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52 Pickup Mass Market Paperback – July 30, 2002

70 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Probably no one knows this nation's rogues, bent cops, and sleazebags better than Elmore Leonard."
-- Newsday --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

Detroit businessman Harry Mitchell had had only one affair in his twenty-two years of happy matrimony. Unfortunately someone caught his indiscretion on film and now wants Harry to fork over one hundred grand to keep his infidelity a secret. And if Harry doesn't pay up, the blackmailer and his associates plan to press a lot harder -- up to and including homicide, if necessary. But the psychos picked the wrong pigeon for their murderous scam. Because Harry Mitchell doesn't get mad...he gets even.


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: HarTorch (July 30, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060083999
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060083991
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 3.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #439,038 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Elmore Leonard wrote forty-five novels and nearly as many western and crime short stories across his highly successful career that spanned more than six decades. Some of his bestsellers include Road Dogs, Up in Honey's Room, The Hot Kid, Mr. Paradise, Tishomingo Blues, and the critically acclaimed collection of short stories Fire in the Hole. Many of his books have been made into movies, including Get Shorty, Out of Sight, and Rum Punch, which became Quentin Tarantino's Jackie Brown. Justified, the hit series from FX, is based on Leonard's character Raylan Givens, who appears in Riding the Rap, Pronto, Raylan and the short story "Fire in the Hole". He was a recipient of the National Book Foundation's Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, the Lifetime Achievement Award from PEN USA, and the Grand Master Award of the Mystery Writers of America. He was known to many as the 'Dickens of Detroit' and was a long-time resident of the Detroit area.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Thriller Lover VINE VOICE on March 25, 2007
Format: Paperback
52 PICK UP is, like all of Elmore Leonard's novels, very well written. This book was originally written in the early 1970s, but holds up very well. With a few minor adjustments, it could take place in modern times.

The story essentially deals with a blackmail plot against an adulterous businessman in Detroit. The first half, which is very strong, shows how the businessman is blackmailed, and how he initially responds. The second half, which is far weaker, deals with how the businessman decides to strike back and take justice into his own hands.

The second half of 52-PICK UP is something of a letdown, because it is not particularly believable. Leonard sets up a great, realistic story in the first half, only to resolve the story with an "action movie" type conclusion that requires a major suspension of disbelief.

This novel is further hampered by the absence of any likable characters, with the exception of the wife of the protagonist. Many of the players in this book act in a venal, brutal manner toward one another. I understand that Leonard is trying to be dark and gritty, but the non-stop nastiness does get repetitious and tiresome after a while. This novel lacks the humor of Elmore Leonard's later work.

52 PICK UP is a decent early effort, but I'd recommend trying some of Leonard's later crime books first, or one of his westerns.
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17 of 22 people found the following review helpful By The Gooch on June 10, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
How does one go about judging a suspense novel? The easiest criteria is probably the level of difficulty you have in putting the book down because of how heavily you get hooked into the plot. By this standard, Elmore Leonard's '52 Pickup' was a great novel. I read the entire 300+ pages in two sittings, which could have easily been condensed into one had I not forced myself to put it down the first time knowing I needed something to read on a 4-hour flight the next day. Leonard writes great characters, even better dialogue, and creates a thrilling cat-and-mouse game where the hero and villains are constantly gaining and losing the upper hand against each other. Watching the hero of this novel, Harry Mitchell, struggle to balance running his successful business amidst the threat of a union slowdown, reconciling his marriage after confessing to his ill-advised affair, and dealing with three thugs who are trying to extort large sums of money from him, made for some very entertaining reading.
There is another standard for judging a suspense novel that I found '52 Pickup' wasn't as successful at, which is the level of believability. The problem I had with this novel was that for the ending to work required that the respective IQ's of the three main villains had to abruptly drop about 100 points each. I just found it odd that three guys who so expertly planned their crimes in the early portion of the novel would suddenly become so gullible later in the same book. I'm not saying that Mitchell's method of dealing with his extortionists was completely unrealistic, just that I thought everything sort of fell into place too easily. In particular, I found it hard to believe that a criminal as intelligent as Alan Raimy would have been so careless in the final scene of the book.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By suetonius on September 25, 2002
Format: Paperback
I am a fan of Elmore Leonard's and have been looking for this book for a long time. I was very glad to see it finally back in print. The book was written in the early 70's before Leonard became the star that he is today. Despite that it has the same Elmore Leonard feeling of recent hits. There are shady characters intertwined with flawed good people in a plot that is always exciting while remaining plausible. In this case the protagonist Mitch is a modestly successful Detroit businessman who has an affair with a stripper. The stripper has some lowlife friends who blackmail Mitchell, threatening to reveal the affair to his wife. When Mitchell refuses to pay, the blackmailers up the ante by killing the girl and convincing him that he could be framed for the murder. Mitchell is a combat veteran; he takes matters into his own hands and the bad guys get their comeuppance. The Ann Margaret/Roy Scheider movie was quite faithful to the novel with the exception of changing the setting to Los Angeles. Ann Margaret especially captures the aging but still very attractive and sexy wife character. I have read that Leonard writes his books with suitability for movie adaptation in mind including having certain actors in mind for the main characters. Many of the movies have screenplays that are taken word-for-word from the novel.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By S. Harris on March 28, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This was a 5 star thriller that fell apart at the end. 52 Pickup was written in the early 70s, so you have Leonard just as things are really starting to roll for him. Great dialogue, great characters, with crime, adultery, and porn spicing the stew. It's also one of Leonard's most brutal novels. There is one murder that is just shocking, but there is also the suggestion of sodomized rape as part of a kidnapping. You really hate the bad guys in this one. The hero, Harry Mitchell, is standard flawed good guy stuff. He's doing a slow burn while dealing with his problem -- which is his own doing, a twist for Leonard fans. The ramifications of this problem, Harry's adultery, and how it touches (and ends!)so many lives is the effective subtext of the novel. The exchanges between Harry and Barbara, Mitchell's wife, are a good showcase for those that appreciate Leonard's mastery of dialogue. But what makes them a bit different than other Leonard exchanges, is that the topic is adultery, and how a married couple tries to deal with betrayal and damaged love.
The downside: the ending. It's not just that it's something of a disappointing demise for the main bad guy. (You'd like to see Harry do something with drills and blowtorches.) No, the ending is just clumsy and from a writing view point, and not well executed. And, perhaps worse, just not believable. The exchange (or the obviously ironic "pickup" or payoff), is so clunky, that no bad guy, especially a Leonard bad guy, would of been fooled. But maybe that's the point, there is no neat package of an ending, since Harry's "mistake" was the first domino. He will have to live with the damage he has caused, especially to his wife and his deal lover the rest of his life.
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