Freaky Deaky
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Freaky Deaky

3.69 of 5 stars 3.69  ·  rating details  ·  2,971 ratings  ·  133 reviews
He used to be on the bomb squad, but it's not until he transfers out that Chris Mankowski really begins juggling with dynamite. Rape and revenge are just the tip of the iceberg in a twisty tale that brings Detroit's denizens to life -- and occasional death -- in all their seedy glory. Electrifying, explosive, and unexpected, this is Elmore Leonard at his suspenseful best.
Paperback, 448 pages
Published October 1st 2002 by HarperTorch (first published 1988)
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Oct 06, 2013 Still rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Both newcomers to Elmore Leonard & long time fans
Recommended to Still by: Purchased when it was originally published
Another excellent read as I continue my Elmore Leonard binge.

If you don't know the plot go over to Amazon for a quick recap.

It basically goes like this:
Pothead demolition expert & his former girlfriend -ex-cons having served time for their late 1960s "radical" activities- pair up to extort a couple of million dollars from a pair of millionaire brothers (both former classmates & fellow activists ...or least one of the brothers was).
Police detective recently transferred from the bomb squad...more
Freaky Deaky begins with three major characters who appear at first in pairs of alternating chapters: Chris Mankowski, a Detroit cop who is leaving the bomb squad for a different assignment; and Robin Abbott and Skip Gibbs, aging hippie radicals scheming to use their anarchic skills in more financially rewarding ways. Elmore Leonard manages these characters with remarkable skill, insinuating them into each other's lives while folding in other characters along the way. While Chris is likable thro...more
Been a while since my last Elmore Leonard whose much-lamented death a couple of months ago drove me to pick this one up from the bookshelf. Line by line, paragraph by paragraph, Dutch's prose still has no peer. Forget genre writers, even regular writers would kill for a style so vivid, so immediate. Freaky Deaky has that trademark style in spades, not a despised adverb in sight.

Unfortunately, the somewhat thin plot (small-time ex-hippie crooks trying to extort money out of a fat wasted milliona...more
Elmore Leonard is so cool.

Maybe you think you haven't heard of him, but I bet you have. Quentin Tarantino directed "Jackie Brown" in 1997 — the film is based on Leonard’s novel Rum Punch. “Out of Sight” (1998) with George Clooney and “Get Shorty” (1995) with John Travolta and Danny DeVito are based on Leonard’s works, as well.

Freaky Deaky is an older Leonard novel, circa 1988. I don’t think the guy has written a single bad book, though, and I just read this one, so I’ll tell you about it and the...more
This one now has a pleasing double-retro flavor, with being set in the '80s as its characters reflect back on the political protests and anarchic violence of the late '60s and '70s. While Leonard's treatment of Greta is definitely no model of current feminist thought about assault victims, the overall story still has plenty of punch.
Frank Ryan
Freaky Deaky

Well now – my introduction to the writing of an American legend. First and foremost, I enjoyed the book. Whenever I broke off reading it, I was dying to get back and see what was going to happen next. And with Leonard, you really don’t know what’s going to happen next. Even the characters do stupid things and then change their minds and do the opposite.

It’s funny, but in the best possible way, funny. Not cracking jokes all the time but through a humour that is implicit in the very ch...more
This was my first foray into the work of Elmore Leonard and this book came highly recommended to me. I'm normally not a huge fan of the crime drama but found myself being caught up in this story.

Though the page count is fairly long, Freaky Deaky is actually a pretty quick read, that is the story moves quickly. It did take me a chapter or two to get used to the style.

I also found myself giggling throughout the book. Leonard has a gift of making people human and having things go not quite accord...more
David Bonesteel
A trio of former 60s radicals, who were always more thrill-seeking opportunists than truly idealistic revolutionaries, orbit an alcoholic millionaire who seems to have only a handful of brain cells remaining. They are all scheming to get their hands on his money. Some of their schemes involve explosives, which leads to the accidental involvement of a former Bomb Squad officer and an aspiring starlet. Once Elmore Leonard gets these characters and their conflicting agendas bouncing off one another...more
Rex Fuller
Elmore Leonard said on occasion this was his favorite of the books he wrote. Although it is right up there near the top of those I have read, it does not quite rank as my favorite (Get Shorty). Still, this is a brilliant book. Diamond cutter dialogue (what else?); subtle character arcs; and laugh out loud humor. The action revolves around setting bombs for fun and profit: Booker hears his girlfiend's voice on the phone, "Are you sitting down?" He said, "I am. I have sat the fuck down. Now you go...more
One of the stronger Leonard books I have read. The typical Leonard elements are all here (double-and-triple-crosses, deadpan cops, criminals of varying degrees of intelligence and competence, a romantic subplot that just barely rises above the level of perfunctory), but what makes this book so enjoyable is the clear thematic through-line. All the characters in "Freaky Deaky" were radicals in the late '60's and early '70's. Now it's the Ronald Reagan era, and they've become burnouts, schemers, an...more
Barry Brierley
I can't devote the time necessary to review all the Elmore Leonard books I've read in my life, there are far too many - the man is a writing machine - and just about every single one has been terrific, state of the art. The New York Times has said he's "...the greatest living crime writer of our time...perhaps ever", and I think they underpraise him. Freaky Deaky is typical: great fun, fantastically true dialogue, unique characters you'd love to actually meet, and inventive plotting that drives...more

Some reviews excerpted to the opening pages:

“. . . Elmore Leonard may be the best writer of dialogue alive, “ USA Today.

“. . . The dialogue crackles with funny, dead-on street language. The characters jump off the pages with vitality,” New York Daily News.

“. . . he trips from the 60s to the 80s,” Cincinnati Post.

“. . . Leonard’s usual superb pacing, uncanny ear for patois . . . are here in full force,” Kirkus Reviews.

“BEARS THE SPECIAL LEONARD BRAND: Attention to technical detail, the “Voice” of...more
Only my second Elmore Leonard book, but i can already appreciate his characterisation and ability to write dialogue.

An interesting clash of characters emerges here, with some coincidences feeling a little too trite and forced to be believable.

However, suspending such practicalities, the story roars along, and we get a deeper insight into the psychological make up of each character.

An engrossing and enjoyable read.
David B
A trio of former 60s radicals, who were always more thrill-seeking opportunists than truly idealistic revolutionaries, orbit an alcoholic millionaire who seems to have only a handful of brain cells remaining. They are all scheming to get their hands on his money. Some of their schemes involve explosives, which leads to the accidental involvement of a former Bomb Squad officer and an aspiring starlet. Once Elmore Leonard gets these characters and their conflicting agendas bouncing off one another...more
Jan 20, 2010 Pa rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: those interested in suspense tales and the cultures of the 60's
A decent read about some ex-weathermen and their penchant for explosives. A decent look at the culture of the 60's and how it translates (or not) to contemporary society. Good character development. Actually would give this a 3.5
Little Icelander
Detroit, la città degli MC5 e di Iggy and the Stooges... L'ex cuore industriale degli States, che vede il Canada, appena al di là del fiume, come il luogo dove ci si diverte ora. Dal '68 fino ai primi settanta vi staziona una nutrita zoologia di contestatori dinamitardi, marxisti, maoisti, santoni, hippies, yippies, pantere nere, ogni sorta di rivoluzionario o aspirante tale. Quasi tutti vivono pericolosamente ai margini. Un gruppo di ex-fricchettoni disillusi e furfanteschi anima, a vent'anni d...more
Newton Tio Nitro
Um Mestre da Literatura de Crime e dos Diálogos que parecem tirados da vida real!

Esse é o meu primeiro livro do Elmore Leonard e fiquei impressionado! Elmore Leonard John Jr. (nascido em 11 de outubro de 1925) é um romancista e roteirista americano. Seus primeiros romances publicados na década de 1950 eram Westerns, mas Leonard passou a especializar-se em crime de ficção e suspense thrillers, muitos dos quais foram adaptados para filmes.

Conheci o Elmore através do Stephen King, que sempre o cit...more
Ambientato a Detroit in pieni anni '80, sembra una sceneggiatura pronta per Tarantino.

Protagonista è Chris Mankowsky, artificere della polizia che, in piena crisi d'identità professionale, chiede ed ottiene il trasferimento alla sezione crimini sessuali (anche se non gli dispiacerebbe lavorare alla omicidi).
Alcune coincidenze (benedette coincidenze, come faremmo se non ci foste voi?) lo portano a lavorare ad un caso che riguarda sia la omicidi che la crimini sessuali e che ha a che fare con dell...more
This is my first Elmore Leonard book. I know him mostly as the creator of the tv series Justified and you can definitely see the similarities between the likable yet somewhat corrupt cop Mankowski in this book and Justified's Raylan Givens. Same goes for the hapless criminals in the book and the show. Although the plot twists kept me turning the pages, and the dialogue is entertaining as promised, I had a hard time getting past the author's attitude towards women.
Mark Schlatter
My first Elmore Leonard and probably my last. Being a big fan of Donald Westlake (and especially the Parker novels), I was hoping that I would get a similar vibe from Leonard's work. There are the seemingly shifting allegiances and interesting characters (in this book, a bomb squad cop, a former Black Panther, and two sixties revolutionaries), but nothing gelled for me. The plot was slow to get moving, and then when everything was connected up, too fast to follow the complications.
Listened to the audio on Recorded Books. Love, love, love Frank Mueller the narrator. Well matched author, story, narrator--the very best. Great story of the sixties. Querky Elmore Leonard at his best. Starts out with a bang and keeps going. An excellent audio book for a long trip, made me stay in the driveway more nights than I care to admit. Its a good one, not great literature but great fun especially if you are an old hippie like I am.
Adam Wilson
For me, Freaky Deaky was a massive disappointment except for the hilarious opening chapter. After reading about the green-loving Booker’s encounter with ten sticks of dynamite, however, the book descended into a mess of script-like dialog and confusing plot. It read like a well-written Holywood movie full of explosions, bad language, and funny characters, but I don’t enjoy reading movies. If this was made into a movie I would probably enjoy it a lot more. The writing, although only slightly, rem...more
Jim Erekson
Thanks for the recommendation, Brent! Yes, this is what I was hoping for from Elmore Leonard. Much better than Djibouti. The characters and the dialog sucked me right in. I loved the part where he was poking fun at Mel Gibson's character from Lethal Weapon, but not in a vindictive way. On to Tishomingo Blues!

I also just read an excellent short story by Elmore Leonard in McSweeney's #10: Thrilling Tales (edited by Michael Chabon!)
Kurt Adam
In honor of Elmore Leonard, I decided to read the book that was supposedly his favorite, and I'm so glad I did. I've been a fan of Leonard for a long time, although I've not read a ton of his books. I'm not sure why that is. Each time I read one, I really enjoy it. His no-nonsense two-fisted style is a ton of fun, and his characters are always vividly drawn even as his prose cuts out all the fat. All that said, I still don't think about grabbing every book of his that I see and devouring it as I...more
I love Elmore Leonard. This was a typical Leonard story line - overlapping con games that somehow tied together in the long run. Great Leonard characters - some smart, some greedy, some not-so-smart, and some smart but too greedy for their own good.
Steven Kent
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 05, 2014 Eliana added it
Criminal suspense, usually told from the criminal's point of view. Leonard's criminal protagonista are among the most likeable of the genre! Funny, with excellent plot lines.
Trey Shiver
Despite the awful title, the book was pretty enjoyable. I found it in a used bookstore for pretty cheap and thought I'd give it a shot for beach reading. It was a success. The characters were straight out of an 80s cop movie, which is a compliment. I had fun reading it, but I probably won't ever need to revisit the book.

This was also my first Elmore Leonard novel, and while it was fun, I'm not really compelled to dig further into his oeuvre. I mean, it was good pulp fiction. If I need another l...more
Rog Harrison
This is the first Elmore Leonard book I ever read over twenty years ago. I must have really liked it at the time as I subsequently read as many of his crime books as I could. However as I read it for the second time none of it seemed familiar at all. It's a good enough read but I have have no idea why it impressed me so much over twenty years ago and why none of it stuck in my memory.
So fun! (Especially all the references to Southeast Michigan in 70s and 80s. A lot of the bars mentioned are still around.) A crime/comedy that's not normally on my reading lists, I picked this one up due to the author's recent award, and because a girl I knew growing up starred in the film adaptation (in 2012 TriBeCa). Can't wait to see it. A great story told from multiple points of view about ex-anarchists scheming a rich guy. All of the characters are interesting, believable, and the plot cle...more
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freaky deaky 5 23 May 02, 2012 02:04AM  
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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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“It doesn't have to make sense, it just has to sound like it does.” 34 likes
“You never know what somebody might tell you,' Chris said, 'when they think you're somebody else.” 7 likes
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