on October 5th 2010 (first published 1993)
Length: 5 hours and 57 minutes
The feds want Miami bookmaker Harry Arno to squeal on his wiseguy boss. So they're putting word out on the street that Arno's skimming profits from "Jimmy Cap" Capotorto--which he is, but everybody does it. He was planning to retire to Italy someday anyway, so Harry figures now's a good time to get lost. U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens knows Harry's tricky--the bookie ditched him once in an airport while in the marshal's custody--but not careful. So Raylan's determined to find the fugitive's Italian hideaway before a cold-blooded Sicilian "Zip" does and whacks Arno for fun. After all, it's a "pride thing..".and it might even put Raylan in good stead with Harry's sexy ex-stripper girlfriend Joyce.
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 Leonard novel because of the fact that I love ‘Justified’ so much. While my love of the show centers around the character Raylan Givens (or, if I’m being quite honest, mainly because of Timothy Olyphant) he doesn’t play the leading character as I would have expected. Pronto is a dialogue driven narrative with a large cast of engaging characters that are all given their share of the spotlight in this story. The mob bosses are hysterical and their simple mindedness is portrayed well and with good humor. Raylan Givens is a small-town cowboy that is much smarter than his persona would imply. Harry is a thief who uses and abuses anyone that can be a benefit to him but still manages to still be a character you care about. Pronto is an entertaining blend of western and crime fiction with a subtle dash of humor.
This was enjoyable on audio with narrator Alexander Adams capable of using a multitude of different voices and even managed to make the occasional Italian dialogue sound authentic. Now that I’ve had my first experience reading an Elmore Leonard book I can safely say it won’t be my last.