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Mike Schilling

I'll miss Westlake too, more than Stark or the other half-dozen guys he used to be. I've been a fan of his since I was about eoght, when my Mom brought The Busy Body home from the library, saw that it wasn't the sort of serious mystery she had expected, and gave it to me, saying "It's supposed to be funny. You might like it."

By the way, Amazon shows one last Dortmunder novel to come out later this year.

Dan Yeager

Neither a Dortmunder nor a Stark, I also recommend "Kahawa".
Read this years ago and it's great fun.
I have a short stack of recently purchased Stark novels I now have to get to.

Dan Yeager

Neither a Dortmunder nor a Stark, I also recommend "Kahawa".
Read this years ago and it's great fun.
I have a short stack of recently purchased Stark novels I now have to get to.


Detectives Beyond Borders had a two-post obit. Here and here.

Gary Farber

I wrote my take here on the 1st. It was, in point of fact, a massacre of 13 writers: not two.

I'm willing to bet you're not familiar with his work which description of I linked to under "some of the lesser-known output."


And it's about not getting the breakfast you want in a diner.

You've just convinced me, with this excerpt, to read some WestStark. The punchline must be that the waitress gets pissed off that she didn't get a tip, to which Dortmunder points to his crotch, and says "Coins. In pocket."

Mike Schilling

For a fine example of what LG&M refer to as "aesthetic Stalinism", here's the only obit I've seen that thinks to worry about Westlake's politics.

James Wolcott

I miss both Donald Westlake and Richard Stark, and marvel at the productivity and resourcefulness of Westlake, who could also execute a non-genre novel like The Ax that's one of the darkest comedies and commentaries you could read about landing a managerial position (solution: eliminate the other candidates). At the risk of blasphemy, I always enjoyed his fiction more than Elmore Leonard's because I always felt (feel) that Leonard was working too hard to impress us with the "authentic ring" of the lowlife milieu he covered. But people tell me I've never read the "right" Elmore Leonard novels, so who knows.

Dan Leo

When I went for a family vacation over Christmas I brought "War and Peace", "Take a Girl Like You" by Kingsley Amis, and a Richard Stark novel I had already read.

I first found out about Richard Stark when I found "The Rare Coin Score" in a box of paperbacks in my aunt's cottage in Cape May. As I recall, at the end of the book Parker shoots a rat and then walks away. I loved it and and I've been a Stark fan ever since, never failing to look for the novels in any used book store I happen on (since most of the books are usually out of print). Good news though: the University of Chicago Press is gradually reprinting all the early books.

Kevin Wolf

I've only read a little Westlake (no Dortmunder) and two Starks. I really must do something about this. Not sure why I haven't already, since I liked them all.

If memory serves, Westlake wrote the screenplay for the Michael Caine movie, A Shock to the System, which is kind of a relative the his novel The Ax. I like the movie, too.


Westlake didn't adapt A Shock to the System; his most famous adaptation was of Jim Thompson's The Grifters, which earned Westlake an Oscar nomination, but his other screenplays included Cops and Robbers, The Stepfather, and a shared credit on the adaptation of Highsmith's Ripley Under Ground, made a few years ago but hard to find in the U.S.

Westlake was one of my favorite authors, and the Parker books were my favorite series of novels. I miss him terribly.


The script for A Shock to the System was actually by Andrew Klavan, the whiny conservative screenwriter who wrote that WSJ piece on how The Dark Knight is really a conservative movie and Bush is Batman. Westlake, he ain't.

Kevin Wolf

Wow. I'm not usually that far off. My memory is definitely slipping. Thanks, Bettencourt, for the correction. (BTW, saw The Stepfather recently and it's a neat little shocker.)


for the script of The Stepfather alone, he'd be remembered by me.

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