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San Francisco Chronicle Review of Raylan

San Francisco Chronicle
Alan Cheuse

I haven’t seen “Justified” on FX, but you don’t have to have seen it either to enjoy the low-key dramatic splendors of Elmore Leonard’s new novel, “Raylan.”

It focuses on the character of U.S. Deputy Marshal Raylan Givens (who appeared in two previous Leonard novels on which that television series is based). In fact, you don’t have to watch any TV at all. “Raylan” is really a vivid movie-like experience. The book turns into a handheld device that delivers word-filled pages, speeding the story along in your mind without any help from director, actors, cameramen, extras, set decorators and costumers. Nobody but you and the words on the page, and you’re off and running. Or dreaming, as John Gardner used to put it, while awake.

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