Feature

Author of the week: Elmore Leonard

Raylan Givens, the U.S. marshal who first appeared in Leonard’s 1993 novel Pronto, has been given a second act, thanks to FX's hit series Justified.

Elmore Leonard has been reunited with an old friend, said Alexandra Alter in The Wall Street Journal. Raylan Givens, the laconic but sharp-witted U.S. marshal who first appeared in Leonard’s 1993 novel Pronto, recently gained a new audience when the cable network FX built the hit series Justified around him. Leonard decided he ought to give the show’s writers, who wear “What Would Elmore Do?” bracelets for inspiration, a few fresh ideas. So he wrote a new novel. Raylan, just released, finds its title character tangling with kidney thieves and backwoods drug dealers. “I thought, ‘I can’t just sit here and accept a check for every show,’” says Leonard, now 86. “I’ve never just taken money.” When he gave the writers the manuscript, he advised them to “hang it up and strip it for parts.”

Though Leonard hadn’t written about Raylan in years, he’s always loved the character, said Erik Spanberg in CSMonitor.com. “Seeing him now [as a TV character] just reinforces my feeling about it—that he’s the guy,” says the author. “He does his job and he’s very good at it. And he always has that last line when the bad guy says something. It may take me weeks to think of that line, but I go back and stick it in. That’s the beauty of being able to write it in a book.” The show’s writers may get even more new material. Working on yet another novel, Leonard is fighting the urge to bring the renegade marshal into the mix. “My agent says no,” says Leonard. “But I need Raylan in this one.”

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