to write about a character who had taken on a life of his own. It is as if Raylan has been publically redefined in a way over which Leonard has minimal control.
RAYLAN is really not a novel so much as a collection of overlapping short stories. The main stories are 1) the story of a group of thieves who steal kidneys off people and then try to sell them back, 2) Carol, born to a miner but now working for the mining company, and her employee Boyd Crowder try to pull off a deception about a crime, 3) a petty thug who forces young women to rob banks for him, and 4) a young woman who plays high stake poker, funded by a local horse breeder. None of the stories are at all bad, none quite like the TV series (though there are definite resemblances and it will be interesting to see if any of the new stories will feature in Season Three of the show), but none especially unforgettable.
All in all, I would rate RAYLAN the weakest of the four Raylan Givens stories I've read so far. I would rank them all in this order: "Fire in the Hole," RIDING THE RAP, PRONTO, and RAYLAN. Mind you, RAYLAN isn't bad; it simply isn't up to Leonard's highest standards. That is still higher than most of the books published today.
As others have said, this is Leonard merely milking the cash cow. Some of these short stories - and that is ALL this book is, 3 short stories - have a basis in the series (but not exactly).
One of the most infuriating things, to me, is how all the character talk in the exact same voice, the exact same diction. A 14 year old white girl who has never left the hills of Eastern KY talks with the identical voice as a black Cuban dude, or a couple of gun thugs, or a 60-something year old man. Or, a 30 something Marshall who went from E KY to Miami back to E KY.
Leonard has written many entertaining books. This just isn't one of them, on its own merits.
I will give this 2 stars, just because I enjoy the character of Raylan enough that I am glad to see his continuing adventures (even if some are pretty well adventures I've already seen). But otherwise, this book pretty well stinks. NOT recommended.
It could not have been edited. At least one other reviewer has commented that all the characters speak in the same dialect. It's not just the characters--the entire book is written in that dialect. I could accept that as a style affected by the author, but it still should have been punctuated properly.
I guess he thought there was no need to flesh out the characters since readers should be familiar with TV series. All he tells us about Raylan Givens is he wears a cowboy hat and never misses when he shoots. And he reminds us over and over that Raylan used to be a miner. All he tells us about Boyd Crowder is he's a chauffeur for a mining company PR woman and used to work in the mines with Raylan. He mentions Winona and Ava once for no particular reason.
What was the plot? It's kind of hard to write a good, intertwined, unpredictable plot when you resolve every conflict by shooting at least one person dead. I lost count of the bodies.
The kidney-stealing plot was resolved in the first third although the surviving characters reappeared later. I kept wondering why no one was contacting the body parts brokers who were supposedly obtaining the stolen kidneys and selling them to desperate patients. The mining company meeting was just as long and boring as public meetings are in real life (the middle third). The end made it obvious how out of touch Leonard was by the time he wrote this (or how this plot was recycled from years ago). The book is supposed to be current, yet when a 23-year-old college student disappears Raylan stops by the university to get a photocopy of a yearbook photo so he'll know what she looks like--as if the first place law enforcement people go now isn't Facebook. And it wasn't clear how the subject went from being wanted to not wanted.
I did not come across any clever Elmore Leonard dialogue that would have made up for the faults--not a chuckle, not a smile.
The only bright spot in the book was that it mercifully ended at 93%. What a relief. There's an excerpt in the back that I won't bother reading.
I will certainly look for more in this series.