FX — my favorite TV channel — is gearing up for the return of, arguably, my favorite show. That’d be “Justified,” wherein federal marshal and Kentuckian Raylan Givens takes on the local hillbilly crime family, his nemesis from his boyhood days (Boyd Crowder), outsiders (i.e., city slickers, damn Yankees and other assorted miscreants), his ex-wife, a scorned woman (I mean, different from his ex-wife) and even his own boss.
What’s not to like?
FX has already started running trailers aplenty and the show’s Facebook page has lit up recently with the same. And this awesome little tidbit: Harper Collins is releasing, for a limited time, a Kindle version (along with other e-book formats) of the original Elmore Leonard short story that got the whole thing started, “Fire in the Hole.” Yes, I’ve already downloaded it — it was only $1.99. It has bonus material! A sneak preview at Leonard’s upcoming novel, “Raylan.” You can guess what it’s about.
I have to list Elmore Leonard as an influence — either that, or one of my biggest guilty pleasures. I’ve written here before that he’s one of the best redneck noir writers working today — and he’s not even your stereotypical redneck. But he gets it. And he’s a hell of a storyteller. Many of his novels (Out of Sight, Get Shorty) have been turned into movies that are almost as good as the books. I don’t remember when I first read a Leonard novel, but I’ve been reading them ever since. And I’ve been reading them for years. He’s a master at dialogue, but especially dialect, which makes his characters jump off the page as you read. He’s also very good at scene-setting and creating an environment that feels as real as if you’re standing there. And he’s funny as hell, to boot.
And if you’re thinking, “Elmore Leonard? I thought he wrote Westerns,” you’d be right — he writes those, too: Joe Kidd and 3:10 to Yuma, for example.
In other words, he just might be exactly what Timothy Olyphant said he was: the coolest mother effer in literature.
WAnt to see how much of an influence Leonard is? Check out the “Deep Blood” link at the top of the page.
Here’s the list:
- Mr. Majestyk (with Charles Bronson)
- Valdez Is Coming (with Burt Lancaster)
- 52 Pick-Up (with Roy Scheider)
- Stick (with Burt Reynolds)
- The Moonshine War (with Alan Alda)
- Last Stand at Saber River (with Tom Selleck)
- Gold Coast (with David Caruso)
- Glitz (with Jimmy Smits)
- Cat Chaser (with Peter Weller)
- Touch (with Christopher Walken)
- Pronto (with Peter Falk)
- Be Cool (with John Travolta)
- Killshot (Diane Lane, Mickey Rourke).
|1970||The Moonshine War||Richard Quine|
|1972||Joe Kidd||John Sturges|
|1974||Mr. Majestyk||Richard Fleischer|
|1980||High Noon, Part II (TV)||Jerry Jameson|
|1985||Stick||Burt Reynolds||Joseph Stinson|
|1986||52 Pick-Up||John Frankenheimer||John Steppling|
|1987||The Rosary Murders||Fred Walton||William X. Kienzle & Fred Walton|
|Desperado (TV series)||Virgil W. Vogel|
|1989||Cat Chaser||Abel Ferrara||James Borelli|