Over the Top,
This review is from: Raylan (Paperback)
Mistook this book for another sequel to the career of US Marshal Carl Weber, immortalized in several rich Elmore Leonard stories and novels. Alas, it was about another, more contemporary US Marshal called Raylan Givens from coal mining East Kentucky. I liked the character of Carl and his wife and family far better than Raylan because EL gave me more time and history to bond with them. But a quick scan on the net showed that Raylan also has deeper roots, in books I have not read such as `Pronto' and there is even a TV series about him. I doubt if the Raylan series in either form travels well.
"Raylan" is more than ever composed almost entirely in pure dialogue, written in a regional dialect. It consists of three loosely connected stories with plenty of EL's twists and turns. EL has an ear for language. I had no trouble with his earlier versions of regional dialogue, but the talking in "Raylan" forced me to reread sentences too often for comfort. It impaired EL's usually natural flow for non-US readers somewhat. The poker game towards the end was way beyond my comprehension, but it contained what appears to be a running gag. One Somali character in "Djibouti" was named Kwame, a typical Ghanaian name. In "Raylan", Kwame returns in the shape of a Saudi Arabian poker player.
Hope the 46+ novels of Elmore Leonard (1925-2013) will stay in print in print. They depict what is means to live as a loser and being marginal in the US over decades, early as cowboys or farm workers , later often as dumb criminals. EL's heroes are smart and headstrong, wearing their hats just the right way whilst preparing themselves and their adversaries for the final showdown, again and again.