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Money for Nothing

3.61  ·  Rating Details ·  484 Ratings  ·  58 Reviews
When it comes to crime-the good, the bad, and the hilarious-nobody does it like Donald E. Westlake, the creator of the uproarious Dortmunder novels and the dark classic The Ax. Westlake's outrageous new thriller is all about something too good to be true...and too terrible to believe. Every month a $1000 check came to Josh Redmont, as regular as clockwork. Somewhere along ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published March 1st 2004 by Grand Central Publishing (first published 2003)
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Ethics pop quiz: Let’s say you started receiving a check for a $1000 every month from a company you never heard of. The check is valid. You had no idea why you were getting the money. You make a few efforts to contact the company but the address is incomplete and no one ever answers a phone number listed on the check. Would you go ahead and start depositing them? Really? You wouldn’t? Come on. It’s free money! Go ahead. What’s the worst that could happen? You’re going to do it? Good for you.

Mar 18, 2016 Bruce rated it really liked it
Another reminder why Westlake was such a master. He manages this plot of a regular guy getting entangled with international intrigue with his usual sly humor, snappy dialog, and clever plot turns.
Mar 08, 2015 Maddy rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2004-reads
Josh Redmont is just an average guy who loves his wife and son but finds himself in a terrible predicament because he didn't have the moral fiber to do the right thing seven years earlier. At that time, he began receiving monthly checks for $1,000 from "United States Agent". He did try to phone and write to notify them of their error, but the information provided in the mailing was incorrect. So he did the easy thing and just kept cashing the checks, $1,000 a month for seven years. Little does h ...more
Bruce Reid
Feb 05, 2009 Bruce Reid rated it liked it
The new year sadly rolled in with the loss of one of our best writers. Money for Nothing rambles a bit too much and takes too many unlikely turns to rank as topflight Westlake, but it proves again how effortless he could make the tough stuff seem. Even the opening premise (years of untraceable checks whose origins our hero has grown out of concerning himself with) has that marvelous stamp of familiarity pivoted slightly out of skew. And I'll sorely miss any chronicler of human nature observant a ...more
Westlake wrote both straight and comedy. This book was a comedy.....Once a month for the last seven years Josh Redmont would receive a check for $1000. Issued by something called "United States Agent" The checks followed him wherever he moved and he could not return them because there was no clear return address.. Josh had stopped thinking about the checks till one day he was approached by a stranger. The stranger says:"I am from United States Agent. You are now active."
Nov 12, 2009 Spiros rated it liked it
Recommends it for: anyone looking for a humorous story about domestic terrorism
Once again, fooled by packaging: since the cover of this book reminded me of the design of Westlake's Dortmunder books, I jumped to the conclusion (albeit, helped by the fact that this was the only Westlake on the shelves at St. Marks Bookstore which I hadn't read) that this was a Dortmunder novel. Consequently, I spent the first few chapters trying to figure out how Andy Kelp was going to insinuate himself into the procedings.
In the event, and once I got over my disappointment, I found this to
Jul 21, 2016 Carl rated it it was amazing
Well, it must be good because it keeps coming back to my mind. Wonderful premise, bright writing. I enjoyed it immensely and want to read again
Mar 10, 2015 Jon rated it really liked it
A very entertaining read by the late, lamented past master of these caper novels. A young New Yorker (Josh) receives a mysterious $1000 check from "U.S. Agent" with a return address (no number) of K Street, Washington DC, and a phone number that no one ever answers. He needs the money desperately, so he cashes the check. The next month he receives another. This goes on for 7 years, long past the time when an extra thousand a month means much to him. A premise that's hard to buy, you say, but Wes ...more
May 14, 2008 Terra rated it it was amazing
If a suspenseful page-turner is what you are looking for, then Money For Nothing definitely fits the description!! You will be hooked from page one. It's about a man who recieves a check in the mail every month without knowing why or where the money is coming from. Then one day he finds out just what he has to do since he accepted the money... and he wishes he never deposited the checks in his account. It's so good and you wish it never ends. This book should be made into a movie! Definite read.
Erik Grotz
A guy starts receiving $1000 checks every month from "US Agent" -- a source he cannot get a hold of, to either find out why, or return the checks. So he starts depositing them. This lasts a whopping seven years until the reason unfolds and he becomes 'activated' by foreign agents in a plot to kill a emissary. Good dialogue throughout, plot twists and turns, but as a big fan of Mr. Westlake this one was just okay.
Apr 07, 2015 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my first experience with Westlake and I picked up the audiobook at my library sort of by default - there weren't many "newer" titles on the shelf! I actually really enjoyed it. It's true that the character development was limited, but I liked that I never had a clue how this story (that everyone else has already described in detail, so I won't) was going to end or even what was coming next. It's pretty enjoyable to listen to a book with a plot I can't figure out.. and rare! It was an odd ...more
Nov 12, 2011 Derk rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Westlake is one of my favorite authors, especially the Dortmunder series. This book got off to a great start, but sagged a bit toward the end as it got more improbable. Still I enjoyed it.
An Odd1
Aug 30, 2011 An Odd1 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: action, fun, fan
"Money for Nothing" is by Donald Westlake. The author scares and gladdens simultaneously. What if you accepted money since your hungry student days, then suddenly found the cost was fatal, including to yourself?
Greedy spy Mr. Nimrin sought to pad his own pockets by adding false sleeper agents to the payroll, but his carelessness diverted earnings to the designated targets. For 64 months, Josh cashed $1000 cheques. Now a loving parent of a toddler, this office drone must work for terrorist assas
Feb 25, 2009 Drew rated it really liked it
The recent death of crime fiction pioneer Donald Westlake has been a clear reminder to me that I haven't read nearly enough of his stuff. This is a lot of why I picked up "Money For Nothing," just to begin familiarizing myself more thoroughly with his work. It was such an awesome book, though, that I ended up having more fun doing so than I ever could have foreseen.

"Money For Nothing" begins with a young man named Josh Redmont, who begins receiving $1000 checks in the mail every month apropos o
Apr 06, 2009 Nolan added it
First, in terms of a broad-brush perspective, this is just a delightful book. If you have some kind of spring break coming or perhaps a Memorial Day weekend where you’re going to be away and just want a fun, somewhat zany book to get you through perhaps the more boring parts of your weekend, this one just may do that for you.

Josh and Eve Redmont seem like decent young people who love one another deeply and who are devoted to their two-year-old son. Years before he was married, Josh used to visit
This was my first encounter with Donald Westlake writing under his own name (I'd previously read one of his Richard Stark novels) and I quite liked it; I suspect he and Elmore Leonard owe a lot to each other, though Westlake (at least here) is more comic and less violent than Leonard. Still, they're both mining that same vein of crime-comedy, a vein I find very appealing. In this one, NYC adman Josh Redmont suddenly finds himself "activated" as some kind of agent for a foreign power, an assignme ...more
Robert J. Sullivan
Jun 18, 2011 Robert J. Sullivan rated it liked it
osh Redmont works for an ad agency in Manhattan, is married, and has a young son. His life is typically American, with no secrets, no dark corners, except for one small item; once a month, he gets a check for $1000 from a source he doesn't know and can't trace. This little secret turns around and bites him, involving him in a murderous international plot where the stakes are his life and the lives of his family.

Westlake has a proven record for both serious noir thrillers and light comedies. This
Jay Tate
Jun 03, 2016 Jay Tate rated it liked it
Meh. 2.5 stars but rounded up as a lifetime achievement ranking for DEW.

This is kind of a silly book, but the lead character is likable. Not a lot of drama or suspense after the first few chapters. You know what will happen. I was expecting more comedy, and the setup calls for it. Instead, it's a medium-paced spy non-thriller.
Oct 03, 2010 Steve rated it liked it
This is NOT a Dortmunder novel.
Proving the old adage that there's no such thing as the windfall promised by the title, Westlake starts this funny divertissement with an intriguing premise: Mr. American Everyman, young, ambitious, decent, honorable husband and father, has been receiving a check for $1,000 once a month

It ll had to do while I wait for 4 more Dortmunders on hold.9-27-10

josh redmount is no john dormeyer.
i immediately missed the humor.
couldn't finish it. I skipped to the "doggerel in
Pamela Mclaren
Aug 28, 2015 Pamela Mclaren rated it really liked it
Shelves: mysteries, comedic
If you like a book that doesn't seem to be everything that you see and yet gives you a wild, thrilling ride. This is it. A young man mysteriously receives a $1,000 check at a time in his life when he can really use it and then receives a check every month for the next seven years. He tries to find out why he is getting them but has no luck, so its "Monday for Nothing," that is until a stranger comes to him and says "you're activated."

Suddenly his life is no longer his own and he has more than a
Aug 19, 2015 Christian rated it really liked it
Three-and-a-half. Entertaining comedic espionage thriller from D.E.W. Reminded me of his Grofield novels in a way. Very funny narration and the crackling dialogue I have come to expect from Westlake.
Anna Marie
Aug 25, 2016 Anna Marie rated it liked it
Shelves: 0-current-year
You should always question if you get money from an unknown company for an unknown reason. This is a story about Josh, a guy who doesn't question the checks he's been getting every month for years until it's really too late.
Dec 05, 2013 Hans rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another fast, entertaining Westlake story. One of my favorite lines is italicized (italics added by me) at the end of this paragraph:
When Tina swept back in, at about five-thirty, she was as radiant and invigorated as ever, though now burdened with any number of bright shopping bags. She dropped them on the coffee table in front of the lumpish Josh and on the sofa next to him, surrounding him with intimations of a more gladsome world. The names he could see on the shopping bags were Ferragamo,
Jan 25, 2012 Maura rated it it was ok
Shelves: action-adventure
I picked this up assuming it would be similar in tone to Westlake's Dortmunder series. Based on that assumption, it was sadly serious. If i hadn't had that assumption, i probably would have just accepted it as a basic thriller, rather than looking for something that simply wasn't going to be there. as it was, the assumption wasn't going anywhere, so i didn't enjoy this as much as i should have. i feel i should apologize to the author. :)
Blair Hodgkinson
Oct 19, 2014 Blair Hodgkinson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An entertaining romp with clever twists and humour.
May 20, 2008 Susan rated it really liked it
This book is a slow starter but gets better. It is actually a quick read for a spy-type thriller. The main character has been receiving checks for $1,000/month for seven years without knowing who sent them. When he finally finds out,it is not an answer he wanted to hear. The plot moves quickly once he finds out who the sender is. It seems a bit far-fetched as it goes along but overall it is a satisfying read.
Yves Boydens
Apr 26, 2015 Yves Boydens rated it liked it
Very fun to read, nice characters!
Sam Reaves
Aug 26, 2012 Sam Reaves rated it liked it
For seven years a young man receives mysterious checks in the mail for no apparent reason; after a token attempt to find out who's sending him the money, he just banks it and forgets about it. Then one day a stranger approaches and tells him, "You're now active." He's about to find out what he was paid for, and he's not going to like it. Classic Westlake premise and execution.
Brooks Jones
Sep 20, 2012 Brooks Jones rated it really liked it
Shelves: library-loans
Just as good as the Dortmunder books I've read, this one starts with an irresistible premise: a regular guy begins receiving a check for $1000 every month for no reason. Eventually, our hero gets dragged into the world of assassins, spies and AK-47s. As usual, Westlake blends suspense and violence with liberal dashes of humor, making this a very enjoyable read.
May 31, 2009 Mark rated it liked it
Probably one of the better opening chapters in the history of crime fiction, but overall this one is not Westlake at the top of his game. Great premise, but the story didn't move as quickly as Westlake's best do, and in some ways I felt this one didn't know if it wanted to be a comedy or a thriller. Still, even a middling Westlake is better than most . . .
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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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