The Enduring Appeal Of Elmore Leonard and Deputy US Marshal Raylan Givens
Elmore Leonard wrote some of the classic crime novels of the twentieth century. Notably inspired by Higgins’s THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE, (1972), Leonard was an adept dialogue writer and master of the tight scene. I’ll use Leonard’s character Raylan Givens, one of his great characters, to exemplify his use of the Western inside the body of crime fiction.
Raylan Givens first appeared in Elmore Leonard’s novel PRONTO (1993). His short story “Fire in the Hole” (2012) then became the basis for the television series Justified. He also appeared in the novels RIDING THE RAP (1995) and RAYLAN (2012), Leonard’s final work, from which several plot lines were adapted by the writers of Justified. Raylan is described as forty years old, thin, and almost perpetually wearing a cowboy hat. With his laconic style and old-fashioned views, he occupies a position somewhere between a modern law enforcer and a Western cowboy. But most of all he is a hard enforcer of the law.
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