Friday, January 10, 2014

Reading Rainbow: Riding the Rap by Elmore Leonard

With Justified having returned this past Tuesday, now is probably as good a time as any to get this one up. I actually read Riding the Rap when I went to Europe back in August. It was coincidental, but I started reading it about a day before Elmore Leonard died. I followed it up promptly with When the Women Come Out to Dance, the book that contained "Fire in the Hole," but I'll talk more about that in a separate entry.

Picking up after Raylan shoots Tommy Bucks dead--which is where Pronto left off and is the scene that kicks off the aforementioned series, Justified--Raylan is with Harry Arno's ex-girlfriend, Joyce. Harry Arno, at least arguably the co-lead of these first two books, is at the end of his rope when he ends up getting held hostage by three fellow lowlifes who set off to try to work Harry over to get the money he's stashed away in a Swiss bank account.

The cast of characters is every bit as colorful as anyone with Leonard's work has come to expect. The natural evolution and escalation of violence as the crime spins out of the captors' control has that wicked Leonardian logic to it that makes you smile in horror. Raylan's wise-cracking never stops being hilarious, and with Timothy Olyphant having immortalized him on television, the reader gets the added bonus of imagining him quite vividly acting out every look of irritation and anger, adding an originally unimagined layer to the reading experience.

Just as you would expect, Riding the Rap is a fuckload of fun and drops you right off at the front steps for where "Fire in the Hole" and the Justified series picks up.

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