Wednesday, 2 November 2011

A Literary Moment, Missing Donald Westlake

Robert Redford did a great job 
portraying Dortmunder in 
"The Hot Rock", 1972.
Donald Westlake wrote, in my humble opinion, the funniest crime caper books in the history of caper books. Maybe the funniest books in the history of all books! My favourites are the “Dortmunder” series. Dortmunder is a small time crook doing the best he can to make a dishonest living.  Reading the dialogue of Dortmunder and his gang, you're transported to New York City, eavesdropping on very very funny conversations.

Every year I anxiously awaited Donald Westlake’s new caper book. Every year, I’d buy it as soon as it hit the shelves, dig in immediately, and was never disappointed. Unfortunately Westlake passed away on December 31, 2008, and the world lost a true original.

Westlake wrote in different styles under various names – Richard Stark, Tucker Coe, Samuel Holt, Edwin West…... He wrote screenplays, his books were made into films, and he won all kinds of awards. But, this isn’t a bio on Westlake. There are plenty all over the web. This is just a, well, I dunno. I just miss him, that’s all.

If you’ve never read Donald Westlake and you decide to dive in, you’re in for a treat.  I'll soon be starting to read them all over again.  Or maybe, one a year, just as if I was reading them for the first time.

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