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Riding the Rap

(Raylan Givens #2)

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  5,102 ratings  ·  367 reviews
Before U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens began electrifying TV viewers across America (in the hit series Justified), he “starred” in Elmore Leonard’s Riding the Rap—an explosive, twisty tale of a brazen Florida kidnap caper gone outrageously wrong. Chock full of wildly eccentric and deliciously criminal characters—including a psycho enforcer with a green thumb, a Bahamian bad man ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 326 pages
Published June 4th 2002 by HarperTorch (first published 1995)
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3.79  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,102 ratings  ·  367 reviews

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Feb 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For builders, the triangle is one of the sturdiest shapes to use in construction. Unlike say a weak-assed rectangle, a triangle resists lateral pressure and therefore, collapse. Plus, who doesn’t like a good well-wrought threesome love triangle. Amiright?

Well, triangle, as in three criminal “masterminds” plotting evil in criminal enterprises as per Elmore Leonard is very much a crowd. The three wise men? Nope.

In an Elmore Leonard book, mayhem comes in three’s and Leonard sure loves to band tog
Bill  Kerwin

This second Raylan Givens novel is not quite as good as the first, but crime novel fans and Justified fans will find enough excitement--and enough Raylan--to satisfy them both.

Harry Arno and Joyce are back again, only this time Harry's not on the lam, but instead is kidnapped by a thug, a semi-thug and a hustler. As usual, Leonard is very good at revealing bit by bit precisely how vicious the bad guys are, allowing the reader to play the game “Whose the Worst Psychopath?” all the way to the end
Michael Finocchiaro
The second appearance (thanks Armin!) of Raylan is a fun one as are all the stories in this wonderful short and rapid-fire read!
Sep 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: public-library
U.S. Marshall Raylan Givens. That hat. Them boots. He's a man with a code. His mama raised him to have good manners. You don't go into a person's house uninvited. Or unless you have a warrant. If you have a warrant, then you are justified in busting the door down.

As a favor to a friend, Raylan is checking into the whereabouts of Harry Arno, who has been missing for several days. He has been kidnapped by a crew who seem to think he has a great deal of money. An ex-con with the unlikely name of L
Apr 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kick-ass, blog
For those unfamiliar with the television show Justified, this novel (along with Pronto) serves as the inspiration for the story of Raylan Givens, a U. S. Marshal from Harlan, Kentucky, who has a gun on his hip, a Stetson on his head, and a chip on his shoulder. Torn between coal country's familial "code of honor" and his own desire to be an Old West cowboy meting out justice based on a dogmatic understanding of right and wrong, Raylan often finds himself in the questionable middle ground of mora ...more
Bodosika Bodosika
Sep 12, 2016 rated it liked it
Am new to Elmore Leonard but immediately I started reading it I got attracted to his works and what drew me to works are the characters, the narrative or presentation,and the dialogue. He made me fell in love with his characters and got emotionally attracted to them.Before I started this book I had been reading three other books all at once and am already half way through with them but I paused all of them and completed the reading of this book.
This book reminds me of James Hardley Chase's 'The
Jul 02, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-mystery
Elmore Leonard featured Raylan Givens in two books and one short story, and the TV show based on Raylan, Justified, has already used the entire short story for the pilot, several key scenes from Pronto, and the basic plot from Riding the Rap. And that was just through the first four or five episodes. I like the show so I hope they’ve got a plan for the rest of the series beyond asking Leonard to write faster.

This time out retired bookie Harry Arno from Pronto is still causing Raylan grief becaus
May 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, crime, noir
This is the 2th outing of US Marshall Raylan Givens, well known perhaps to some folks due to the TV series of Justified.

The book opens with Marshall Givens picking up an escaped convict and bringing him back to jail when some nincompoops try to carjack him and so the car gets filled with one escaped convict and two arrested carjackers. This is the story style with a cool and bright policeman which he keeps the whole novel. You never get the idea that the story goes fast anywhere and yet the dia
May 21, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
"Huggers and fortune-tellers; you're into some weird shit aren't you?"
-- Elmore Leonard, Riding the Rap


Like Pronto, 'Riding the Rap' isn't top shelf Elmore Leonard, but even bottom shelf (which this is not) Elmore Leonard is usually worth the money/time. This is the second Elmore Leonard novel to feature Raylan Givens in it. The most interesting part of this whole novel is the dialogue and interaction between the Raylan Givens and the Reverend Dawn Navarro. Navarro is a psychic who appears to fl
Mohammed Abdi Osman
I read this book in one sitting late last night and it was no fast read that was only fast paced and no depth. It took me 5-6 hours to read because i wanted to enjoy everyone nuance, character, dialogue.

I read recently the first book Pronto in this Harry Arno/Raylan Givens series and this book improved on the faults,weakness of that book. It had better mix of fun,quirky story and hardboiled,darker story. The first book was too much quirky and too little hardboiled for my taste with a hero like R
Dec 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-thriller
Elmore Leonard writes in a style that is very dialogue heavy. Sometimes, this can weigh down his books (Touch and Unknown Man #89 for example). But in a hostage situation where everyone is trying to figure out the cards they're dealt, Leonard looks good here. A return of the excellent Raylan Givens character is nice but it's the Reverend Dawn who really steals the show. Leonard really creates some quality female character and she's one of them. A solid overall effort from the crime-writing maste ...more
CV Rick
Sep 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mainstream
I think the appeal here is that we crave heroes and we want our heroes to be flawed. We want to see our heroes do the things we know we can't do and at the same time we want to feel superior to them. Elmore Leonard hits the nail on the head with this sentiment. He gives us just enough of the impossible to strike awe and just enough weakness to make us feel hopeful.

Elmore Leonard is my guilty pleasure. I know I can always turn to Elmore Leonard when I want great characters and an exciting plot. R
I like Raylan so much in this one.

I mean, I always like Raylan. I love Raylan. But I first picked this book up a couple of years ago without having read Pronto, and ended up skimming a lot of it when I realized I needed to read Pronto first. My impression, back then, was that it was a lot of fun but shallow waters. Not all that much in the way of character depth.

But, man. What is the opposite of that? As fun as it is (so much fun), there’s layers upon layers here. The waters are still, and they
Sep 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Number two in the series
While the character gets closer to Tim Olyphant's portrayal, he still makes some very dumb decisions.
I like Leonard's cast of characters, good, bad, and the just shortly encountered.
Apr 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Having enjoyed the TV show based off these books, it has been fun to visit with Raylans character again. Also my first reads of Elmore Leonard and am looking to get into more of his work soon.
Oct 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I’ll tell you something: my love/hate relationship with Elmore Leonard has just shifted to slightly more into the love side of the equation. I didn’t much care for Pronto but I liked the audio book version of Raylan quite a bit. So I thought I’d leave it up to Riding the Rap to decide if Elmore Leonard was “my thing” or not. I have to admit that I’m beginning to come around. I’m still not a huge fan of his incomplete sentences or his jarring scene shifts, but I really do enjoy his characters, hi ...more
Oct 27, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: completed
Elmore Leonard is a MASTER at creating odd and malformed characters. While the plotline of this one isn't exactly masterful, his deft handling of the characters adds depth to the enjoyment of this novel. It isn't a masterpiece by any means, but I enjoyed it (with the exception of the strong language-- remember-- these are criminals and Elmore lets them talk in a realistic manner-- at times he seems to revel in it. In other words-- at times (at least for me) he goes too far for me. In fact, I fee ...more
Jul 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is a good palate cleanser after re-reading the Game of Thrones series. The good guys win, hooray! No, that's not a spoiler. If you're a fan of Justified on FX, you'll recognize the situations in Pronto and Riding the Rap (haven't started Fire in the Hole yet). Raylan is a bit different in the books from the way he's portrayed in the TV series, but still recognizable with his hat, boots, and general idea that regardless of the situation, things will work out OK for him. So far this series is ...more
L.E. Fitzpatrick
Mar 30, 2014 rated it it was ok
I really, really wanted to like this book. I love Raylan Givens as a character and thought the short story Fire in the Hole was amazing, but this book just lacked something for me.

Leonard's writing is effortless and his settings are very engrossing and believable, which is probably why I stuck it out to the end. But unlike his other books I really felt that this story was just filled with infuriating characters.

The first part of the book was set up nicely, with a botched heist and some great act
Mar 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is Leonard's second Raylan Givens novel, that the show 'Justified' is based on. Once again, Raylan seems to spend most of his time going off on his own, rather than sticking purely with his US Marshall services job.

Harry, from 'Pronto' , the first Raylan Givens' book, is a retired bookie who returns In this book. After running from the mob in book one, he is kidnapped by a trio of truly strange characters in this book. Raylan gets involved with a beautiful young psychic; an old woman whose
Mike (the Paladin)
Pretty good read, I enjoyed it. I considered giving it only 3 stars for a while as it did start to drag (I thought) for a while. But it picked back up. Anyone who has been watching the TV series Justified will spot the plot as having already been "adjusted" and used on the series. Still it is an interesting read and I like the Raylan Givens character. I'm going all the way to 4 stars on this one.

I plan to stay with this character at least even if I don't follow any more of Leonard's work.

This i
Feb 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017, crime
In my eyes Raylan can do no wrong, so I really liked this Raylan/Harry Arno adventure. But oddly, the Raylan stories I've read so far fall short of the series. One remarkable thing about Leonard is the way he combines humor and lightnesss with dark scary evil. This is strongly evident here. Leonard also neatly ties up the Raylan/Harry/Joyce love triangle.

Edited to add: I just watched season 1, episode 3 of justified which is based on this story. I have to say that this time the tv series did not
Mar 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
A steady-moving story with satire and without ever taking itself too seriously. A good story, told in an orderly manner.
Alex Gherzo
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
David Self
Feb 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Not half bad.
Mar 18, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: read2010
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Raylan Givens in a U.S. Marshall in Florida. He has a strong moral code and is true to his friends.

Harry Arno is a retired gambler who uses paid collectors when it comes to collecting on an overdue debt. He has recently had a DWI so uses his ex-girlfriend, Janet, as a chauffeur. She and Raylan have been dating for a long time and become used to each other.

One of the people owing Harry money is Chip Ganz and when Harry has Bobby Deo try to collect the money, Chip changes the tables and offers Bob
Rick Merrick
Sep 22, 2013 rated it liked it
I'll start by confessing that I am a huge fan of the FX series Justified, based on the Raylan Givens character. This was my first Elmore Leonard novel, and I must admit that what most caught my attention is how perfectly the television show mimics his style. (I recognized at least one scene that had been "borrowed" by the television series.) This book is not a whodunit, but more Dial M for Murder or Columbo in that it's a "how will he catch them" story. The plot is very straight forward with alm ...more
Ken Doggett
Jun 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Trite to say, but this is the quintessential Elmore Leonard, all the quirky characters, the humorous side of tragedy, the violence, and the snappy dialogue. The main characters in this one are some of the same ones Leonard depicted in Pronto–Raylan Givens, Harry Arno, & company. Harry, of course, gets himself into trouble, and Raylan tries his best to get him out of it. I recommend this one to all Leonard fans, and to crime-novel fans in general, and rate it at 5 out of 5 stars.
Ed [Redacted]
Mar 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012
This is I think my second read of this book. I decided to read or re-read all of the Raylan Givens material again after catching up with this season's "Justified". Leonard is in his element here, his characters flaky and fun, his dialog crackling and his plot, well, good enough anyway. This is a very enjoyable book with a trio of villains who, as always, completely outshine the hero. My favorite of the Raylan Givens stories is still "Fire in the Hole" but this is well worth reading.

I have read t
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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

Other books in the series

Raylan Givens (4 books)
  • Pronto (Raylan Givens, #1)
  • Raylan
  • Raylan Goes to Detroit
“The personality and the ego scream, while the soul whispers.” 0 likes
“He said to Dale Crowe Junior, "I know you think you can drive when you've had a few. How good are you when you're sober?" This marshal not sounding like the usual hard-ass lawman; Dale Junior was glad of that. He said, "I had a Caddy myself one time, till I sold it for parts and went to work at Disney's. You know what I tried out for? Play Goofy. Mickey Mouse's friend? Only you had to water-ski and I couldn't get the hang of it. Sir, I like to mention that these three years since I took off? I been clean. I never even left the state of Florida all that time, not wanting to be too far away from my folks, my old mom and dad, except I never did get to see them." The marshal, Raylan Givens, said, "If you're gonna talk I'll put you in the trunk and I'll drive.” 0 likes
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