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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
40
Freaky Deaky
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on December 15, 2016
One of Leonard's best.
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on February 20, 2016
Read them all. Then he died. Pity.
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on March 21, 2016
Elmore Leonard is always a great read- Freaky Deaky was pure joy.
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on January 28, 2014
Interesting characters and witty dialogue. The action moves at a good pace and it's well written. I'm a big Elmore Leonard fan and this one didn't disappoint.
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on August 18, 2012
Elmore Leonard says Freaky Deaky is his best book but it isnt; his best book is VALDEZ IS COMING, a wonderful read.

Freaky Deaky reminds me of W.E.B.Griffin's formula superhero yarns.

My copy is going to Saint Pia Zadora Thrift Shop.
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on November 26, 2012
I thought I'd enjoy this a lot more than I did. Actually it was pretty dull to read: an effort rather than a joy.
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on May 20, 2004
If you're planning to extort money from a multi-millionaire by threatening to blow up his house (or else) you should probably make sure of at least 2 things. First, the man you're threatening should be smart enough to understand the threat. Second, your partner, who also happens to be the explosives expert, probably shouldn't be spending most of his spare time tripping on acid. Thus Elmore Leonard sets the scene for Freaky Deaky. It's his penchant for creating characters just a quarter-turn from normal that makes his stories a delight to read.
The story opens with a lunch-time meeting between Robin Abbott and Skip Gibbs, a couple of former student radicals from the 1960s and 70s. You get the impression pretty quickly that these two people are not exactly your salt of the earth types when they fondly remember their finest moment together as the time they bombed a government building. Robin smoothly leads the conversation around to how they were both captured for their roles in the bombing, the prison sentences they served and her thoughts as to who tipped the police off as to their identities and whereabouts. She's still not happy and is after revenge in the form of a restitution payout and she needs Skip's knowledge of explosives to execute her plan.
This introduces us to Woody and Ricks, as well as Woody's chauffeur, ex-Black Panther Donnell Lewis. Now, Woody is a multi-millionaire, having inherited his parent's fortune after his mother died. She didn't like Mark all that much and he only received a small endowment, much to his eternal frustration. Although Woody has all the money, he is also an alcoholic and his brain has deteriorated to the point where he is totally reliant on Mark and Donnell.
A man with a mind like Woody's coupled with his net worth sets him up as a major target for the less scrupulous people on earth and, wouldn't you know it, Mark and Donnell just happen to be those kinds of people. Their plotting and planning from within the Ricks mansion combined with Robin and Skip's activities ensure that Woody is in for a bumpy ride. The question is, will he even notice?
But wait, I haven't even mentioned the story's protagonist. Chris Mankowski is a police detective who has just transferred from the bomb squad to the sex crimes unit. By just, I mean it's his first day, when he gets dragged into the picture when a woman walks in to report that she has been raped by Woody Ricks. The fact that a former bomb squad detective just happens to be thrust into the midst of an impending bombing may seem too coincidental to accept, but it is in keeping with Leonard's sense of irony.
Chris is by far the most complete character in the story. We learn a lot about his background, his bad luck with women, his wonderfully charming relationship with his father and his passion for his job. He is also a dangerously insightful detective who reasons problems out with startling speed, although that occasionally results in him getting himself into more trouble than he counts on. In short, he is an easy protagonist to like and I found myself quietly cheering for him.
So, from the set up, it sounds as though the story is just a simple grab for cash, doesn't it? Well, it's a grab for cash all right, but it's far from simple. You see, Robin and Skip's plan involves setting up bombs around the Ricks' mansion and then threatening to set them off unless they are paid. The problem with the plan lies in the fact that Skip is tripping on acid half the time and his attention to detail is not what it could be, with unexpected results.
Elmore Leonard sets up a hectic storyline, bordering on manic, with each attempt to carry out the extortion quickly following the last. The fact that the bad guys are a mixture of insanity and incompetence provides a strong feeling of uncertainty as to who or what is going to be blown up. There are too many humorous moments to call this a thriller, but there is also too much drug-taking and violence to describe it as a light-hearted caper. I think "black comedy" is the most fitting description for Freaky Deaky.
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on June 30, 2001
This is the second Leonard book I've read (Get Shorty being the first) and I completed it in about a day. It was funny, poignant, dead on dialogue that runied by sense of timing when I went back to another book and the story was almost perfect. I agree with the other reviewer that the build-up was lost to a rather empty ending which kind of left everyone exactly where they'd begun. It was nice to see teh adversarial and then comraderie that emnerged between the cop, Chris and the caretaker, ex-Black Panther, wannabe criminal mastermind Donnell, that was something that rang so true I laughed as I realized how this story was like half a dozen people sitting at a round table and the focus shifting from person to person from place to place until people started changing chairs. In a way no one really shifted too far from who they had originally been---Ginger/Greta the savvy but long-term planning naive actress who may've or may have not been coerced into rape/sex with the totally mentally invalid Woody. Even she isn't quite sure what happened and what she allowed in the final analysis. I felt that it was a missed point that she didn't leap or connive her way into marrying Woody when he proposed, that would've been a kicker! Robin the vengeful Hippie is a hoot---I couldn't help but picture all of them in a movie and I think that someone like Susan Sarandon would nail RObin perfectly, a frailty, a harsh strength and cunning wrapped with a slight haze of stupidity. Donnell is of course Sam L. Jackson, Chris maybe a Bruce Willis and Ginger would've been a nice departure for Julia Roberts or perhaps a breakout role for Aisha?, Woody---Oliver Platt and Skip--I can't remember the actor's name, maybe the neighbor from Grace Under Fire? Leonard gets you into the mood of being a participant in his novels, the story twists and twists and twists until it makes absolutely insane sense and you realize that it's a lot like life. The only weak part of this was why Juicy Mouth killed Booker with Donnell (did he?)---it wa sliek this was a plot device to get Chris in but in the end it really had too much or too little to do with the central blackmail/murder/extortion story---that and the weak ending are the only reasons why this book isn't 5 stars.
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on February 5, 2005
Deadly. We have this couple, Robin and Skip, two 60's radicals used to be anti-establishment, anti-the man. How things changed. Now they're ex-convicts getting ready to score a huge payback on the wealthy family that originally snitched them out. Kaboom! Deadly. In comes Chris Mankowski. The Sexy Bomb Boy. He transfers from the Bomb Squad to the Sex Crimes Division for Detroit's Finest. His very first case involving a rape leads him to a gossamers web of Austin Powder, clothes pins, lots of copper wire, a big black dude named Juicy Mouth, Busby Berkley and the Banana Dance, bushels of grass and gallons of LSD, an explosive ending, and perhaps the coolest Elmore Leonard character ever in the ex-Black Panther, Donnell Lewis. He's just wicked nasty.

Why "Freaky Deaky" hasn't been made into a movie confounds--yes, confounds--me. How can "The Big Bounce" make it to theaters before "Freaky Deaky?" Even Don Cheadle is talking about making "Tishomingo Blues." Not cool. "Freaky Deaky" is a really good story, and it's about time that a big screen version of it gets made.
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on October 15, 2000
I must confess to having recently succumbed to a Leonard addiction. His style is so distinct, and so easy on the eye and ear, that other crime novelists seem flat and pale by comparison. 'Freaky Deaky' only exacerbated my condition. All the classic Leonard elements are in place: the sociopathic crim, the idiot offsider, the character who plans to get rich off the failings of other scammers, and, at the centre, a character too cool to be ruffled by anything. All these elements are realised in snappy dialogue and witty digressions on all manner of pop culture phenomena. The minor failing of 'Freaky Deaky', and one shared by many Leonard novels, is that the conclusion is not as strong as the lead-up demands: Leonard's novels sometimes seem to be all glorious wind-up and very little delivery. I also think that the typical super-cool Leonard hero is never as strongly drawn as the villains, or even as the love-interests Leonard supplies for him; it's hard to tell Leonard's heroes from one another, while the villains all stand out as individuals. But this is carping: Leonard is the best popular writer around.
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