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Get Real (Dortmunder, #15)
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Get Real (Dortmunder #15)

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  656 ratings  ·  143 reviews
In Donald E. Westlake's classic caper novels, the bad get better, the good slide a bit, and Lord help anyone caught between a thief named John Dortmunder and the current object of his attention.

However, being caught red-handed is inevitable in Dortmunder's next production, when a TV producer convinces this thief and his merry gang to do a reality show that captures their
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Published July 17th 2009 by Grand Central Publishing (first published 2009)
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Kemper
I'm assuming that this is the last new Dortmunder book since it was published after Westlake's death, and it's a very funny reminder of what's great about Westlake's comic writing. And it makes me more determined than ever to avoid reality television by any means necessary.

Professional thief Dortmunder and his crew get an unlikely offer to star in a reality series where the planning and execution of a robbery will be televised. Dortmunder and his friends aren't wild about filming their illegal a
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F.R.
Even towards the end of his life, Westlake could write beautifully contemporary and very funny fiction.

Taking aim at such crap faux reality shows such as ‘The Simple Life’ or ‘The Hills’ (I doubt he’d have seen such nonsense at ‘The Only Way Is Essex’, which us British types have to put up with), he ruthlessly skewers both the conventions and the people behind such shows. (On this website, we probably think of him as splitting Jekyll and Hyde style between Donald Westlake and Richard Stark, but
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Merciful
Donald Westlake's death this year was one of the saddest bits of literary news to darken my viewscreen. No more Dortmunder novels? Oh man, I'm already going into withdrawals! I plan to savor every word of this last brilliantly-written highly-amusing source of joy.

If you've never read any of Westlake's ingenious novels about Dortmunder the burglar, you are in for such a treat. The only character I can think of who compares would be Fletch.

R.I.P. Donald, and thank you.
Jennifer (JC-S)
‘The rest of your future starts right here.’

"Dortmunder did not like to stand around on street corners. A slope-shouldered, glum-looking individual in clothing that hadn't been designed by anybody, he knew what he looked like when he stood for a while in one place on a street corner, and what he looked like was a person loitering with intent."

John Dortmunder, New York thief, finally has something to smile about. A television producer, Doug Fairkeep, has convinced him and his gang of thieves to s
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David
The career of John Dortmunder came to an unexpected end with the sudden death of Donald E. Westlake on December 31, 2008. The final novel in the series, Get Real, was published the following year, and it hits a fitting final note. Get Real’s premise, which is both silly and inspired (always a delicate balance in Westlake’s world), finds Dortmunder and crew as stars of a fledgling reality TV show. The novel’s ending (no real spoilers here) has Dortmunder and Andy Kelp walking off into a New York ...more
Tony
Westlake, Donald E. GET REAL. (2009). ****. West;ale passed away last year, but he left us with one more Dortmunder novel. Over the years we have come to love Dortmunder and his capers, along with the usual crew that comprised his gang. in this final installment, Dortmunder et al. are invited to participate in a reality show – fast-talked into the situation by a glib producer. The drama will consist of filming the crew planning and executing a heist. Each of the gang members will be paid $20,000 ...more
Mike
Apr 29, 2013 Mike rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone

And now, dear friends, it is time to say goodbye to John Dortmunder and his fine feathered friends (no, wait, I’m channeling Burgess Meredith!)

But it is true that Get Real is the last novel in this decades-long adventure, ending only with the Grim Reaper prying Mr. Westlake’s cold, stiff fingers from the keyboard. Although it is possible, I don’t see another author continuing this series at the behest of the publisher (and author’s estate). (There is a collection of short stories that I have yet
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Janet
The great Donald Westlake passed away last year, so fans necessarily approach this final caper of John Dortmunder & crew with some sorrow and perhaps raised/changed expectations. I know I wanted GET REAL to be a particularly hilarious & memorable entry in the series, with an all-out zany plot and visits with as many recurring characters as possible, just because it's the last and that's all we get. What it is, is consistent and worthy, but not that sort of all-out amazing that the unfort ...more
John Fiala
"Get Real" is the fifteenth and last of the Dortmunder novels, and was published after Westlake's death a few years ago. It, like the other Dortmunder novels, involves the work of a small gang of working class criminals who find something worth stealing, work out a foolproof plan to steal, and then run into ridiculous complications along the way. If you're a fan of the books then you're more then familiar with the characters: Dour John Dortmunder, who belongs in a 50's caper movie and distrusts ...more
Tim Niland
John Dortmunder and his gang of bumbling fellow thieves are back for one final adventure. When a reality TV producer hears about the gang he has a brain-wave - what if he filmed the gang planning and executing a real life heist, broadcast weekly on television - it could be a surefire blockbuster. Of course, Dortmunder and the gang aren't exactly thrilled by the idea of breaking the law on national television, but they wonder if it's possible to go along with the plan just long enough to get a re ...more
Darrenglass
Like many of the other readers of this book, I couldnt stop thinking the whole time about how this would be the final adventure of Dortmunder and his gang of thieves, as author Donald Westlake passed away last spring. I came a bit late to the Westlake game, only discovering him five or six years back, but there are very few authors as consistently entertaining as he is (at least for those of us who like goofy caper stories).

That said, I was probably willing to overlook some of the flaws of the n
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Susan
Sometimes it seems as though every legitimate profession under the sun has been used in a a reality show. But when producer Doug meets Murch's mother driving a cab, he decides that criminals have been sadly neglected.
Dortmunder and his gang are a little skeptical, but the money sounds good and Doug promises them that the legal problems will get solved. But Doug is concealing soething from Dortmunder's gang, and Dortunder and the gang, heaven knows, are concealing a lot from Doug and his bosses,
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Kathy Szydlo
The last of the Dortmunder gang books, which I have enjoyed over the years. This one has the gang hired to be on a reality TV show. Of course, they plan to steal much more than the producers are aware of. Westlake stuck with a core group on this heist, so I missed reading about the odd assortment of misfits and characters usually involved. I thought May's role, as Dortmunder's longtime faithful companion, was particularly underutilized. I wouldn't say this was one of the best about the gang, but ...more
Malia
Aug 31, 2009 Malia rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Malia by: Merciful
Crime does pay, I'm glad Dortmunder got what he wanted, I laughed all through this book...However Dortmunder was pretty quiet until the end.
The other characters were very entertaining.
From Lueen trying to be a battle axe, The regulars at oj's,bar
discussions are always funny and hilarious.
This book ended on a good note.
Donald E.Westlake passed away, and
he did an excellent job writing through the years, I will miss him.
But I plan on going back to read the other comedic books he wrote.
But alas Dor
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Linda
Dortmunder never fails. He's the brooding "leader" of a crime gang in New York which has elements of The Gang that Couldn't Shoot Straight and elements of serious criminality. Although they may fail in their original objective, they always succeed in some way and come out ahead. And their conversations and the overall writing style are hilarious. Whenever I feel down, I pick up a Dortmunder.

This time Stan's Mom, the cab driver, has a ride that produces a reality TV show. Upon hearing that her so
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Deepak
I really like Dortmunder series. The characters are well defined and interesting, and the stories always have some interesting quirks. These books are not the 'epic' blockbuster types, or jammed with existential issues troubling people which seems mandatory these days. Instead, some mundane, real-world kind of things are always going on, giving a nice edge to the main caper.

In this one, a 'Reality' TV company comes to know of Dortmunder and his band, and offers them a series - to commit a burgla
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Jule
Crime being described from the point of view of the criminal may be nothing new, but in here, the protagonist isn’t some crazy psycho, but a gang of rather harmless (non-violent!) and funny robbers. Only problem: they are broke. So the offer to star as a reality show comes in handy.

The plot is simple enough, and yet so funny… Not only are the gangster characters great, their interaction with the reality business people is really two opposite worlds clashing. And while the beginning is a lot lik
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Susan Katz
This being the last Dortmunder book forever, I read it as slowly as possible, savoring every bite. This one centers on reality tv, a great topic for Westlake's satirical wit, and features the most faithful members of the Dortmunder gang, all performing up to standard. It was a sad moment when I reached the end of the book and watched Dortmunder "[keep:] walking, on around the corner." My only consolation is that I'll wait for awhile, maybe a decade, and then read them all again from first to las ...more
Richard
Aug 20, 2009 Richard rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes humorous crooks; heist stories; New York.
Recommended to Richard by: I read all Mr. Westlake's work.
when you laugh out loud in public reading a book, strangers will come up to you and ask what you are reading. In the case of Donald E. Westlake it could be any of his Dortmunder stories. This one is especially funny.

The boys are all back and become reality TV stars and learn a lot about how those reality shows are made while they help themselves to almost anything that is not nailed down.

Set in New York City, the scenes are very familiar. The dialogue, characters and behavior are very believable
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B
The last book about the very funny Dortmunder gang in New York, since Donald Westlake died last year. This one ranks in the top three for me..I laughed so much. This time the gang is approached by a reality TV producer that would like to film them as they plan, then carry out one of their "seems easy" capers. As John Dortmunder says, "the part I don't get is the part where we don't go to jail." Lots of twists and turns as the gang try to outmaneuver the reality show people.
Ellen
You would think that reality tv and Dortmunder's gang would not mix. After all, recording one of the gang's trademark capers might leave one or two clues behind. However, Dortmunder is not one to say no to a challenge. While not quite the tour de farce that some of his earlier novels were (the caper is fairly pedestrian and the tv producers aren't very interesting), Westlake does deliver some ROTF moments. As always, the crooks are the sanest people in the room.
Scott
I'd never read any of the late Donald Westlake's Dortmunder books before the libraries' Just Desserts mystery discussion group selected Get Real for a recent monthly discussion. I loved it! What appeared, on the surface, to be an extremely spare writing style and simplistic descriptions actually turns out to be wholly appropriate for this cast of characters. Dortmunder is the "brains" behind a gang of thieves, whose capers inevitably run into serious difficulties. In Get Real, Dortmunder and his ...more
Steve
Westlake passed away last year, and it makes me feel blue as John Dortmunder after a hoist gone bad. Westlake started with the standard heist caper formula and transformed it into a slice of common humanity. His characters are warm but pragmatic. The drama comes from their desire to make a living doing the only thing they know how to do well. Westlake was a master to the end. If you've not met Dortmunder, you really should soon.
Karl
It's hard to believe this will be Westlake's and Dortmunder's last new book. (Review: as good as ever.) He wrote the first books I took out of the adult section at the local library, some 35 years ago, and has been a constant companion ever since. I miss you, Donald (Richard/Timothy/Samuel/...)!

I gather one early novel, called Memory, will be published by Hard Case Crime next year. One final book to look forward to ...
Steve
The last Dortmunder novel is fun reading, though not among the best (see Why Me). In this caper, the gang gets involved with some TV producers who want to do a reality tv show about them planning and carrying off a heist. The tension between the tv types and thieves is fun, as is the way the gang gets seduced by TV. A few laughs, and they will be sorely missed, but as I say not among the best.
Paula Hebert
this is the last of the late westlakes novels-and a dortmunder gang story is a perfect sendoff. anytime you can get your hands one a dortmunder story will be a goodtime. comedy capers with the quirkiest,most savvy, and strangly endearing bunch of crooks you'll ever find. light reading, but we all need some of that too.
Spiros
Apr 18, 2009 Spiros rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those wishing to bid farewell to Dortmunder
Sadly, I guess this is really the final Dortmunder novel; it is, by Westlake's exalted standards, rather Lenten fare. The plot lacks the typical twists and turns, and the satire devolves to a rather one note riff on reality television.
Uncharacteristically, the Gang succeeds, which is only fitting for a valedictory novel.
Lynn Kearney
3.5 Great premise! A reality show featuring Dortmunder and the OJ bar irregulars. A little disappointing in its development. Still, it's the last Westlake, so I savoured it. (Actually, V.C. Andrews and Ian Fleming still seem to be churning out the books decades after they've died so maybe there'll be more to come.)
Bill
What can I say. It's Westlake and it's Dortmunder. The gang is all here and for once, everything goes pretty much to plan. The worst thing about the book is it's the last. But when you reach the end, there is a moment that makes you believe Westlake knew this was his final Dortmunder book and it's bittersweet.
Missmath144
I love Donald Westlake. This final episode (posthumous) of the Dortmunder series is as delightful as the previous ones. This level of subtle humour can only be achieved by a master writer. But start with Hot Rock and go through the entire series.
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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
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Other Books in the Series

Dortmunder (1 - 10 of 15 books)
  • The Hot Rock (Dortmunder, #1)
  • Bank Shot (Dortmunder, #2)
  • Jimmy The Kid (Dortmunder, #3)
  • Nobody's Perfect (Dortmunder, #4)
  • Why Me? (Dortmunder, #5)
  • Good Behavior (Dortmunder, #6)
  • Drowned Hopes (Dortmunder, #7)
  • Don't Ask (Dortmunder, #8)
  • What's The Worst That Could Happen? (Dortmunder, #9)
  • Bad News (Dortmunder, #10)
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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