Monday, July 1, 2013

Raylan 03: Fire in the Hole (Elmore Leonard)

Rating: 4/5
Year: 2002
Genre: Crime
Read again? Yes

Deputy U.S. Marshall Raylan Givens has been reassigned to Harlan County, Kentucky in the wake of a shoot-out with a mobster. To be fair, Raylan did give the guy 24 hours to get out of town or get shot. Guy didn't leave.

It was simpler to just shuffle Raylan out of sight than to try to build a case against him.

This being Raylan Givens, he's not even settled in before the trouble starts. His old schoolmate Boyd Crowder has started up a white supremacist church, mostly as a criminal enterprise: bomb goes off in a Black neighborhood, cops rush to the scene, and Boyd's boys rob a bank or two elsewhere while the cops are busy.

Meanwhile, the recently-widowed Ava Crowder shows an interest in Raylan now that her abusive husband is out of the picture.

This novella is the basis for the TV show "Justified"; I haven't seen much of the show's first season, so I don't know how well they fit together. The book's a very quick read, but there are no real surprises. By the halfway point the ending is obvious, but Raylan's got so many awesome one-liners in his dealings with the bad guys that it doesn't matter. I would have liked a longer story with more of a challenge for Raylan.

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