Monday, July 1, 2013

Raylan 04: Raylan (Elmore Leonard)

Rating: 5
Year: 2011
Genre: Crime
Read again? Yes.

Raylan's got a warrant for Angel Arenas, a marijuana dealer. He finds Angel in a hotel bathtub full of ice water, near death, and shy a pair of kidneys.

Once he gets Angel to talk, Raylan learns that the dealer was meeting with a couple of men. He figures the guys drugged their mark, cut him open, nipped the kidneys. But Angel refuses to ID them.

Doctors at the hospital say the job looks professional. The incisions were stapled up.

The kidney-nappers send their victim a fax: $100,000 to get his guts back. As a show of good faith they've taken the liberty of dropping the purloined  pieces at Angel's hospital, ready to reinstall.

But if he doesn't produce the cash, they'll repossess them. Angel has one week.

The plot breaks up into several threads from here: the hunt for the pair of small-timers who waylaid Angel; a young woman who's insanely good at poker and who might be part of a trio of drug addicts who rob banks; and the people running the kidney-theft ring. Harlan County is very busy.

A lot of this book has made its way into the TV series "Justified," but not quite as-written. The kidney-theft and bank robber arcs are part of the show's third season and get tweaked to fit the show's plotline. It's got me wondering whether the poker champ will show up for the 5th season.

Good book, more meaty and satisfying than "Fire in the Hole."

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