Pronto by Elmore Leonard
Genre: Crime Fiction
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: 1993
The Short Version:
Raylan Givens’ first appearance is completely in line with the character as portrayed in the TV show Justified and his trip to Italy is both thrilling and hilarious.
Why I Read It:
I’ve been a fan of the TV show Justified since the very first episode. Raylan Givens as portrayed by Timothy Olyphant is one of my favorite television characters. I decided I wanted to read about him as he was originally created by Elmore Leonard before the TV show existed.
This is the first time the character of Raylan Givens appears in an Elmore Leonard story.
From the publisher:
The feds want Miami bookmaker Harry Arno to squeal on his wiseguy boss. So they’re putting word out on the street that Arno’s skimming profits from “Jimmy Cap” Capotorto—which he is, but everybody does it. Harry was planning to retire to Italy someday anyway, so he figures now’s a good time to get lost. U.S. Marshall Raylan Givens knows Harry’s tricky—the bookie ditched him once in an airport while in the marshal’s custody—but not careful. So Raylan’s determined to find the fugitive’s Italian hideaway before cold-blooded Sicilian “Zip” whacks Arno just for fun. It’s a “pride thing” . . .
Whether you’re a fan of the TV show Justified or not this is an enjoyable story. It’s the first time I’ve read anything by Elmore Leonard and I promise you it won’t be the last.
Raylan Givens is a great character but he’s not the only one in this book. Harry, Jimmy Cap and Zip are all both dangerous and hilarious at the same time. I was pleased to see that in the book because one of the things I enjoy about Justified is the way it can be serious, dangerous and suspenseful but at the same time make me laugh out loud.
Raylan’s unsanctioned journey to Italy to find Harry really takes him out of his comfort zone. Nevertheless he’s still very much Raylan and takes the local criminals by surprise because he’s definitely not what they’re used to. His primary goal is to get Harry back to the US because he cannot stand that Harry got away from him not once but twice.
Harry’s girlfriend Joyce is also intrigued by Raylan, but at the same time she doesn’t want Harry killed and does what she can to keep him from being a complete idiot. This is not easy because even though Harry has been running a successful bookmaking operation for years, he’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer.
I will definitely be reading the other books and stories by Elmore Leonard that feature Raylan Givens and will likely take a look at some of his other work. I really enjoy the combination of suspenseful crime story with fun characters and some laugh out loud moments to balance the tension.
I absolutely recommend this one for every one and hightly recommend it for fans of Justified.