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Stick

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  1,693 ratings  ·  67 reviews
In Stick, an ex-con trying to go straight finds himself tempted by a high stakes, sweet-revenge scam...and targeted by a psycho killer with a score to settle.
Hardcover, First Edition, 304 pages
Published 1983 by Arbor House (first published 1982)
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Dan Schwent
Fresh out of jail after the events of Swag, Ernest Stickley tries to go legit and winds up back in the thick of things once again. While lying low as a chaffeur, can Stick stay alive long enough to collect the $5,000 he's owed?

Stick is a by the numbers, run of the mill Elmore Leonard book. I can't imagine it's anyone's favorite Leonard. However, it is enjoyable in the same way all of Leonard's books are enjoyable. It contains all the Leonard hallmarks: lowlifes, broads with loose morals, slick d...more
Greg
If you were reading my reviews about six months ago, you may remember when I went through a phase of choosing books to read that I wanted to get rid of. Well, I'm doing it again. I have a pile of books on my floor that I generally don't want to read, but they are also books that I have some desire to read. Does this make sense? If books could be rated on a scale of -1 to 1, where -1 is a book I'd rather stick razor blades up my urethra than have to read, and 0 is total ambivalence and 1 is 'oh m...more
Kirk
It's rained like a motherfucker for four days straight during this July 4 so time I should have been putting into my tan and chlorine intake was wasted having nothing to do but read. I suppose I could have watched Law and Order: SVU reruns but there's a certain point when you can recite the Benson/Stabler banter down to the dramatic pause and that means it's time to rest the Mariska Hargitay obession, at least for a short time. So I unplugged the appliances and scrambled around the house for som...more
Ben Loory
"You getting along all right?"

"You mean are we making ends meet without any help from you? Not one cent in over seven years? Yes, thank you, we're doing just fine."

"I sent you a couple hundred from Jackson."

"You sent a hundred and eighty-five dollars. Mr. Wonderful."

"I'm going to help out," Stick said. "In fact"-- he dug out his wallet-- "I got paid this morning. I even got a raise. I thought I was going to get fired for something I did, he gave me a raise. So I can let you have... here's three
...more
Mark
I have this adage: If all else fails, read Elmore Leonard. If I'm at a loss on what to pick up next, I can always turn to Elmore Leonard for a guaranteed good read. He's a master of characterization and dialogue, and he makes it all look so easy.

Stick is no exception. The main character is a likeable anti-hero, who is just trying to get his life back on track after spending some years in Jackson, a prison in Michigan. A simple job, intended to earn Stick some spending money goes south, and he sp...more
Andrew
Every now and then I'll pick up an Elmore Leonard novel after months or years of not reading anything by him, and without fail, my reaction is always, "Why don't I read this guy's stuff more often?" I never really considered it before this book, my dozenth or so Leonard, but now that I have, I must credit Elmore Leonard with the distinction of being in my top 10 or so favorite authors. He's a brilliant wordsmith who is able to both keep it simple and stay out of the way of the story he's telling...more
Sandi
I've usually enjoyed the Leonard books set in Detroit much more than the ones set in Miami but this will rank among my favorites. Part of the reason was the return of Ernest Stickley who first appeared in Swag which is probably my all time favorite book by Elmore Leonard so far. Listened to the audio which was expertly read by the late Frank Muller.
[Redacted]
A good enough book, not a great one but it is an Elmore Leonard book. The characters and dialog are outstanding, the plot is good, it just didn't have that extra bit pushing it over the top.
DR
Everything readers love about Elmore Leonard is in STICK, the prototype for the bestsellers to follow. Great dialogue!--but nobody, including Stick, is as smart as they think they are.
Simon Wood
Man, I forgot how great the dialogue in an Elmore Leonard novel is. Just so effortless and cool and it never feels any less than absolutely real.
A very cool book. Funny, fast paced, clever - all of the above.
Like with Lee Child, or Philip K. Dick, I tend not to read any of Elmore Leonard's books in a row. Because they do all come from the same kind of place with the same types of characters pulling similar types of scams. Even though they're usually great, the formula can start to stick after a...more
Dan Trudeau
I first read Stick almost twenty years ago, remembered loving it, and had given it five stars here based off that. Recently, I was thinking back over Leonard's books and realized I barely remembered anything about it.

So here I am, having read it for the second time, with the book fresh in my mind. I wouldn't put it at five stars any more, but it's a solid four still.

Some Leonard books feature a heavy plot, with a lot going on, while others feature characters that pretty much hang out for most...more
Edmole
A Hard Man; Done hard time; Gets hard luck; Don't give fuck; Meets loud fools; Makes own rules; Meets good girls; Lays down tool; Owed five Gs; By drug Bs; Revenge? No; Levels up, slow.

(This is an Elmore Leonard set in 80s Miami (Biscayne Bay - where the Cuban gentlemen sleep all day), with big time fiscal hustlers, luded out dealers, sly ex-cons and dumb cowboys all in the mix. Elmore Leonard is a guarantee of hard-boiled quality, like a Marks and Spencer Egg Mayo Sandwich. Get yerself the meal...more
Holly Procida
I have recently read a total of three Elmore Leonard books. He is the master of dialogue. His books read like movie scripts and usually have movie scripts as a part of the plot somehow. I have noticed that about halfway through the books Elmore Leonard finally gets around to elaborating on the female characters usually regarding sexuality. This book particularly had some fun sex scenes. One thing that I don't love about these books is that they are usually told from the perspective of one bad gu...more
Chuck
Have you ever noticed all of the luxurious residential areas around Biscayne Bay or take a boat ride up the Intercoastal Waterway through Ft. Lauderdale and wondered, "Where does all the money come from?" I have. This tale looks at the dark underbelly of south Florida a/k/a the drug trade. The protagonist, Ernest Stickley (Stick), an ex con, is inadvertently drawn into a nest of rich but
otherwise smarmy characters and must outsmart them to extricate himself. Mr. Leonard is such a good story tell...more
Daryl
Riveting, action-packed, with colorful characters galore and a good plot line to boot. You won't want to put it down.
Angie
Quick read, good characters. A grittier Donald Westlake.
Mike Patterson
Great! Great! Great read! And I'm LOL, baby. Love it!
Mike Simmons
A solid read. A little slow but it picks up the pace later. Some exciting sections so overall the action is pretty good. Good tension with the Cuban drug lord. The Stick character was a little too smooth for me. All the women were magnetized to him, all his moves were successful, and everything works for him. Elmore Leonard is at his best with flawed characters, especially downright bad guys. Stick was too straight.
Annabelle
I loved this book. I have to admit that I favor women authors, but Leonard write with a mean pen. He is cryptic, funny and plots extremely well. Stick is newly out of prison, and is thrown into the drug trade in Florida. There is a rich financier, whose tough consultant Kyle, is the romantic interest. There is violence, switcheros, and a morally ambiguous ending. Really a great read.
Still
Recommended to new Elmore Leonard fans and old.
This was the third Elmore Leonard book I read after reading Unknown Man No. 89 and City Primeval.
Probably best enjoyed if you read Swag first.
I read most of early novels out of sequence and I've been a fan for over 30 years.
Bobby
One of my very favorite Leonard novels. We're reunited with Stick (of Swag fame) and introduced to one of Leonard's greatest cast of characters: Chucky Buck, Moke, Kyle, Barry Stam, and others come right off the page in full flesh and blood, as usual mostly thanks to Leonard's brilliant dialogue. The story itself is full of life and twists and turns throughout. Highly recommended!
Susan B
Really enjoyed this book. You immediately know it's Elmore Leonard - colorful, disturbing characters and weird situations. Stick, the main character, is not a good guy - not a bad guy. Just a guy trying to make it, but without much thought of how he's going to do it. He gets tangled up with drug dealers, the stock market and an unhappy ex-wife and deals with them all - almost!
Monica
The NYTimes called Stick "irressistibile". I've managed to resist it, and every one of Elmore Leonard's books, because there is so much to reax about art history and architecture that these books don't draw me in. I thought this book took place in Detroit so I see it might be Miami so what little appeal it might have had is diminishing.
Michael
This month I found myself on a cruise. I figured that Elmore Leonard would be perfect cruise reading, and I had this one sitting around from my last dive into Leonard's oeuvre.

If you like Leonard's crime novels, you'll like this one. Far from his best, but entertaining in the same way the others are.

Perfect for reading on a cruise.
Thomas
No matter the name of the main character, or the setting, it's all the same. Normally that would be a bad thing but not with Elmore Leonard. What happens next? Oh right, I know what happens next but don't care. Leonard is like Hemingway, but instead of tracking trout and herpes, you find currency and beach front cabanas. A fine day.
Andrew
This is the only Elmore Leonard book I've read, but it seems to have a lot of similar themes to the films I've seen based on his books. The characters are great, but overall the story seems very predictable. There isn't ever really a feeling of 'real' danger. An easy read, though.
Giles
Not quite as fulfilling as its predecessor it's still fun to catch up again with Ernest Stickley, now that he's out of jail and back in Florida.

As ever Leonard shows he is a master at dropping a wealth of fantastic characters into difficult situations and generating unusual results.
Edgar
No es por los personajes ni por la historia, en realidad. Es por Miami y los 70-80. Hombres con bigote y tías en bikini que fuman. El amanecer de la era moderna en la capital de los gilipollas con dinero. Todo mola a la manera de una película de grano grueso.
Joe
More fun from the assortment of folks malking their way around societys' fringe, finding each other and getting each other in even more trouble.
This is almost always true, but please, do NOT see the movie that has the same name as this one.
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Elmore John Leonard lived in Dallas, Oklahoma City and Memphis before settling in Detroit in 1935. After serving in the navy, he studied English literature at the University of Detroit where he entered a short story competition. His earliest published novels in the 1950s were westerns, but Leonard went on to specialize in crime fiction and suspense thrillers, many of which have been adapted into m...more
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“He saw Harvey and Edgar catch each other's eye as he looked off toward the strains of "Alley Cat," Jesus, hoping they'd rush it faster than the others or he'd have to get out of here. It was the only song he knew that made him want to break something.” 2 likes
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