I told her that the end of the book is the opening scene to the TV series and that the book will give that whole scene some context and she seemed intrigued.
And if you haven't read the short story that introduces Raylan, you definitely need to do that too! It's called Fire In The Hole, and is pretty much the dinner scene from the first episode. In the short story, Boyd ends up dead, which isn't a spoiler, because you know that he does NOT die before the end of the first episode of the series. LOL
The publisher used to have it on their website, as part of a collection of other Leonard stories and novellas originally called When The Women Came Out To Dance. It's wall to wall great stuff, but there's no question that Fire In The Hole is the standout...so the publisher wisely re-released the collection under that name. Here's the Amazon link
, but it's available in all the usual places.
I've mentioned elsewhere (maybe even on this thread?) how much I enjoy the character of Karen Sisco, featured in the novel and movie Out of Sight (both terrific), as well as the too-shortly-lived TV series starring the magnificent Carla Gugino and Robert Forster (played by Jennifer Lopez and Dennis Farina in the movie) -- there's a dandy story starring her here too.
Have you read George V. Higgins', "The Friends of Eddie Coyle"? I think I saw that book in Raylan's hands or on his desk a few times during the TV series.
Another one where both the book and the movie are worth checking out: the book from 1970, and the movie from 1973, starring Robert Mitchum and Peter Boyle going hammer and tongs.
I don't KNOW this, but I suspect Raylan reading it was a tribute to Leonard's praise of the book as the greatest crime novel ever written. Noting that Higgins hated being called a "crime writer" -- he was a State Attorney in Boston at the time the book was published, and unlike the hazy romanticism of a lot of gangster depictions, he really REALLY leaned into the "lowlife" aspect of these guys. He was prosecuting
these guys, and did not, uhm, find them admirable. LOL Not a shred of romance here. I remember this line from a review describing Eddie as "hopeless, hapless, tragic, doomed."
Leonard was quite articulate on this point "[Higgins] saw himself as the Charles Dickens of crime in Boston instead of a crime writer. He just understood the human condition and he understood it most vividly in the language and actions among low lives."
Some more great stuff on all that here