Raylan, by Elmore Leonard, published by William Morrow, 2012, reviewed by J.S. Bradford
It’s always exciting to learn Elmore Leonard has published yet another novel—he’s up to over forty and I’ve read most of them. His latest is Raylan, which I couldn’t wait to buy and find out if he was able to do it again—write the best dialogue in the business. Leonard is often imitated. And there’s a reason for that—because, like Hemingway, he’s taken dialogue to another level that leaves you shaking your head, asking yourself, how the heck does he do that? I mean, all he does is create a band of memorable characters that can unfailingly deliver a narrative that leaves the reader reeling with amusement.
So, in Raylan, we are reintroduced to U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens who returns to Harlan County, Kentucky to go one on one with a whole cast of chillin’ villains. And that includes a cast of menacing, albeit enticing ladies who are fully capable of playing the game by their own rules. The plot ricochets about from one set of characters to another, seemingly with just a few casual strokes of the pen, until Leonard, not even breathing hard, deftly funnels the disparate story lines into a satisfying finale. But you knew all along that Leonard would find a way to carry it off. It’s what the man does. Have some fun; read Raylan.