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Pronto (Raylan Givens #1)

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  6,985 Ratings  ·  599 Reviews
“Speedy, exhilarating, and smooth. Nobody does it better.”
Washington Post

“The man knows how to grab you—and Pronto is one of the best grabbers in years.”
Entertainment Weekly

Fans of U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens of the hit TV series Justified are in for a major treat. The unstoppable manhunter with the very itchy trigger finger stars in Pronto, a crime fiction gem from the
Trade Paperback, 373 pages
Published 2012 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published 1993)
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Bill  Kerwin
Oct 29, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

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
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:

Commercial Photography

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
Apr 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kick-ass, blog
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
Paul Nelson
Pronto is my first read from Elmore Leonard and it’s all because of the introduction of one Raylan Givens, the character the TV series Justified is based on, which I’m a big fan of.
U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens is not the main character of Pronto, more a co-star but he still manages to steal the show in a character driven story.
The stories main focal point is mob book runner Harry Arno, an aged man who works the phone, takes the bets and makes money for the Mafia. Harry's fortunes change when he
Jul 02, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-mystery
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.
Terry Brooks
Sep 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Joe Valdez
Sep 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-crime
For me, there's John Steinbeck, Elmore Leonard and Flannery O'Connor and then all other authors. That said, Leonard's work is championship caliber or DNP due to league substance violation. Hit or miss. His 1993 novel Pronto actually lopes along for 241 pages occupying the middle of the pack. Rather than a great novel, it's travelogue that reads more like backstory to a great novel. Then the last 24 pages happen and throw everything up for grabs.

The story opens in South Miami Beach, where 66-year
Daniel Villines
May 29, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 20, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016
"The ant's a centaur in his dragon world. Pull down thy vanity...'
-- Ezra Pound, Canto LXXXI


Not the best Elmore Leonard, but worth it for three major things:

1. Justified. This is the first Elmore Leonard novel that features Raylan Givens (later to appear in the FX series Justified). I think I've watched maybe one episode and it looks good, but if you are a fan of the series just be aware, this book isn't exactly centered on Raylan Givens. It is centered on Miami bookmaker Harry Arno. Arno is a
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
May 15, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Milo (BOK)
Dec 01, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller-crime
The Review: http://thefictionalhangout.blogspot.c...

Harry Arno runs a South Miami Beach gambling operation. To protect his position, he was forced to cut a deal with the local muscle, Jimmy Capotorto (Jumbo Jimmy Cap), an even fifty-fifty split. For years Harry had been padding his own stake by skimming off the top. Now a couple of local detectives - wise to sticky fingers - try to bag Jimmy by putting the squeeze on Harry. U.S. Marshalls deliver Harry to court to testify at Jimmy's trial. Even
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
Jonathan Janz
May 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

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
Mar 10, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I adore Justified, so I wanted to read the original source for the series. Decent, sparse writing and an ok plot.
Feb 06, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
With the first five seasons of 'Justified' currently available on demand to Sky subscribers I was tempted into watching this show from the start. I soon got hooked and became curious about the original books featuring sharp shooting US Marshall Raylan Givens by Elmore Leonard. Being a beast with a very methodical nature I grabbed me a copy of book 1 and got started, 'Pronto' isn't really a book about Raylan though. He starts out as a supporting character in what turns out to be a character piece ...more
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
Enjoyable, but I had a hard time "Justifying" Leonard's character of Raylan with some bumbling decisions to the Tim Olyphant characterization in Raylan.
May 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“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
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
Kyle Muntz
Jun 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've become sort of indirectly obsessed with Elmore Leonard because of Justified (which, though it's the last thing anyone who knows me would have expected me to watch, I think has really influenced my understanding of how character and dialogue can function in storytelling), so it was nice to check out this book and see something much stronger than Raylan, which I think was too deeply in the shadow of the TV series, though I really loved "Fire in the Hole", which takes place after this and was ...more
Ed [Redacted]
Oct 18, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jan 22, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, fiction, noir
What took me so long to read Elmore Leonard? This was fantastic, loved it from start to finish. Raylan Givens is a great character, so good I might even watch the TV show that features him. Headed to the library to get the next one...
Kevin Seccia
Dec 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Elmore Leonard is the best because every book he wrote has at least two characters who could've been played by Lee Marvin.
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
Mar 31, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 16, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
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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
More about Elmore Leonard...

Other Books in the Series

Raylan Givens (5 books)
  • Riding the Rap
  • Fire in the Hole
  • Elmore Leonard Raylan Givens 3-Book Collection: Pronto, Riding the Rap, Fire in the Hole (Raylan Givens #1-3)
  • Raylan
“She wondered what he looked like with his hat off and wondered again if he knew he was funny.” 5 likes
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