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(Raylan Givens #1)

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  8,031 ratings  ·  677 reviews
In the world of Elmore Leonard novels, cops and criminals get by with a grudging respect for each other's capabilities:

Harry had been arrested by Buck Torres a half-dozen times or so; they knew each other pretty well and were friends. Not socially, Harry had never met Buck's wife, but friends in the way they trusted one another and always had time to talk about other thin
Paperback, 400 pages
Published June 4th 2002 by HarperTorch (first published 1993)
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3.75  · 
Rating details
 ·  8,031 ratings  ·  677 reviews

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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
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
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.
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
Terry Brooks
Sep 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Mohammed Abdi Osman
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
Vincent Lombardo
Another Leonard classic. Never see Justified in FX but if it's anyway as good I will be happy to see it. It is probably one of my favorites novels with Rum Punch close behind, which is high praise because it was my favorite Leonard novel. Can't wait until read more of Raylan Givens' adventures.
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
Brandon Cooper
Mar 27, 2014 rated it it was ok
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
Ivy H
Jan 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed reading this because of Elmore Leonard's effortless narrative style of writing. He blends in his dialogue so seamlessly with the descriptive prose that it is easy to imagine what's happening as if it's right in front of you. This novel would make a perfect Quentin Tarantino film. PRONTO was a refreshing change after reading a long line of romance novels. The key players in this novel were:

1. The Bookie aka Harry Arno aka John Harold Arnaud: 66 yr old war veteran:


2. The Cowboy ak
Jonathan Janz
May 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Mar 11, 2012 rated it really liked it

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
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
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
Jan 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While this novel qualifies as Raylan Givens book 1 it could also be qualified as Harry Arno book 1, as it is the tale of of a sports bookie Harry Arno thats gets squeezed by the Department of Justice into a position that endangers his life by the MAFFIA. They want him to spill the beans on one lower level capo and make up some stuff to bring danger to his door. And instead of spilling the beans Arno does something else and takes a trip to Europe, especially Italy were he spend some time during W ...more
Aug 05, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio

This audiobook was a disappointment. The narrator was just there for a paycheck.

As far as the story goes... literally any episode of Justified is better than this book.

Thus Pronto has made it onto an exclusive list:

The Movie Was Better
The Virgin Suicides
Jan 22, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, mystery, 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...
Jan 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime-fiction
4.5/5. I really enjoyed this quick read, it was fun. Comical at times, likeable cheesy other times, and an all around really good narrative. I'm a big fan of Justified, I liked the differences between Raylan there and in the novel. I'll definitely read all of the Raylan Givens novels and shorts.
May 30, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, fiction
I really miss Justified, the brilliant TV show based on the shenanigans of Elmore Leonard’s character Raylan Givens. So when I saw ‘Pronto’ on the library shelf I grabbed it, as this is the novel which introduces him. I get the impression that Leonard wasn’t sure where he was going with the character at this point, which is fair enough. Compared to the much later Raylan, here the writing seems less assured and the one-liners don’t flow so well. Nonetheless, Leonard is great at capturing the incr ...more
Sep 18, 2017 rated it liked it
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
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
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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)
  • Riding the Rap
  • Raylan
  • Raylan Goes to Detroit
“She wondered what he looked like with his hat off and wondered again if he knew he was funny.” 5 likes
“You take one more step," Raylan said, "I'll shoot you. That's all I'm gonna say.” 0 likes
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