Justified Book Review: ‘Raylan’ Borrows from Season 2… and Season 3

Raylan Givens is back in two ways on January 17. He’s back on the small screen in the third season premiere of FX’s Justified. But he’s also back as the star of the book Raylan, a new novel by famed writer Elmore Leonard, who created the character back in 1993.

Raylan is the victim of its own interesting conundrum. Leonard created Givens initially, but here ends up borrowing heavily from the FX series’ second season (either that, or they borrowed from his unpublished manuscript). Characters like Dickie, Coover, and Loretta are re-created for the page. Some, like Loretta, are faithfully transitioned (Loretta introduces herself to Raylan with the exact same line she did in the series), while others, like Dickie, aren’t too similar at all (in Raylan, Dickie’s an Elvis memorabilia enthusiast). This leaves a strange feeling of deja vu permeating throughout the entire book, though in the end, it’s more interesting than exhausting to see how Leonard reimagines the show’s characters.

The book is essentially a collection of short stories put together as a novel. Raylan deals with three bad guys: two kidney thieves who dress up like Barack and Michelle Obama; Carol Conlan, the coal-mine executive from season 2; and a poker-playing college student. It’s a little disjointed at times, but essentially it’s just like watching three episodes in a row.

Leonard’s writing style has a large disregard for grammar and punctuation, though not necessarily to the extent of, say, Cormac McCarthy. Raylan is written conversationally (sentence fragments and run-on sentences are liberally used), but it only adds to the rustic nature of the book. It’s tough to get a hang of Elmore’s style if you’re unused to it, but soon it begins to feel entirely natural.

And, finally, here’s the real reason a lot of you will want to buy the book: there are plenty of clues as to what’s coming up in season 3 of Justified scattered throughout Raylan. An entire conversation from the book is played out, word-for-word, in an episode of season 3. There’s also another major element that makes the jump from book to screen, but you’ll just have to figure out which one that is on your own.

Raylan hits bookshelves on January 17. Check out the season three premiere of Justified on FX that same night.

Leave a Reply

James Corden Tries to Make Sense of the Oscars on the Late Late Show
Late Night With Seth Meyers: Matthew Broderick is Scared to Play a Real Person
J.K. Simmons Gives SpongeBob SquarePants “Whiplash” in New Episode
Donald Trump Breaks Silence on Oscars: It’s All About Him
I Just Found Out this Scene from Wayne’s World was 100% Improvised
There’s a Whole Lot of Fight in Final Trailer for Kong: Skull Island “Rise of the King”
New Chinese Poster for Spider-Man: Homecoming is Kind of Strange
The Best of Bill Paxton in Weird Science
Beastie Boys “So What’cha Want” Gets a Muppet Mashup
Rick Derringer Singing “Rock and Roll Hoochie Koo” to Start the Weekend
San Diego’s JoJo “Cookin” Kincaid in 1987 is the Happiest Radio Announcer Ever
I Really Do Wish They Could All be California Girls
When The San Francisco Giants Remade the Full House Intro
LaVar Ball is Really Starting to Annoy Me and I’m Sure All of Us
Rob Gronkowski Being Rob Gronkowski at the Daytona 500
Did the Falcons Lose the Super Bowl Because of Lady Gaga’s Halftime Show?
Middle-Earth: Shadow of War Trailer and Announcement
A Boy Uses Dragon Ball Z Move To Survive a Bee Attack
Video Game Story Tells Us The Origin of The Legend of Zelda
Take a A Look at Every Legend of Zelda on Every Nintendo Ever
Don’t Forget Just How Good a Rapper Mahershala Ali Is
A Gallery of Andi Dorfman’s Best Instagram Photos of the Past Year
10 Times Snoop Dogg Went All in With his Outfits
Taron Egerton: Five Things You Didn’t Know about Him

Get more stuff like this
in your inbox

Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting stuff and updates to your email inbox.