Cfar1′s #CBR4 review #06 of Elmore Leonard’s Raylan
I picked a horrible year to try a Cannonball read, even just a partial one. I recently started a new, sort of, assignment at work, only due to the state’s weird hiring practices, I have spent the last 2 months, and will spend most of next month, working 2 caseloads. I’ve done lots of reading, but I doubt many of you would appreciate my reviews of various policy manuals dealing with the supervision of high risk offenders. Plus I doubt my agency would find my reviewing them very amusing. I also received my first foster child in February and I am getting on the job parenting training. Fortunately supervising felons and raising children require a very similar skill set and sense of humor. Anyway, my pleasure reading has taken a beating but I am too stubborn to give up so here is a belated review. I should have two others posted soon.
I have somehow avoided reading Mr. Leonard’s books despite having seen many movie and television shows based on them. How I managed to avoid such a prolific writer for so long, I have no idea. Recently while in the library, I managed a few seconds between hunting down Pokemon and Dragon Ball Z books to sneak into the adult section. Based on the fact I like Justified, I felt it was time to give Mr. Leonard a good try so I grabbed 3 books, a western, a Raylan Givens book and another book with a recurring character. I meant to get Pronto, but grabbed Raylan by accident. I don’t know whether it is the same in the first two books about Raylan Givens, but this book felt less a novel and more three short stories that happen to be tied together by sharing some common events and characters. From researching a little after reading, I wasn’t the only one to feel this way, and other people more familiar with the author say this was not the best introduction to his work. Despite this opinion, I read the book fairly quickly. Leonard’s style is very easy to read. Despite the title, Raylan Givens seems almost an afterthought in most of this book. The first chunk of the book deals with a couple of rather dim-witted drug dealers who branch out, with help, into a weird extortion scheme where they remove a victim’s kidneys, then try to sell them back to him. From there it moves into a mining company that more or less bullies everyone that disagrees with them, which happens to be most of the community, resulting in a murder, and onto a group or strippers turned bank robbers and a rather sexy poker playing coed who skipped out on a warrant. The stories are tied together mainly by a few characters appearing in two or more stories. Raylan isn’t developed as a character at all, but does get to shoot some people. I am fairly sure this book was probably put out to capitalize on the television series and as such Raylan is portrayed more like the series on television and less like the previous books. I am glad i picked up a couple of other books though, as I want to see what Mr. Leonard can do. I like the style, dialogue and humor enough to want to see what it’s like when there aren’t any restraints on it.