Raylan

[Amazon Link]

This 2011 novel was Elmore Leonard's last; he passed away in 2013 at the age of 87. He wrote it just as the TV series featuring US Deputy Marshal Raylan Givens, Justified was in its early years.

It's set in a slightly different universe than the TV show. It's also set in a slightly different universe than Leonard's previous Givens-featuring novella Fire in the Hole; at the end of that one, Boyd Crowder has been shot deader than dead. But in Raylan, (surprise!) he's back, healthier than ever.

The novel interweaves three plot threads: (1) a transplant nurse masterminds a gang who steals victims' kidneys; (2) a ruthless coal company exec comes to town to try to negotiate the sale of a mountain; (3) Raylan is asked to track down a fugitive college-aged poker player, but gets caught up with a sleazy pimp who is branching out into bank robbery, with the help of his stable.

People who are familiar with the TV show will recognize plot elements and characters mutated semi-recognizably from the book. (For example, the book has Dickie and Coover as members of the Crowe family, under the thumb of their daddy. On TV, they were Bennets, and it was their mom, the unforgettable Mags Bennett, who was running their criminal show.

And the wonderful, precocious, Loretta McCready has a cameo.

All in all, a fun read. This ends my Elmore Leonard reading project, at least for now. It's been fun.