Sometimes you just want to hang out with a U.S. Marshal, you know?
Riding the Rap, the second Raylan book, finds our trusty Marshal a year later, still in South Florida and still in a relationship with Joyce. Harry has gotten himself into some trouble again. He’s officially retired this time, thanks to the U.S. government, and is looking to collect the last of the monies owed on his bookie business. This find him hiring Bobby Deo to go collect from Chip Ganz. Ganz unfortunately doesn’t have the money to pay Harry, and instead launches a plan to kidnap Harry for ransom. With Harry gone for a couple days Joyce is on Raylan’s case to find Harry – which seems to be a relative constant in Raylan’s life.
This book wasn’t as good as the first in the series, Pronto. Riding the Rap is a smaller story in scope and execution but in it we are introduced to some interesting characters, a very fun picture of how South Florida was 20 years ago, and more of the character of Raylan who would be present in the television series Justified. But the storytelling was a bit uneven. Where Pronto felt like it was continually building, one piece on the next until the entire tower toppled over, this one felt like a series of episodes of action. Three ne’er do wells join forces against Harry. Harry gets abducted. Raylan is forced to go look for him. Days pass with little action except for our team of crack criminals scheming on each other. Raylan is driving up and down I 95 and trying to figure out how fortune teller Reverend Dawn is connected to Ganz and the missing Harry. Joyce is annoyed. Several some ones get killed and Raylan uses his seeming sixth sense to solve the case that isn’t actually a case.
However, I REALLY enjoyed the first part of the book where Raylan’s new normal is being laid out for the reader and we’re introduced to the character of Dewey Crowe, Jr. There’s a lot to love both in the character of Crowe (and how much remains the same in the show) and how only Raylan could be the victim of an attempted carjacking, but someone manage to turn it all around – that section was the most comically light of the book, and really the best part to listen to. I’ll be continuing my way through the Raylan books soon.