Riding the Rap

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Continuing the project of reading Elmore Leonard's Raylan Givens-related works. This one was written in 1995.

The troubled bookie from Pronto, Harry Arno, is in even deeper trouble here. He has sent his enforcer, Bobby Deo, to collect on bad bets from dissolute pothead Chip Ganz. Unfortunately, Bobby and Chip, together with Chip's associate, Louis Lewis, decide instead to take Harry hostage, planning on extorting the millions Harry has stashed in the Bahamas.

Raylan, in the meantime, has been canoodling with Harry's sometime-girlfriend, Joyce. When Harry goes missing, Joyce worries, which causes Raylan's fugitive-seeking instincts to kick in. And it's not long before he zeroes in on the bad guys.

Fans of the Justified series will notice some similarities between this novel and the Season One episode "Fixer". Although many details differ, even down to character names. Most of this is probably due to the series having the rights to some, but not all, of Elmore Leonard's oeuvre. Another example: a lady psychic, "Reverend Dawn" plays a key role in this book, and she's awfully similar to the show's Season 4 character Eve Munro. And a Crowe family member has a small cameo at the beginning of the book.

A fun read, as expected. Leonard is as interested in the bad guys as he is the good guys. And (as we've seen before) the bad guys are violent, dishonest, volatile, and generally poor candidates to sustain their criminal plotting.