New York : William Morrow, c2012
263 p. ; 24 cm ISBN/ISSN:
9780062119469 (hardcover), 006211946X (hardcover), 9780062119476 (pbk.), 0062119478 (pbk.), Language:
When Federal Marshall Raylan Givens squares off against a known offender, he will warn the man, "If I have to pull my gun I'll shoot to kill." Except this time he finds the offender naked in a bathtub, doped up and missing his kidneys. Raylan knows there's big money in body parts, but by the time he finds out who is making the cuts, he is lying naked in a bathtub himself, Layla, the cool transplant nurse, about to go for his kidneys. It turns out all the bad guys Raylan is after are girls this time: the nurse who collects kidneys and sells them for ten grand apiece. Carol Conlan, the mine company executive who comes to Harlan County to sell mountaintop removal, shoots a miner who wastes her time, then meets the miner's widow in a scene you won't forget. The third girl's only offense is missing a court date. Jackie Nevada plays high-stakes poker for a living and is last seen in the shower with Raylan
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It was recently recorded that the cast and crew of the popular TV hit "Justified" begged creator Elmore Leonard to write a new book about the story's hero Raylan Givens. Givens is a man in his mid-30's who always dreamed of becoming a US Marshall. He is a throwback to the cowboys that use to fill the Saturday matinee screens in movie theaters across America.
A true cowboy is he. He wears a distinctive-looking western hat at all times except when meeting women. Then the hat is removed and held nervously in hand as he easily spews out some witty banter. He routinely practices his quick draw. He never "pulls" his piece unless the object of his action is forewarned of the probable outcome...their demise. He always shoots to kill.
This book reads like three short stories all interconnected. There are three female leads; one good, two not so, that Raylan encounters. The first is a tasteful transplant nurse who entices men into hotel rooms with the intent to surgically remove their kidneys and later sell them back to the victims. Left naked and helpless in bathtubs full of ice, her victims have little choice but to become willing buyers.
The second femme fatale is a cold-blooded coal mine executive who is out to screw the common man while filling her company's coffers. After committing murder, she arranges to enlist the protection of a said US Marshall who has ties to the coal community that she is battling. Raylan has sent seven souls to their damnation, but never has one been a woman. Is there a first time for everything?
Everything comes to a close when Raylan tracks down a suspected lady bank robber on the lam. She is a Texas-Hold'em-type-tart who was formerly an Ivy League A-student turned gambler whose goal is to win the poker championship of the world. Raylan seldom lets himself get knocked from his horse, but he might have met his match when corralling this little filly.
No author today has the writing style of Elmore Leonard. His ability to pen dialog that seems so real and effortless makes him stand apart from all. As they say: "...Often imitated, never duplicated...."
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