Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Pronto by, Elmore Leonard

Miami bookmaker Harry Arno is living the good life.  He's got a great house, tons of money, a girlfriend half his age, and a plan to retire to a nice, quiet spot where no one can find him.  The Feds want Arno to slip on his boss, the overweight mobster Jimmy Cap.  When Arno refuses, they put out word that he's been skimming, so Cap puts a hit out on him.  Arno moves up his retirement schedule, gives his protective custody the slip, and hightails it to Italy.  Pretty soon he's got Jimmy Cap's button man, Tommy Bucks, and a certain Deputy U.S. Marshal on his tail.

I read Pronto because I'm a fan of Elmore Leonard and the F/X show Justified.  Wait...Justified?  Yes, the U.S. Marshal referenced above is our old pal Raylan Givens.  The pilot of the show uses the incident with Tommy Bucks, along with the short story "Fire in the Hole", as the reason Raylan is back in Harlan County, Kentucky.  I couldn't help but hear Timothy Oylphant's voice for the majority of Raylan's dialogue.

While most people would be drawn to this novel because of Raylan, the real protagonist is Harry Arno.  Harry's big problem is that his illusions keep getting burst and he doesn't know why.  He thought Jimmy Cap would dismiss the skimming rumors because he was a good earner for so many years.  He picked out a nice spot in Italy for his retirement, only to find it cold, damp, and lonely.  And (mild spoiler alert) he couldn't believe that his girlfriend would leave him for Raylan, who is closer to her own age.

As with all Leonard novels, Pronto is chocked-full of colorful characters and razor sharp dialogue.  He certainly loves to throw people in a room and watch them bounce off each other.

If you're a fan of Elmore Leonard or Justified, you should definitely pick this one up.

No comments: