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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Master does it again
Raylan Givens, US Marshal, looks up a weed dealer in a hotel room only to find him sat in a tub with ice and his kidneys missing. From there a twisting trail of murder, blackmail, land dispute, and cards unfolds taking in everyone from an elderly drug baron operating out of a food stamps store to a disgruntled nurse who decides to strike out on her own, to a band of bank...
Published on 20 Feb. 2012 by Sam Quixote

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The book equivalent of a compilation movie... but with class
Reads like three interlinked episodes of the Justified TV series - in fact a number of elements were used in the series. Leonard gives us an entertaining cross-linked trio of stories with sparky dialogue and a shoot 'em up modern western backdrop, but little in terms of depth. The stories focus on various female villains each with a criminal project with little prospect...
Published on 27 Feb. 2013 by Steven Aldous


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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Master does it again, 20 Feb. 2012
By 
Sam Quixote - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Raylan (Hardcover)
Raylan Givens, US Marshal, looks up a weed dealer in a hotel room only to find him sat in a tub with ice and his kidneys missing. From there a twisting trail of murder, blackmail, land dispute, and cards unfolds taking in everyone from an elderly drug baron operating out of a food stamps store to a disgruntled nurse who decides to strike out on her own, to a band of bank robbing gals, and a poker playing girl called Jackie Nevada with her ace in the hole. Elmore Leonard's back and he's packing heat.

I loved this book. I thought he was going to spin out the organ trafficking storyline for the full 260 pages but he finished it at page 100, without introducing any new characters, making me wonder where he was going to take the story next. From there he goes into a murder story concerning a coal mining exec and an old man who happened to live nearby whose house was flattened by the coal company. Then from there Leonard introduces a new story of a trio of bank robbing girls and then another story of a poker playing 23 year old student on the lam.

Elmore Leonard does some amazing storytelling weaving these fascinating individuals into a single storyline. It's masterful and incredible to see these disparate elements prove to be part of a larger whole. More amazing still is the way he creates characters. Each one had its own voice and seemed completely real. Leonard writes femme fatales like no other, making them sexy and deadly and smart and witty too, from the organ harvesting nurse to the ice queen coal mining exec to the smart and resourceful poker player to the drugged out bank robbing gals.

The dialogue is the star, something Leonard is famous for and what everybody says about his books, but it's so true. Honestly, I was blown away by some of the scenes, particularly when the poker girl and the horse breeder rich guy have that exchange about playing cards - the dialogue is fast, musical, hits the ear perfectly, and is unlike dialogue in any other novel. Are you a first time reader of Elmore Leonard? Pick up this book and see why people praise his characters' speech like no other.

Putting aside the technical majestic on display throughout the book, Leonard knows why people read and particularly why people read his books - to have fun. To relax, unwind, and be entertained. And for no other reason than entertainment, this book excels. Murders, kidnappings, shootouts, high stakes poker games, this book has it all and no-one reading this novel will come away feeling short-changed of entertainment value. Even the characters seem to be having a good time, Raylan moving from crime scene to shootout to bars and finally to bed with a good looking girl, I got the feeling his eyes were wide, his heart was beating, and a smile lay beneath his face the entire time.

This is my favourite novel of 2012 so far. It's got everything from fine storytelling, superb writing, one of a kind dialogue from the man who sets the gold standard for dialogue, an array of excellent characters and some utterly brilliant setups, this is a novel that readers will rocket through with a big grin on their faces. You're looking for a good read? Stop reading this and pick up "Raylan" - he'll sort you out.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Be Cool, 16 Feb. 2012
This review is from: Raylan (Hardcover)
Raylan is the protagonist of the TV series Justified, and a man we've met more than once before in Elmore Leonard's stories.
In this book, that kind of makes us think that it's not novel but rather a collection of interconnected stories, we follow Raylan as he's called to investigate three different cases. The first one has to do with the removal of the kidneys of a known criminal and then the offer from the perps to sell them back to him; the second concerns the murder of an ex-miner, who suffered a lot during his stay with the company and afterwards as well; and finally the third follows the footsteps of a rather brilliant college student, who after losing a lot of money playing cards decides to hit the road and head to Las Vegas, looking for the big score.
As one would expect from a Leonard book its strongest points are the characters and the dialogues. Be Cool; that seems to be Raylan's mantra, and cool he is. He is a Marshall, an enforcer of the law, who has his own individual sense of justice and who follows his own rules; someone who doesn't seem to care how justice is done, as long as it is done. So, when he investigates the kidneys case the only thing he's interested in is solving it and arresting the perps, he doesn't care even a little bit, that the men in question are the sons of one of the biggest drug lords. When he tries to prove that the death of the ex-miner did not occur as an act of self-defense, but rather that it was a cold-blooded murder, he does not hesitate to clash head to head with his temporary employer, a sexy yet ruthless woman, and when the final solution comes about, though highly unorthodox, doesn't make him break a sweat. And when he accidentally bumps into the runaway girl, instead of arresting her on the spot he gives her a chance to make things right. In Raylan's world the end justifies the means. And in his world, one way or the other, justice is always served.
Raylan however is not the only unique, in his ways, hero in this novel. The baddies are just as interesting as him, or even more so. We have old man Crowe, who no matter what has his own set of rules; Rita, a kind of housekeeper for the man and his occasional lover, and the only person he can totally trust along with, Raylan; and then comes an adventuress, a woman with a heart of ice: "This was a cool woman with evil ways. The best kind." And finally we have someone who betrayed all her beliefs, if she had any, who chose to forget her past and do everything and anything she possibly could to secure herself an unknown yet brilliant future; one who believed that she could and would have all there was to have, and couldn't take no as an answer; a victim of her own making.
Raylan's adventures offer the reader something similar to a roller coaster ride; they are cool and they are exciting, without seemingly trying to be so.
Highly recommended to all the fans of the good writer, but also to every single soul out there that enjoys a good old crime novel. I'd say that Raylan is here to stay.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The book equivalent of a compilation movie... but with class, 27 Feb. 2013
By 
Steven Aldous (Bury, Lancs United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Raylan (Paperback)
Reads like three interlinked episodes of the Justified TV series - in fact a number of elements were used in the series. Leonard gives us an entertaining cross-linked trio of stories with sparky dialogue and a shoot 'em up modern western backdrop, but little in terms of depth. The stories focus on various female villains each with a criminal project with little prospect of long-term success. They move along quickly, but by the end you feel there could have been more in the way of focus.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Slick and hugely enjoyable, 18 Mar. 2012
By 
Stefano Sarao "Dino Sauro" (Milan, Italy) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Raylan (Hardcover)
This should be required reading for all aspiring writers. Dialog is terse, lean and mean, the vernacular slick as a whistle. The plot is deceptively random and populated by seriously flawed characters, though each one of them shows the occasional glimmer of humanity. What at first might have appeared as a series of short stories suddenly comes together as a single, wickedly entertaining narrative when the puppet master pulls the strings. Just when I thought Elmore Leonard couldn't get any better, along comes "Raylan" and sets the bar a notch higher.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Killer Entertainment, 12 Mar. 2014
This review is from: Raylan (Paperback)
The late, great Elmore Leonard created a wonderful fictional hero before he died that served him well in some of his later novels and in the TV series 'Justified', called Raylan Givens. He is the Chili Palmer of Harlan County, a US Federal Marshall with good looks, charm, wit, a cowboy hat all of which are lethal.

Raylon is really three short stories loosely hanging together, and features two female villains and one love interest, who unexpectedly pops up at the end. That all these women wanted to screw Raylan is a bit of a warning that this is male escapism, but Raylan doesn't want to bed women he has to kill.

The first story is the best, one about a bitter nurse who decides to use men to steal kidneys for sale. It is 100 pages long, and when it got resolved, I thought, well, this is not a real novel. The second story about coal mining companies and their dastardly practices is still very good, and has a cracker of an ending. The final story is the weakest, but features a typical male Leonard villain and a young woman poker player worthy of Raylan's affections.

What Leonard teaches readers is how to tell a story, how to write dialogue, how to create compelling characters and a how to enjoy reading even if the story is not very deep and meaningful, but wildly entertaining. I will miss him, he was a great. I lapped up almost everything he dished up, this slight novel included.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, 7 Jun. 2012
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This review is from: Raylan (Hardcover)
Gripping, read this book in two days. I could not put it down. Luckily I've held off watching series 2 of justified so didn't know what was going to happen. If you've enjoyed Raylan Givens on screen or in previous books this is a definite must for you.

I would recommend, if you haven't already, to read Pronto, Riding the rap and Fire in the hole (in that order). Even if this book and justified have a slight contradiction to fire in the hole. I still enjoyed this book though.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Easy read but very enjoyable....., 2 July 2012
By 
A. F. Prestwich (West Sussex) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Raylan (Hardcover)
I haven't read an Elmore Leonard for years but I was pleasantly surprised how he has maintained his easy going, storytelling. I enjoyed this book very much as it moved at pace, didn't get bogged down in side issues of no importance and had a touch of humour. The only reason I didn't give it more stars was the fact it actually read like a film script something that is becoming all too common with today's authors.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Book, 28 Jan. 2013
This review is from: Raylan (Paperback)
Whether you have had the opportunity to watch 'Justified' or not, this book is a great introduction to the characters. Elmore Leonard's description is brilliant, but watch out for the fact he writes it exactly as they speak it so sometimes it's easier to read it out loud! If you like the character of Raylan Givens, try reading his other books, pronto and riding the rap (both written before Justified was filmed)
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4.0 out of 5 stars The coolest marshall since Dillon, 2 Feb. 2013
By 
Blue in Washington "Barry Ballow" (Washington, DC United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Raylan (Paperback)
Whether you know Raylan Givens through Elmore Leonard's fine books or through the TV series "Justified", you have to admire the character as one of the most entertaining in the genre. Ultra sharp, pragmatic and ruthless (albeit in an ethical way) , Raylan is The Man who cannot be compromised, hornswaggled or ignored. Author Leonard's evocation of rural East Kentucky for the context of this bifurcated novel is spot on, and no less convincing than the earlier "Raylan" locations of Miami and Italy. And no matter the geographic context, The Marshall is a character who is wholly credible within it--certainly true for his home base of Kentucky.

"Raylan", though not really a mystery per se, has two excellent story lines that more or less connect, and by book's end, there is a third story in the making. The reader knows from the beginning what the crimes are and who has perpetrated them, the only question is how the protagonist Raylan is going to deal with them,

So, terrific characters, wonderful dialogue and satisfying conclusions here. Hopefully, there will be another novel in the Raylan saga. Highly recommended.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Interconnected short stories, 22 Jun. 2014
By 
Rob Kitchin - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Raylan (Paperback)
Rather than consisting of a single extended storyline with a couple of minor subplots, as with most novels, Raylan is made up of four interconnected stories told as three relatively distinct episodes. The effect is the story has the feel of a television series, rather than a movie (and it might well have been written with TV in mind given the series Justified is based around the lead character). The result is, however, that each story is too linear and underdeveloped. Leonard could have done much more with the kidney theft episode, for example, with a more challenging investigation and chase. Instead, everything falls into place quite quickly, though the resolution is elevated by a nice concluding scene. The same applies to the other two episodes. Despite the truncated stories, what makes the book worth reading is Leonard’s storytelling and prose. He paints memorable characters, quickly conveys a sense of place and context, and is very good at depicting scenes, with a good ear for dialogue. As a consequence, despite the shortcomings of the plot, Raylan is an engaging and entertaining read.
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Raylan
Raylan by Elmore Leonard (Paperback - 7 Feb. 2013)
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