OT: Donald Westlake is dead at 75

| 12 Comments

This is way off topic for PT, but Donald E. Westlake was one of my favorite ‘light’ fiction authors so I’m going to indulge myself for a moment. He wrote under a number of pseudonyms, but a series under his real name, the Dortmunder books, are my favorites. John Archibald Dortmunder was an orphan raised by the Bleeding Heart Sisters of Eternal Misery (or perhaps the Sisters of Our Lady of Perpetual Misery - I’ve forgotten) in Dead Indian, Illinois. He grew up to be a criminal mastermind in New York City whose plans, with one shining exception, never turned out quite the way they were supposed to. Dortmunder’s gang fumbled their way through New York for decades. Among other feats, Dortmunder, along with Andy Kelp (car thief and general handyman), Tiny Bulcher (strong arm man), Stan Murch (driver) and an assortment of lockmen, stole the same ruby emerald 5 times, stole a whole bank and then lost it in Long Island Sound, and (their one shining success) knocked over a major Las Vegas casino. His faithful companion May, a cashier at a supermarket, supported Dortmunder in the lean times between jobs. I’ll miss them and their meetings in the back room of the O.J.

Westlake died in Mexico (sub probably required) on New Year’s Eve.

12 Comments

We get one last Dortmunder novel later this year; “Get Real”, someone wants to make a reality show out of Dortmunder and the gang. I’ve already started reading them again. And I’ll throw in “Smoke” as well.

Oh no! I liked his books so much. And Dortmunder is such a great character.

Yup, I’ll accept Smoke into the canon. :)

Sad.

My wife has been a big fan of Westlake for about 30 years. She got me to read many of the Dortmunder books. Some of the funniest stories ever.

He will be missed.

Oh, NO ! He’s one of my favorite authors. This has been the worst year for authors I like.

Hail and farewell, Donald Westlake. Creator of Dortmunder, Andy Kelp, Stan Murch and my favorite of the crew: Tiny Bulcher, “the blast furnace that walks like a man.”

Thank you, Don. You will be missed.

IMO Donald Westlake was the last of the four best entertainment writers of the 20th century in English - Erle Gardner, Ed McBain, Laurence Sanders, Donald Westlake. I bought every book by each of the four, and now the last of the four is gone. There is no replacement in sight.

I loved reading his stuff. The only one who comes close is Carl Hiaasen.

Frank Schmidt said: I loved reading his stuff. The only one who comes close is Carl Hiaasen.

I was just composing my response to Mark Perakh’s “There is no replacement in sight.” when I saw you beat me to it. Second the motion - Hiaasen is a good read…and he really seems to care about the Everglades. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Hiaasen and http://www.carlhiaasen.com

Paul Burnett said:

Frank Schmidt said: I loved reading his stuff. The only one who comes close is Carl Hiaasen.

I was just composing my response to Mark Perakh’s “There is no replacement in sight.” when I saw you beat me to it. Second the motion - Hiaasen is a good read…and he really seems to care about the Everglades. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Hiaasen and http://www.carlhiaasen.com

While it always is a matter of taste, I like Hiaasen and have bought all of his books. There are others as well - for example Forsyth and Grisham are always entertaining, among the older generations’ authors Andrew Garve was quite good, I like some books by Steve Martini, and many others. By listing just four names I only evinced my personal preferences.

BTW, I’ll add Dancing Aztecs to the core canon, too. :)

I sat in the library today, rereading the short story Too Many Crooks, laughing out loud, not caring what people thought. Just perfect.

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This page contains a single entry by Richard B. Hoppe published on January 1, 2009 10:13 PM.

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