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3.69 of 5 stars 3.69  ·  rating details  ·  308 ratings  ·  31 reviews
Due to a foiled burglary in a high-tech lab doing research for cigarette manufacturers, Freddie Noon, the thief, is now invisible. This condition has clear-cut advantages for a man in Freddie's profession, but now everybody wants a glimpse of Freddie. But Freddie doesn't dare show his face, his shadow, anything. Because Freddie Noon has gotten a taste of invisibility--and ...more
Published April 11th 2001 by Mysterious Press (first published 1995)
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I noticed something really very interesting this time around, that maybe I noticed last time, but forgot.

When you open the book and start to read, you get a very nice succinct profile of your main protagonist in just a few pages--it's one of Westlake's specialties. But then, when you finish the novel, hundreds of eventful, funny, suspenseful, riveting, incredible pages later, there's a wonderful little echo.

Do this immediately upon finishing: flip the book back to the beginning and start it agai
A big tobacco firm, eager to find a suitable distraction in non-smoking-related cancers, has been quietly funding some melanoma research. It has developed some potions that have been vaguely plausible with mice, albeit turning them rather translucent, but they're not quite sure how to find human subjects… until Freddy Noon, a low-level petty thief, in Dortmunder-esque mould, happens to break into their lab. Some hi-jinks and mix-ups later, Noon finds himself not merely translucent, but entirely ...more
This was our first Donald Westlake, whose passing in 2008 left behind over 70 novels, mostly crime stories. “Smoke” is one of over a dozen the author lists as “Comic Crime Novels” – and indeed the story starts out as ironic and funny. Freddie Noon, a petty thief, is caught robbing a research lab by the two doctors who run it and live above it. Rather than call the cops, they make Freddie an unwilling subject of a treatment for melanoma they’ve been working on that so far has rendered everyday ki ...more
Vispār jau vilka uz divām zvaigznēm, tulkojums tiešām drausmīgs. Cilvēks ir gribējis labu, bet varbūt tomēr to nevajadzēja darīt cilvēkam, kas dzimis un dzīvojis amerikāņu english valodas pasaulē.
Sižetu gan arī gaidīju mazliet smalkāku, pārāk jau nu atgādina kādu LNT rādītu komēdiju, kur kaut kas notiek vienkārši tāpēc, lai būtu aizpildīts laiks un telpa, un par to varētu saņemt naudu.
Šķiet, ka pēc Sapņi par Babiloniju man vairs neviens noir romāns tā īsti nepatiks. Labi, Straits of Fortune man
There will never be a writer like Donald Westlake. I guess you could say that about every writer who dies, but I will miss him (along with Ed McBain and Tony Hillerman)more than most. This little paperback was just waiting for me at my favorite used bookstore. What a find! It is the last of his books in print (apart from the drawer novel that not surprisingly, was panned...that's WHY he didn't send it to a publisher) that I had not read. It was at the top of my Christmas list, but not any more. ...more
I got about 60 pages into it and finally just couldn't stomach anymore of Westlake's tone. The way he portrays characters is caustic and snide, makes me feel as if he really doesn't think much of his readers or humanity in general. His writing style ranged from abrasive to outright disgusting. I'm done.
Feb 11, 2014 Spiros rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone wondering how to pull off an impossible premise
I'm not sure if he wrote this as the result of losing a bet; it took Donald Westlake to adopt such a narratively untenable premise as a tale with an invisible protagonist and make it both plausible and funny.
Brooks Jones
Westlake is master of the humorous crime novel, and this little gem is no exception. The plot is centered around a small-time hustler named Freddie, who gets turned invisible in a heist gone wrong and finds out ways to use this new condition to his advantage. The descriptions of each character, body language, dialogue and action is hilarious and engaging. Recommended for fans of Westlake or anyone who enjoys snappy books about people who operate outside the realm of lawful respectability.
Mary Sue
Mar 13, 2009 Mary Sue rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mary Sue by: librarian
Perhaps I needed a break from tough guy detectives, flawed from a hard life (Harry Bosch, Dave Robecheaux, Thorn, etc.)Our antihero in Smoke is flawed too. He is a thief (with a loyal and smart girfriend) who inadvertantly becomes invisible. I hope he moves to a warm climate for the next book, as going around naked all the time may be a real problem in New York when its not summer. I liked the book, and I am surprised.
One of Donald E. Westlake best. Humorous and complex story.
Jon Ceresini
I thought the characters were great, the story was awesome, and the writing was impeccable. The ending just didn't do much for me
Donald Westlake just died on New Years, so I thought I would commemorate him by reading one of his books. I wish my local library had another one of his books. This one disappointed me. I just couldn't get behind the basic premise....
Luke Burrage
Started but didn't finish. I read it as a more modern take on invisible men stories, but it turned into a crime novel, and I find it hard to enjoy such a novel. The writing was great, but the way the story was going didn't grip me.
Denise M.
Sep 13, 2009 Denise M. marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
AKA: Alan Marshall, Alan Marsh, James Blue, Ben Christopher, Edwin West, John B. Allan, Curt Clark, Tucker Coe, P.N. Castor, Timothy J. Culver, J. Morgan Cunningham, Samuel Holt, Judson Jack Carmichael, Richard Stark, Donald E. Westlake
As usual Donald Westlake made me laugh out loud with an interesting story and some great characters.
After a couple of tries, we've decided not to read Westlake books that aren't part of the Dortmunder series. This was disappointing, and we haven't been able to make ourselves finish it.
Andrew Neal
This one's just fine. It's fluffy and fun, about a burglar who becomes an invisible man after being experimented upon by tobacco company scientists.
Westlake is one of my favorite authors. Have read much of what he has written. This was good, but not as good as the Dortmunder Series.
Michael Guillebeau
Classic Westlake. Wicked funny, great plot and characters. Easy to see why Elmore Leonard lists Westlake as a major influence.
Just as funny and creative as usual, but this story takes it to a higher level with an undercurrent of deep thoughts.
1995 non-series

Anyone who doesn't love this book just doesn't get me. I love it!
engaging characters & situations but invisibility poorly justified, 1 bad style lapse
Quirkily little story but kept me interested enough to read to the end.
Barbara Brien
The invisible man a la Westlake was a quite enjoyable read.
Makes a modern day invisible man humorous and believable.
David Harris
A fun, quick read. Not much more to say.
Dear God, this was a funny book!
funny, burglar turns invisible
A lot of fun to read.
Not his best effort.
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Donald E. Westlake (1933-2008) was one of the most prolific and talented authors of American crime fiction. He began his career in the late 1950's, churning out novels for pulp houses—often writing as many as four novels a year under various pseudonyms such as Richard Stark—but soon began publishing under his own name. His most well-known characters were John Dortmunder, an unlucky thief, and a ru ...more
More about Donald E. Westlake...
The Hot Rock (Dortmunder, #1) Bank Shot (Dortmunder, #2) The Ax What's The Worst That Could Happen? (Dortmunder, #9) What's So Funny? (Dortmunder, #14)

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