Re: RARA-AVIS: Freaky Deaky

From: Roy Epstein (
Date: 19 Mar 2000

--- domer <> wrote:
> I finished "Freaky Deaky" a couple nights ago, and
> it was something of a
> letdown>
> > The plot still worked well enough and was
> seemed a bit tired, but,
> these days, it usually
> does.
> As for reading it as a hardboiled novel, my
> impression remains the same
> as in 1992; it's a terrific caper novel with
> violence, not quite light,
> but not hardboiled, either. Leonard's written much
> harder stuff than
> this, and I think, after his mainstream attempt with
> "Touch," "Freaky
> Deaky" might have been the start in the progression
> toward "Get Shorty"
> (the first Leonard I read, when it was new),
> "Maximum Bob," "Rum Punch"
> and his other '90s work, which has tended much more
> toward the comic
> caper subgenre than toward hardboiled, even if he's
> more violent and
> vulgar than Donald Westlake and less absurd than
> Carl Hiaasen.

Everybody has there own opinion of course(and sharing them all is part of the fun of this wonderful list) but it seems to me that everybody is being too hard on this novel. It's been about five years since I've read it and it still stands out in my mind as one of my two or three favorite Leonards. This is the one that had a perfect blend of his older more HB style and his slightly lighter comic touch which is way too much in evidence these days. I think it's a perfectly suitable choice for the reading list. It's also a good one for first time Leonard readers because it has a little of everything that makes him great. There was a strong balance here between strong, quirky characters,tough dialogue and a solid story. In some of his other works one of those elements would tend to overshadow the others. It also sticks out in my mind as one of the more entertaining of his works(and that's saying an awful lot). I still remember the ending vividly and I can't say that about many books that I read half a decade ago. Okay, so his earlier stuff is more hardboiled(and I love that stuff too)but there's no shame in this one. Even though his stuff is more comic these days, I would still argue that he's more HB than most writers out there. The dialogue is still unbeatable(well...maybe Ed McBain).

If we did another Leonard, I think we should go back to his earlier period(now that we've covered his middle period). I would suggest the wonderful SWAG.
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