The Hot Rock (Dortmunder #1)
John Dortmunder leaves jail with ten dollars, a train ticket, and nothing to make money on but his good name. Thankfully, his reputation goes far. No one plans a caper better than Dortmunder. His friend Kelp picks him up in a stolen Cadillac and drives him away from Sing-Sing, telling a story of a $500,000 em...more
The man has talent and brains but couldn’t locate an ounce of luck with x-ray vision and a GPS device. Best laid plans going to shit is the central premise of Donald Westlake’s light-hearted, entertaining tale of criminal hijinks gone awry...over and over and over again.
Not five minutes after Dortmunder gets released from his latest prison stint, he finds himself recruited by his...more
This edition of The Hot Rock had an introduction from the late Donald Westlake where he explained that he originally thought of the basic plot for this as one of his Parker crime novels he wrote as Richard Stark. However, he realized that the ultra-...more
Wow. I'd heard the Dortmunder books were good but I had no idea. Dortmunder and crew are a well-developed group, especially Murch, the getaway man who listens to the record of the Indy 500 in his spare time. Westlake creates a series of hilar...more
[casting the film?]
I won't even attempt Q1 as one of my great skills (to give it a positive twist) is never recognising actors from one movie to the next and there's no way I could begin to figure out who would be good at playing the characters from the book. Also I don't really visualise characters in books much, though occassionally I get thrown by references to hair colour or clothing and only then realise that I d...more
In the past couple of weeks I read a couple of the later Dortmunder novels, but quickly “froze” that group and ordered up the first few. Having read several of the Parker books, I expected to find good stories with interesting plots and so I did. Then, I picked up The Hot Rock and my mind went “Wow”!
I had just finished (at 1:30 AM the night before) the Julia Child book, “My Life in France”. Now I was inextricably linked to this novel. Good thing I had some spare time one my hands! (Actually I wa...more
Dortmunder ALWAYS has brilliantly well thought out plans (more brilliant than Parker because Dortmunder isn't about violence), they just always seem to go wrong. The craziest mix ups always lead to a sma...more
I decided to read this book because a friend rec...more
Generically, The Hot Rock (and presumably all of Westlake's Dortmunder novels - there are 14 of em) is a heist novel. A couple criminals get together to steal something of value. And while there's nothing original about the crime, both with regards to the item to be stole...more
‘The Hot Rock’, the first of the series, is an exuberantly amusing and highly intriguing crime caper. A gang of thieves are hired to steal a diamond, but after they’ve done it once are forced to do it again and again in increasingly more difficult circumstances. I particularly enjoyed the inspired raid on the lunati...more
Here, the first of the Dortmunder novels, you get five capers for the price of one, as the same emerald has to be stolen five times. It's an amusing and clever tale that zips along and the plot(s) are inventive enough to keep you guessing what will happen next.
This is the classic that introduced John Archibald Dortmunder, the thief whose capers never quite come off, as he and his convict friends plot to steal the fabulous Balaboma Emerald. They almost carry it off, but then the guy carrying the stone is picked up by the cops. . ..
From the Publisher
John Dortmunder, thief extraordinaire, wants nothing to do with the Balabomo Emerald. But when the African nation of Talabwo bids handsomely for h...more
Now that all Dortmunder books are available in audio, I decide...more
The book cycles once or twice too many, but otherwise is a fun and easy read. By cycle, I mean, they pull off a great heist to get an emerald--the same emerald over and over (just little things go wrong in each of the otherwise brilliant plans).
I'd seen the movie of this book some time ago, not realizing it was con...more
The book isn't nearly as good, which isn't to say it's bad. It's not bad at all. Westlake moves things along, keeping the story lean if not elegant, and he has a good ear for the absurdity of things. I suppose my biggest complaint was the in-between-ness of Dortmunder -- he's not really a bad guy, but sometim...more
Westlake is a master of the comic crime novel, and this book doesn't disappoint. The...more
One, this book was written in 1970, so its depiction of Africa and Africans doesn't stand the test of time. I guess it could be considered historically accurate, but there you go.
Two, the Kindle edition of this book is FULL of typographical errors -- obviously caused by scanning a printed copy of the book, using OCR, and then not doing a very good proofreading it. Shameful.
Donald Edwin Westlake was an American writer, with over a hundred novels and non-fiction books to his credit. He specialized in crime fiction, especially comic capers with an occasional for...more