Pronto (novel)

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Pronto-book cover.jpg
First edition
Author Elmore Leonard
Country  United States
Language English
Genre Crime/Contemporary
Publisher Delacorte Press
Publication date
Media type Hard cover
Pages 265
ISBN 0-385-33290-4
Followed by Riding the Rap

Pronto is a crime novel written by Elmore Leonard and published in 1993. Leonard introduces three main characters and gets them moving against each other. Harry is constantly reminiscing about World War II. Tommy carries a picture of the old crime boss Frank Costello in his wallet. Raylan is a U.S. Marshal who wears a cowboy hat. In addition, the inclusion of the Ezra Pound stories add more to the understanding of Harry and his reasons for retiring to Rapallo, Italy.

A 1997 made-for-TV version of Pronto starred Peter Falk, Glenne Headly and James LeGros. The character of Raylan Givens, played by LeGros, would later become the protagonist for the television series Justified.

Plot summary[edit]

Harry Arno, an over-the-hill Miami bookmaker, quietly lives the good life with his girlfriend, Joyce Patton. Harry skimmed for years from his corpulent mob boss, Jimmy "Cap" Capotorto, and managed to salt away nearly a cool million in a Swiss bank account. Harry wants to retire and move to Rapallo, Italy, dreaming of an idyllic existence with Joyce in a villa by the sea. In Rapallo, he once briefly talked to the poet, Ezra Pound, when Harry was in the army and Pound was incarcerated.

Now that the Justice Department is after Jimmy Cap, it sets up Harry to give information about Cap's activities by putting out the word about his skimming activities. The assumption is that Jimmy Cap will try to have Harry killed, which will force Harry to ask for witness protection and turn evidence. Jimmy Cap sends a message to Harry in the form of low-life hit man Earl Crowe, but Harry is faster with a gun.

Harry skips his bond and eludes the baby-sitting U. S. Marshal and former Marine Raylan Givens[1] for the second time, the first ending when Harry gave Raylan the slip in an Atlanta airport. Harry makes a nostalgic dash for Rapallo.

Holed up in a picturesque Italian resort, Harry is soon pursued by his ex-stripper girlfriend Joyce. Raylan follows because he seeks to redeem his previous failure to bring Harry in—for him this is now a matter of honor. In addition, "the Zip," another mob affiliate, wants to take over Harry's action, so he tells Cap that he'll take out Harry in Italy. If Harry ends up dead, the Zip gets to take over the bookie operation, which is going to mean a lot more money. The Zip, who in Miami endlessly humiliates "Stronzo" Nicky Testa, demonstrates his penchant for violence with a cold-blooded murder.

Harry now has so many people following him that the small village of Rapallo becomes inundated with U. S. mobsters and federal agents. To his aid comes Robert Gee, a former French foreign legionnaire, who helps him defend the villa against all the trigger-happy mobsters. During these events, the 66-year-old Harry starts drinking again, which causes the situation to deteriorate even faster. Harry is in real danger of losing his life, but Raylan makes sure that doesn't happen.

Characters in Pronto[edit]

  • Harry Arno – 66-year-old bookie
  • Joyce Patton – Harry's girlfriend and former topless dancer
  • Robert Gee – Harry's Italian aide and former French foreign legionary
  • Buck Torres – miami homicide detective
  • Raylan Givens – (Deputy) U.S. Marshal and former Marine.
  • Jimmy 'Cap' Capotorto – miami wiseguy
  • Earl Crowe – miami hitman
  • Tommy Bitoniti – Tommy Bucks – 'the Zip' – Detroit wiseguy and Jimmy Cap's main enforcer
  • Nicky Testa – Jimmy Cap's assistant
  • Fabrizio – Italian wiseguy
  • Nicky – Italian wiseguy
  • Benno – Italian wiseguy


  1. ^ Pronto, browse inside in harpercollins website, page 61.

External links[edit]