Pronto by Elmore Leonard
The second season of Justified just began, so I thought it'd be a good time to read Elmore Leonard's other book featuring Raylan Givens. Apparently Leonard is so pleased with the television series based on his characters that it's inspired him to revisit them. So there will be a third book in the not-too-distant future.
In Pronto, Raylan takes his Beretta and his Stetson to Italy chasing after Harry Arlo. The unscrupulous bookie has been skimming from his boss for years while working his gambling operations. Harry believed that he was simply doing what every bookie does, and that his boss should consider it a cost of doing business. But apparently his boss doesn't share those same feelings and has put a price on his head. Harry decides to accelerate his plans to retire to a villa in Italy by a couple of years and disappears.
Raylan, who has managed to allow Harry to slip through his fingers twice now while he was responsible for watching him, decides to take things personally this time around and travels to Italy to protect Harry from his boss's hired muscle as well as bring him back to the States.
I enjoyed Pronto. Leonard's style takes some getting used to. He uses a lot of dialogue to tell his stories and to provide his characters' backstories. He doesn't spend much time setting his plots up, he's kind of the antithesis of Tom Clancy in that regard. Reading his books is kind of like watching a movie - you sit down, relax for a couple of hours, and enjoy the story. I find it a little ironic that so far, Hollywood has failed miserably in every attempt it's had to take one of Leonard's books and make a successful movie out of it. It makes Justified all the more satisfying to watch.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆