I am reading a favorite author in our family, Elmore Leonard. Been writing books my dad used to enjoy before he stopped reading, characters my mother-in-law swears by (or with), and plots husband reads when he is looking for something fast and entertaining.
What a career for this man! Books like 3:10 to Yuma and Get Shorty have padded his pockets allowing for a comfortable life in financially strapped Detroit. His books to movies have included stars like Paul Newman, Ann-Margaret, Robert Mitchum, Lee Grant, Rock Hudson, Ellen Burstyn, Morgan Freeman, Rene Russo, Charlie Sheen, and Pam Grier. He has to be a blast at dinner parties.
Picked up his brand new book Raylan and am enjoying the heck out of it. It reads very much like a script. Lots and lots of dialog and a little of the setting to get you around from one situation to another, makes this a fast read. It might even be the first episodes in “Justified” an FX series appearing on cable.
You will recognize all the Harlan County characters that no longer coal mine but have an array of legal and illegal trades. There is Dickie and Coover Crowe who die before page 100. They are called the Bennett brothers who grow marijuana in the series. Easy going US Marshal and Raylan’s partner, Rachel Brooks, always has his back even when a dead rat is thrown at her by Coover.
The book would be nothing without Raylan’s childhood nemesis, Boyd Crowder. I was a little worried he was not going to make an appearance until finally in chapter 15 where (true to form) he is the bad guy.
In the book Raylan Givens has just moved back to his childhood home after a questionable “justified homicide” in Miami. Harlan County is a down grade from the big city, but it seems to offer high-tech crime. His first assignment involves chasing down a doctor harvesting kidneys from salesmen in motels then selling the body parts back to them as ransom. First two victims were small potatoes, but Raylan’s case includes a drug dealer and the price is $100,000 large.
It is good to see 87-year-old Leonard still writing and entertaining us after all these years. Back in 2007 he wrote “10 Rules of Writing.” One of his tips includes this snippet, “Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.” This book is the perfect example of his philosophy.