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Author Topic: My Bookmark  (Read 1480 times)

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Susan August

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My Bookmark
« on: November 13, 2006, 08:38:03 PM »

OK.  So, somewhere recently I found a reference to Donald Westlake.  Not sure if it was here, but I'm always game for new authors...new to me, that is.  I read The Hook, which I thought had lots of potential, since it was about a 'pact with the devil' between two authors.  It got my attention, and I read to the end, but the ending was almost predictable and not too satisfying.  I know that Westlake is a prolific author.  Should I read more of his work, or is this 'as good as it gets'?

Susan
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Elena

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Re: My Bookmark
« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2006, 11:24:28 PM »

Susan,
I'm highly addicted to his Dortmunder series.  They are caper stories with a reasonably regular cast of characters, the main one being Dortmunder who plans the action which then promptly goes wrong - everything goes wrong.  Westlake's imagination awes me.  And, he has the added bonus for me in that his books sound as good on tape as they read.  They are definitely light which is where I live.
Elena
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rschoedel

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Re: My Bookmark
« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2006, 04:38:42 PM »

Susan, Westlake also wrote a series under the pen name Richard Stark, in which the protagonist is a tough  arch-criminal named Parker.  The series  definitely falls into the category of hard-boiled if you like that -- I do, and I recommend it.

Interestingly, he stopped writing thi series aound 1980 and resumed around 2000.  His explanation was that "he had lost Stark's voice," or someting like that.

Bob S.
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JIM DOHERTY

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Re: My Bookmark
« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2006, 05:32:28 PM »

Susan,

Westlake is really quite a talent.  In fact, he's several.  As Bob pointed out, he's also known as "Richard Stark," the author of a series of gangster novels featuring a professional armed robber named Parker, who Westlake, in his Stark persona, described as "Dillinger mythologized into a machine."  The first book in the Parker series, The Hunter, has been filmed twice, once as Point Blank with Lee Marvin, and once as Payback with Mel Gibson ( a remake one critic described as "Blank and Pointless," but some Stark fans liked it quite a bit).

Under his own name, he's probably best known for comedic mysteries, one of which God Save the Mark, won the Edgar for Best Mystery Novel of 1967.  His most popular novels, under his own name, are the Dortmuder series, about a professional criminal whose bad luck makes for humorous situations.  The first Dortmuder book, The Hot Rock, actually was planned as a Parker novel, but as Westlake put it, "It kept trying to be funny," which is the one thing a Parker novel can never be.  That book, and the film made from it, were both nominated for Edgars in their respective categories.  A short story in the series, the name of which escapes me just now, won an Edgar in the short story category.

As "Tucker Coe," Westlake write a series about Mitch Tobin, an ex-cop with an unhappy past who hires out occasionally as an unlicensed PI.  It's very similar to the early entries in Lawrence Block's Matt Scudder series, and actually predates that series by several years.  Westlake dropped the series once the character started coming to terms with his past, because, once he did that, Westlake could think of no reason to continue writing about him.

He's also written novels under the names "Timothy J. Culver," "Curt Clark," and "Samuel Holt," each persona very different, with a different voice, a different style, and a different type of story to tell.

Westlake wrote a rather amusing article about his work that appeared in the first edition of Murder Ink, Dilys Winn's valentine to crime fiction, which purported to be a panel discussion between four very different writers, Westlake, Stark, Coe, and Culver.  At the end of the article Coe suddenly dropped dead, Westlake denied having anything to do with his death, and Stark, who hadn't had anything published in years at that point, robbed everyone at gunpoint.

My advice, keep trying.  Anyone that creative is bound to have written something you'll like.
« Last Edit: November 15, 2006, 05:34:13 PM by JIM DOHERTY »
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Susan August

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Re: My Bookmark
« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2006, 10:48:00 PM »

Seems like I might have randomly selected the one book that no one mentions.  I will try some of your suggestions here.

Thanks!

Susan
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Ingrid

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Re: My Bookmark
« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2006, 01:39:54 PM »

Don't like Westlake. I have a dim memory that I was bored.

Ingrid
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