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Pronto (Raylan Givens #1)

3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  4,705 ratings  ·  439 reviews
The feds want Miami bookmaker Harry Arno to squeal on his wiseguy boss. So they're putting word out on the street that Arno's skimming profits from "Jimmy Cap" Capotorto—which he is, but everybody does it. He was planning to retire to Italy someday anyway, so Harry figures now's a good time to get lost. U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens knows Harry's tricky—the bookie ditched him ...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published June 4th 2002 by HarperTorch (first published 1993)
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Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

When 99.99999% of the entertainment value of your reviews is .gif based, things like this:

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tend to happen quite frequently and some reviews just flat out fall through the cracks of your pop-culture-infused brain. Thus was the case with Pronto. I’m always fighting the losing battle of correcting some of my literary shortcomings and reading authors who I know I want to read and should be reading, but somehow still haven’t (and yet someho
Why did I love this book? Two words: Raylan Givens, my favorite kick ass modern day cowboy with a fondness for ice cream.

Pronto, however, is not exclusively Raylan's story, though he figures as a prominent character once he does arrive on the scene. This is actually the story of Harry Arno, a bookie who has decided that in one more year he's going to retire and go to Italy. Italy holds a special place in Harry's heart because he once shot a deserter there during World War II and it was there th
The Raylan Givens character that Elmore Leonard introduced in this book is the basis of a new TV show called Justified that will be premiering soon. If you just read the first half of the book, you’d probably wonder why anyone would do a show where the hero is a complete moron. If you read the whole book, you’ll be sure to set your DVR to record the series so you won’t miss a minute of it.

Harry Arno is a sixty-six year old bookie in Miami who has been dreaming about retiring to Italy for years.
Bill  Kerwin

I've been binge-watching FX's series Justified, and decided it might be fun to extend my binge by reading the Elmore Leonard books that inspired the series. I figured I'd start out with Pronto, the first novel to feature stetson-wearing Federal Marshal Raylan Givens, native of Harlan County and veteran of the Kentucky mines.

The novel ends where the series begins, with the “justified” shooting of a mobster at an outdoor cafe in Miami. The book begins in Miami too, but it has to travel to Italy a
Daniel Villines
Graham Greene was known to have categorized some of his own books as entertainments. Greene was aware that a writer had great power over the worlds he created. He knew that a writer could manipulate his stories and his characters in order to enhance the thrill of the read. So when one reads The End of the Affair they experience a different approach to writing than the approach used by Greene in Brighton Rock. Even though both books are entertaining, the latter is one of Greene’s entertainments b ...more
Terry Brooks
My book recommendation for this month is not "a" book recommendation, but a body of work. Like many writers, I want to pay tribute to Elmore Leonard, who recently passed away. He was for me the quintessential writer of quirky, engaging and thoroughly believable dialogue. When reading his books, I never much paid attention to the plots because I was too engaged in his characters. You got to know them in the course of a book, and you wanted to spend time with them. Even most bizarre, troublesome a ...more
This is a great introduction to Raylan & ends about where the TV series 'Justified' begins, although there was quite a change for TV. Still, the basics are there & it paints a thorough picture of Raylan's personality. He's a wonderful character, too. His laconic yet tenacious style coupled with a twisty, thrilling plot is so satisfying.

As an audio book, it was pretty well read. The reader did some voices & all were intelligible yet distinct & fit the characters well. He did rush
I wondered often before i started reading this novel if the literary Raylan Givens was a minor Leonard character and not as well done as tv version played by Timothy Olyphant in Justified. Raylan in the tv show is ice cool character wonderfully written, played so well by an actor that reminded me of Clint Eastwood and not because of the modern Cowboy thing.

Raylan in this book is just as great as a character, he carried the book in the same cool,hardboiled manner and he was mildly amusing with hi
Jonathan Janz
Elmore Leonard is my second-favorite author next to Stephen King. Given (no pun intended!) that fact, that I loved Pronto will come as no surprise. What is surprising is how deftly Leonard switches settings in this tale. We begin in Miami, head over to Italy for a substantial chunk of the novel, then return to Miami. And all the while, Leonard is juggling characters, their motivations, and their desires. Making this juggling act an even greater feat is the fact that the characters' motivations a ...more
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Source: Library Checkout

Pronto tells the story of Harry Arno: he's a Miami bookie, is dating a topless dancer named Joyce and plans to retire to a villa in Italy within the next year. Harry has been skimming profits from his boss Jimmy 'Cap' for years but has so far remained undetected until the Feds decide to set him up in order to get to Jimmy thus forcing him to move up his retirement date and has him fleeing town immediately.

I decided to pick Pronto as my first Elmore

I can't believe this was the first Elmore Leonard novel I'd read. What's wrong with me? It took the show 'Justified' to convince me that I needed to give him a shot. After all, his character Raylan Givens is one of the most uniquely original protagonists in the last decade of television dramas.

This is the first full book featuring Federal Marshall Raylan Givens and it did not disappoint. Leonard is a master story teller whose characters are so incredibly flawed that you can't help be drawn in
“You hear him say he’s from some county? People from the South do that. Not in Florida so much, I mean people from the south South.”
“I’ve heard of Harlan County,” Joyce said. “You want to know what I think?”
“Tell me.”
“He’s not as dumb as you’d like to believe.”

Somehow, I didn’t even remember this exchange from before. The thing about the county. Which is so true about the south South that I may have just realized now, at twenty-nine years old, despite having traveled all over the country, that i
Mike (the Paladin)
This wasn't a bad book, it bogged down badly in the I've noticed isn't all that unusual in some mystery, thriller or even action books. I suppose it didn't help that I really didn't care for any one of the characters in this novel except possibly for the Marshal (Raylan). Harry a ne'er-do-well thieving has-been crook who(may be called the main character) uses everyone he can etc. Joyce, who lets herself be used and has some mysterious "love" (using the word loosely) for Harry...Tommy ...more
I liked this one quite a bit but I like Raylan Givens a lot. This is the first book starring the throwback Deputy Marshall and it is pretty much what you would expect. The characters are excellent, the dialog pops, the story move right along to a satisfying ending. Elmore Leonard is a goddamned genius and that is that.
An incongruous story at best. A modern cowboy wanna-be, U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens, has taken off for Italy in pursuit of Harry who is being sought by a number of felons who want to do him harm.

I started reading the Raylan Givens series after reading an interview with Elmore Leonard who remarked that the writing and character of Givens in the TV series was spot-on. I watched a couple of the "Justified", liked them, and then have been reading the Givens books. Generally, they are pretty good, ex
David Thalberg
I've read a few Elmore Leonard books, including the "Get Shorty" "series". He is known as one of America's greatest writers and I agree. His character development is flawless - they are often very "pulp" characters, living in a world far different than my own. His "bad guys" have heart and his "good guys" all have major flaws, leading them to enter a world of turbulence.

Of course I am a fan of the TV show, "Justified," so it was time to read the original Rayland Givens story, "Pronto.". I was s
It's so hard to read a book about Raylan Givens without thinking of the TV show. Yes, I realize he first appeared in written form, I didn't see him there first! So, it took some shaking of the head to get rid of Timothy Oliphant and get the book's Raylan in my head. (I never could shake my head that hard. Oliphant was always there a little bit.) Anyway, Raylan in this book is a bit more of a screwup than the show's version. He also has kids. The kids I just forgive as a change in formats. The sc ...more
Jonathan Cate
I love the tv show Justified on FX and recently found out that there are books written with characters. How weird is it that the tv show was made 20 years after the first book? Anyway, here is my review.

Pronto by Elmore Leonard is a pretty short book about a bookie that gets set up to be killed and flees the country to escape. The aging, insecure, alcoholic arrives in Italy and decides he wants his girlfriend to join him. This is an odd choice of country to flee to considering the Hitman or "Zi
Jeremy Schoolfield
This is one scenario where the movie—or, more appropriately, the TV show—is actually better than the book. "Pronto" is the first Leonard novel to feature Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens, who is the lead character on the FX series "Justified." Leonard is an EP on the show, so he's been fully involved with the evolution of the character from page to screen, and that evolution is just flat-out better than what we get here. "Pronto" is still a good read, but Raylan isn't quite as dynamic and defin ...more
The thing about Elmore Leonard's books, that thing that makes me want to read him even when the story drags on much longer than it needs to, is his characters and the dialog they have with each other. Leonard's people are like none I know or have ever met, and I find them fascinating, often hilarious, and more often than that, surprising. That's why I stuck with Pronto even though at times it was meandering off in left field somewhere going on and on about Ezra Pound. I got interested in the cha ...more
I always enjoy Leonard's mixture of hard-core crime along with his sardonic humor. Well, this one was no exception. I read this one specifically because it is the novel with the first appearance of Raylan Givens, the unorthodox U.S. Deputy Marshall who is the main attraction of FX's hit series Justified. Just recently finished binging on the first 4 seasons of Justified and am looking forward to Season 5 which starts this week. Well Pronto includes the Raylan character in all of his no bullshit ...more
I really wanted to love Pronto since I'm such a huge fan of Justified on FX. Sadly, I ended up realizing Elmore Leonard just really isn't my cup of tea. I guess I liked his ideas and his characters a lot, but I was very thrown off by his disjointed writing style.

Pronto is the story of small time career criminal Harry Arno who runs Miami mob boss Jimmy Cap's bookmaking business. Harry gets set up by the feds making him a target for his former boss. Harry decides to flee which introduces us to Uni
Elmore Leonard was a massive figure in my emergence into adulthood. I still remember checking Rum Punch out from my library after first seeing Jackie Brown and instantly seeing that he was nothing short of a master of his craft. After reading that whirlwind, I began to devour anything Elmore Leonard and began to fantasize about one day becoming a top notch crime fiction writer like him. There is no crime writer who can write the crisp, fast, dialogue that keeps you engaged like Leonard does. Pro ...more
Shannon Appelcline
I got to this one via the TV show Justified, which my wife and I have been watching the first season of. That show was based on two novels and a short story by Elmore Leonard, of which Pronto was the first (though only the short story is credited for some reason).

I found Pronto ... adequate. The problem may be that I already had the TV show as a model, and the TV show is excellent, a well-characterized southern Pulp Fiction, where half the time you're just shaking your head at the beautiful crim
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Brandon Cooper
Did I read the same book as everyone else? After hearing about Leonard's supposed "mastery" of the hard-boiled crime genre, I picked this one up expecting plenty of twists, turns, and action. Instead, I found myself reading page after page of dull dialogue. They go to a restaurant and talk. Then they go to Italy and talk in cafes. Then they talk in a villa. The plot is so simple and the action so scarce that one must wonder if Leonard is simply bored with his own work. I can imagine the author b ...more
John Onoda
I read this novel because the main character, Raylan Givens, is apparently going to be featured in a television series; and I wanted to experience the character in my imagination before seeing him on screen. It's clear why Givens is a good choice to make the transition form page to screen, as he's a very compelling figure. You can easily see him being played by a young Clint Eastwood.

Elmore Leonard is amazingly consistent. Characters are always full and flawed. Language is always presented like
Deputy United States Marshal Raylan Givens is a bit of an old-timey Marshal somehow cast in modern Miami chasing Italian thugs. This is the first of the books that the "Justified" TV series is based on -- there are four books now, and two seasons of the show -- and it's all worth reading & watching. Raylan's story is excellent fun without being pulpy and irritating. Leonard is a master craftsman with language, and this novel is just brilliantly written.

I'm going to read the second in the ser
Benoit Lelievre
It makes me sad to say that Raylan Givens makes me...indifferent. At least in this novel he does. Elmore Leonard is always worth reading though. In PRONTO, his bad guys are the spectacle. Jimmy Cap, Gloria, The Zip, Nicky Testa and how they interact with each other. They are brilliant creations, artifacts of Elmore Leonard's road proofed sense of humor. I suspect the other Raylan Givens novels are probably better than this, but it wasn't bad at all. Just not great. When you write as much as Leon ...more
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Elmore John Leonard lived in Dallas, Oklahoma City and Memphis before settling in Detroit in 1935. After serving in the navy, he studied English literature at the University of Detroit where he entered a short story competition. His earliest published novels in the 1950s were westerns, but Leonard went on to specialize in crime fiction and suspense thrillers, many of which have been adapted into m ...more
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