Stick by Elmore Leonard
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
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 dialogue and more double crossing than you can shake a stick it at.
Stick is the return engagement of Ernest Stickley, one of the loveable lowlifes from Swag. While Stick is a pretty slick character in the mold of most Elmore Leonard protagonists, he wasn't as interesting as Swag's other lead, Frank Ryan. Too bad Ryan died in prison from drinking moonshine.
The plot is pretty simple. Stick's supposed to help deliver some money, get's double crossed, and then spends a lot of his time looking over his shoulder and trying to get even. The supporting cast is a mixed bag, from Chucky, the man with the womanly hips, to Nestor, the Cuban drug dealer who practices Santeria, to Kyle McLaren, the lady financial wizard that Stick has his eye on.
Leonard's dialogue is the star of the show, as it normally is. I guess my main grip with Stick is that I felt like I've read it a few times before. It's was good but didn't stand out at all compared to the other Leonard's I've read. It's still a three star read though.
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