I am little bit obsessed with JUSTIFIED at the moment. I’m currently watching the new third season every week while also rewatching seasons one and two on DVD and I’ve just read the first Raylan Givens book PRONTO. My reading of the Raylan Givens books is a bit backwards. I started with the new novel RAYLAN (which was also my first Elmore Leonard book) and then read the short story FIRE IN THE HOLE, which is the basis for JUSTIFIED. Instead of continuing to read the Givens stories backwards I decided to jump to the beginning and read PRONTO.
JUSTIFIED (and FIRE IN THE HOLE) both begin with Raylan Givens having shot Tommy ‘The Zip’ Buck after giving him 24 hours to leave Miami. Raylan is subsequently transferred from the US Marshall’s service in Florida back to his home state of Kentucky. PRONTO is the story of what led up to Raylan giving Tommy Bucks 24 hours to leave town and surprisingly half the novel is set in Italy! Bookie Harry Arno is being has been set up by the Feds. They have told his boss, Jimmy Cap, that Harry has been skimming his book in the hope Jimmy will slip up taking revenge. The problem is Harry really has been skimming the book and was just about to retire to Italy. When Jimmy’s first hit on Harry fails he turns to Tommy the Zip and that’s when the Feds bring in Raylan Givens.
It was great to see the creation of a character who is fast becoming one of my favorites, both in print and on the screen. There are some interesting deviations, Raylan is much older and has two kids (which he definitely does. It have in JUSTIFIED or the new book if I remember correctly) and Raylan is more of a talker in print (although a Timothy Olyphant stare wouldn’t have the same power on the page). But it was also great to see that the TV series is using the earlier books too. There is a great scene where Raylan faces down two Italian gangsters who have been tailing him and the exact scene is replicated in a season one storyline.
PRONTO is good but not great and Raylan obviously grows as a character. I’m intrigued by the next Raylan Givens book RIDING THE RAP to see where it fits in the arc of Raylan as PRONTO does end where FIRE IN THE HOLE takes off, the back of the book doesn’t give any clues. If you’re already a fan of the series then PRONTO is worth a read but if you want to meet Raylan Givens for the first time I’d suggest the new novel RAYLAN and definitely check out the TV series.
Classification: Crime & mystery
Format: Paperback / softback (201mm x 135mm x 30mm)
Imprint: William Morrow & Company
Publisher: William Morrow & Company
Publish Date: 3-Jan-2012
Country of Publication: United States