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Stick Mass Market Paperback – Jul 11 2002

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; Reprint edition (July 11 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060085630
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060085636
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 2.1 x 17.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 181 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #952,476 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From the Back Cover

After serving time for armed robbery, Ernest “Stick” Stickley is back on the outside and trying to stay legit. But it's tough staying straight in a crooked town—and Miami is a pirate's paradise, where investment fat cats and lowlife drug dealers hold hands and dance. And when a crazed player chooses Stick at random to die for another man's sins, the struggling ex-con is left with no choice but to dive right back into the game. Stick knows a good thing when he sees it—and a golden opportunity to run a very profitable sweet-revenge scam seems much too tasty to pass up.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Elmore Leonard has written more than three dozen books during his highly successful writing career, including the national bestsellers Mr. Paradise, Pagan Babies, and Get Shorty. Many of his novels have been made into movies, including Get Shorty, Out of Sight, Valdez Is Coming, and Rum Punch (as Quentin Tarantino's Jackie Brown). He has been named Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America and lives in Bloomfield Village, Michigan, with his wife.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
Usually in a Elmore Leonard book, we get to know what the caper is going to be rather early in the book. In "Stick", it doesn't come until very late in the book, and is so unimportant to the overall story it's almost a throw-in. But that doesn't matter, as just following the adventures of the title character is worth reading on it's own.
"Stick" tells the part of the life of it's main character, Earnest Stickley, right after being released from prison. Yes, he does witness a murder, and yes, people are after him for it, and yes, he does eventually get involved in a big score at the end, and yes, even this has a surprise twist. But it's what happens in between all this that I like.
You would think that seven years of hard time would make anyone sick of a life of crime. You would think he would avoid anything that would send him back to a life that he admits is a constant struggle for survival. But, as in his other books, a con is a con is a con. It's amusing that Stick doesn't even seem to conceive of the idea of a completely straight life, even though that's what he's declaring.
Sure, he gets a job as a chauffer, but it's just something to hold him as he scopes out other jobs. He claims to be coming to Florida to see his daughter, but it's quite a while into the story before he actually gets around to going to see her. Checking out the local crime scene is just a higher priority, yet you don't dislike the guy.
While this life is not for me, it does provide great escapism into a world where I can be part of it, but not have to pay the price.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is Elmore Leonard at his finest. It's all here. The spare, clean prose, the dead-on dialogue, and the tight, strong, driven plot shot through with the fatalistic humor of the street. If you have never read an Elmore Leonard book this should be your first. And if you're an old fan, this book will showcase everything that's drawn you to read his other books, and whet your appetite for even more.
A lot of what Elmore Leonard does now is sort of throwaway, to some extent. It's entertaining, but it won't last. But "Stick"
is different. I think that in another 50 years "Stick" will be considered a classic, in much the way some of Damon Runyon's work is today.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa50da684) out of 5 stars 44 reviews
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa514921c) out of 5 stars Late in getting to the big score, but still great reading July 31 2002
By elvistcob@lvcm.com - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Usually in a Elmore Leonard book, we get to know what the caper is going to be rather early in the book. In "Stick", it doesn't come until very late in the book, and is so unimportant to the overall story it's almost a throw-in. But that doesn't matter, as just following the adventures of the title character is worth reading on it's own.
"Stick" tells the part of the life of it's main character, Earnest Stickley, right after being released from prison. Yes, he does witness a murder, and yes, people are after him for it, and yes, he does eventually get involved in a big score at the end, and yes, even this has a surprise twist. But it's what happens in between all this that I like.
You would think that seven years of hard time would make anyone sick of a life of crime. You would think he would avoid anything that would send him back to a life that he admits is a constant struggle for survival. But, as in his other books, a con is a con is a con. It's amusing that Stick doesn't even seem to conceive of the idea of a completely straight life, even though that's what he's declaring.
Sure, he gets a job as a chauffer, but it's just something to hold him as he scopes out other jobs. He claims to be coming to Florida to see his daughter, but it's quite a while into the story before he actually gets around to going to see her. Checking out the local crime scene is just a higher priority, yet you don't dislike the guy.
While this life is not for me, it does provide great escapism into a world where I can be part of it, but not have to pay the price.
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa5149270) out of 5 stars Leonard at his best Jan. 5 2001
By John Kaderich - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is a hard, fast-paced, joyride of a book. Leonard doesn't write many bad books, but occasionally he seems to run out of ideas. Not this time, though. If you're looking for the perfect busride/planeride/trainride reading, something to keep you absorbed for hours, pick this baby up.
JK
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa51496a8) out of 5 stars It Doesn't Get Any Better Than This Jan. 9 2004
By John Farrell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is Elmore Leonard at his finest. It's all here. The spare, clean prose, the dead-on dialogue, and the tight, strong, driven plot shot through with the fatalistic humor of the street. If you have never read an Elmore Leonard book this should be your first. And if you're an old fan, this book will showcase everything that's drawn you to read his other books, and whet your appetite for even more.
Much of what Leonard writes now days is throwaway. It's entertaining, but it won't last. Stick is different. My fearless prediction: In another 50 years Stick will be considered a classic, in much the way Damon Runyon's work is today. If I'm wrong, look me up and I'll buy you lunch.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa5149a68) out of 5 stars Solid Stuff from a Master Sept. 24 2005
By Christopher Loring Knowles - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Some might say that if you've read one Elmore Leonard crime yarn, you've read them all. Maybe there is an element of truth to this- slightly addled but well-meaning guy with a checkered past meets smart, sexy dame and pull a convulted scam on rich ne'er-do-wells. That's the essential plot to a dozen Leonard tomes, right? Well, the pleasure of Leonard's work is in the telling, and in watching the chinese puzzles his characters concoct unfold. Stick is no different than Rum Punch or Tishimongo Blues or Pagan Babies or Get Shorty in this regard. But his prose is so crisp, his plots so breathless and his characters so charming that you are so entertained along the way, the template becomes invisible. In fact, since Leonard fans know where he is going to take us, the template allows us to bask in his endlessly clever inventions and his inimitable tone. No one straddles whimsy and menace like Leonard, and only Hiassen and McBain do Florida sleaze as well.
11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa5149b4c) out of 5 stars Cruising On Attitude Dec 25 2005
By Bill Slocum - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Near the end of this 1983 novel, Ernest Stickley's prospective love interest tags him as "basically a straight-shooter, within your own frame of values," thus defining the protagonist of nearly every Leonard book I have read. There's a bit of the same-old formula here, which some may love more than me.

Of course, this isn't the first time Leonard has featured Stickley in a novel. He appeared a few years before in "Swag," as half of a robbery partnership. Now alone again, and out of prison, Stickley finds himself quickly on the wrong side of a Florida drug deal gone bad. Though wanted, Stickley wants something, too, the money he was promised for delivering the merchandise, and in a roundabout way that involves working as a chauffeur for a shady businessman, he sets about getting it.

"Swag" was a good book, with flashes of real brilliance. There you stayed for the ambiance and the dialogue but found yourself swept along by a plot that became more intricate and clever by the page. I think Leonard was after a similar effect here, only half succeeding. The central story involving the drug dealers grabs you, but then takes a back seat as Leonard puts Stickley and the reader inside a large estate along Biscayne Bay, where stock touting and mistress shuffling are S.O.P. under the shade of the acacia trees.

Leonard has a lot of fun introducing us to the goofy household where Stick lies low for a while. Colorful writing predominates as owner Barry Stam endlessly works the phones playing the market while trying to impress Stick with his street attitude, which Stick finds too forced by half. Stick finds Stam's wife and mistress more to his liking.

At one point, Stam introduces some of his druglord buddies to a movie producer who wants their financial backing for his latest picture. It's the book's funniest, most memorable moment, with the producer picking the wrong time for some ethnic humor as he flogs an unpromising film about a pair of undercover Miami cops doing battle with drug smugglers called "Shuck And Jive."

Leonard clearly sends up some choice moments he had dealing with obtuse Hollywood money men over the years. It's interesting also to note that the idea, however half-baked, does sound a lot like the TV series "Miami Vice," launched just a year after this book was published to great fanfare that seemed to spill over to Leonard's novels, starting with his 1985 breakout classic "Glitz."

But "Stick" never works as well in the crime fiction department. It's not bad, just weird in the wrong places. The villains don't seem to know why they want Stick dead, while Stick isn't looking for money or revenge as much as some ill-defined sense of honor, which is expressed in the various ways he takes to crushing one of the villain's cowboy hats. The result is a book cruising on attitude in lieu of a plot. I still don't get how Stick thought he was going to get away with his plan, which seems to fall together rather haphazardly.

"Stick" was later made into a Burt Reynolds movie, memorable only for one famous stunt which shows up here in far less spectacular form. It's par for the course with a book that promises more than it delivers.

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