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 gets set up and incurs the wrath of mob enforcer Tommy 'the zip' Bucks and he's forced to flee both Raylan and the country in search of a safe haven.
He lands in Italy, a place he was planning to retire to, soon to follow is his ex-stripper girlfriend Joyce, the Mafia hot on his trail and Raylan using his vacation time.
Pronto is an entertaining crime thriller that at times reminded me of a western with some outstanding dialogue and one or two intriguing stand-offs. Raylan shows all the hallmarks of his TV persona, likeable, an eye for the ladies, perceptive, intelligent and humorous. There's some really good points in this but it doesn't hold throughout, I guess that's due to Raylan being by far the best character but not the primary focus.
There's plenty of depth to the characters and the dialogue keeps your attention but it could have been so much better. I will follow up with the next in the series because Raylan as you may have guessed is a bit of a favourite and this story whilst absorbing, was never translated into an episode of Justified.
The audio narration by Nick Landrum at just over 7 hours was pretty good, with the odd bit of Italian dialect and this certainly won’t be my last Elmore Leonard and Raylan Givens story.
A 3.5 Rating.