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initially, but here ends up borrowing heavily from the FX series’ second season (either that, or they borrowed from his unpublished manuscript).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

Sean Penn To Lead Hulu’s Sci-Fi Drama Series ‘The First”
The Price Is Right’s Wheel Went Nuts Over the Weekend
Are Advertisers Beginning to Drop Sean Hannity?
Ghosted Series Premiere Recap and Review
Five Awesome “Opening Presents” Scenes in Movies
Listen to and Watch Kurt Vonnegut’s “The Drone King”
Inside the Making of “Blade Runner 2049”
Release Date of “I, Tonya” Hints at Oscar Aspirations
The Top Uses of Bob Dylan Songs in Movies and TV
Guile’s Streetfighter 2 Theme Gets a Metal Makeover
Right Said Fred’s Taylor Swift Mash-Up Brings ‘Look What You Made Me Do’ Full Circle
Björk’s Latest Music Video is Nothing Short of Mesmerizing
College Football is Back: What TV Networks Stand to Benefit the Most?
How in the World is Jim Gray Where He is?
SJSU’s Alonzo Carter Shows off MC Hammer Dance He Created
Mayweather vs. McGregor: There are Other Fights That Night
The Table-Top Gaming System to Rule Them All
The Entire History of the Assassin’s Creed Franchise with this Infographic
Destiny 2: The Live Action Dance Party Trailer
Future Sonic Attempts to Save His Franchise by Traveling to the Past
Five Things You Didn’t Know about Filip Geljo
Kylie Jenner is Pregnant: What We Officially Know
Five Things You Didn’t Know About Mary-Charles Jones
“Stranger Things” Writer Justin Doble Moves to Amazon