Friday, December 30, 2011

Raylan 01: Pronto (Leonard, Elmore)

Rating: 4/5
Year: 1993
Genre: Crime
Read again? Yes

This is the first of several stories about Deputy US Marshall Raylan Givens; they cover the events that led to Givens being "exiled" to Kentucky in the TV series "Justified."

Raylan is assigned to protect Harry Arno, a Miami bookie and witness against small-time Mobster Jimmy Cap. Harry finds out he's been screwed by the Feds: they faked a call from an angry bettor who hasn't been paid off, making it look as though Harry skimmed several thousand bucks.

As it turns out, Harry's been skimming, all right--a few million bucks over four decades. The Feds' screwing blows things up just as he's about to "retire" and run off to Italy.

He gives Raylan the slip, but the Marshall has dealt with Harry before and easily finds the Bookie in a little town.

The Mob doesn't have much trouble tracking Harry, either....

Leonard doesn't waste the reader's time in extra syllables or meandering prose, but "Pronto" doesn't move as quickly as "Maximum Bob," the only other Elmore I've read. It still has the "ordinary people" feel of "Bob" and of "Justified," but I still felt the need to take a point for the pacing.

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