Bank Shot (Dortmunder, #2)
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Bank Shot (Dortmunder #2)

4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  1,159 ratings  ·  79 reviews
With the help of an unusual set of cronies, bank robber John Dortmunder puts a set of wheels under a trailer that just happens to be the temporary site of the Capitalists' & Immigrants' Trust and hauls it away. But when the safe won't open and the cops get close, Dortmunder realizes he's got to find a place to ditch the "bank".
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published April 1st 1972 by Simon & Schuster (first published 1972)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,618)
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Dan Schwent
Andy Kelp darkens Dortmunder's doorstep with a proposition: rob the Capitalists' and Immigrants' Trust bank. The bank is under renovation and business is currently being done out of a mobile home. Together with his usual crew of Murch, Murch's Mom, Kelp, and some newcomers, Dortmunder plans to make off with the entire bank, trailer and all. How hard could it be?

I should create a shelf called Why The Hell Isn't This Still in Print? Westlake's early Dortmunder books would be all over it. Bank Shot...more
Kemper
Dortmunder has had a long dry spell as far as opportunities to steal valuables, and the gloomy thief has been reduced to running a scam pretending to sell encyclopedias door-to-door. However, his friend Kelp has a nephew, Victor, who has an idea for a job. Victor has an obsession for old school pulp fiction and is a former FBI agent who had to leave the Bureau after trying to promote the idea that the feds needed a secret handshake.

Despite his over-excitement at working with an actual crew of pr...more
Book Concierge
Master criminal planner Dortmander is reduced to selling encyclopedias to the housewives living on Long Island when his friend Kelp tells him about a “sure thing.” Seems Kelp’s nephew Victor is a former FBI agent who has noticed a perfect opportunity – a local bank is undergoing major renovation and so operations have been temporarily moved to a mobile home in a nearby vacant lot. All they have to do is hitch the trailer to a truck and they can steal the entire bank!

Westlake created a wonderful...more
Mike
Apr 15, 2013 Mike rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone


Bank Shot is book number two in the adventures of John Dortmunder and friends. In one sense it is also the second caper they attempt. But in The Hot Rock they had to plan and execute six heists; each in a different place and often with the same goal. That book is longer both because of the complexity and the exposition to “meet” the gang. In this book, we only meet two new characters and the job is completely different.

Since I originally read the author in his Richard Stark/Parker alias, I was u...more
Jason Reeser
Not as funny as The Hot Rock, the first Dortmunder book, but a satisfyingly fun little book. And the end was fantastic. Westlake manages to keep hope alive for the thieves but always keeps an undercurrent of fatalistic despair that reminds you this will never work out for these guys. Loads of fun.
Johnny
Yes, I know this novel was the basis of a 1974 movie with George C. Scott. No, I hadn’t read it before. Yes, I sort of knew the premise of bank robbers who decided it was easier to steal an entire bank rather than merely rob it. The truth is, I had never actually seen a mobile home functioning as a bank until I moved to the Atlanta area. I certainly didn’t have confidence enough to put my money in the little bank in the mobile home, but I wouldn’t have expected anyone to steal the whole bank.

In...more
Marni
On the sudden and unexpected passing on Donald E. Westlake:

The Bank Shot was the first of many Donald Westlake books I have had the pleasure of reading. I can't even remember how many years ago that it was that I first read this, or how I came upon him in the first place. I don't think I was shelf browsing at the library, I think I bought it used, read it, and was hooked. And I would best that it was at least 25 years ago, so I have been reading Westlake intermittently for almost half my life.

We...more
Debra Daniels-zeller
I didn't know this story was also made into an old movie with George C. Scott but, I'm ordering it on Netflix now. I used to read Westlake's books in the 1990s, so when I saw this bargain on Kindle, I couldn't resist. Westlake books have never let me down because his humor is kind of snarky and his books are hilarious. I laughed out loud so often reading this book, people asked what I was reading. The book is a bit slow to get going and throughout the book it has some slow parts, but all the cha...more
Spiros
Nov 22, 2010 Spiros rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who doesn't mind laughing uncontolably on a cross-country airline flight
Donald Westlake's second Dortmunder novel: not quite rounded into vintage Dortmunder form, but some moments of pure over-the-top slapstick, particularly those involving the hapless Continental Detective Agency flatfoots in the towed mobile home/trailer. Many crooks could plan a bank robbery; only Dortmunder would be unlucky enough to have to work out how to steal a bank.
Eric_W
We all miss Donald Westlake, the creator of so many delightful books of which this is a fine example in the Dortmunder series. Dortmunder is a thief and con-man (he's been collecting deposits on encyclopedias when he runs into a little trouble). This time he's approached by his friend Kelp, who, with his his ex-FBI agent nephew, Victor, have the perfect bank robbery all lined up. It seems while a new branch bank building is being built, the bank has moved across the street to a mobile home. The...more
Susan Katz
Why steal just the money when you can steal the whole bank? In this outing, the Dortmunder gang steals a temporary bank housed in a mobile home. Of course they repaint it with water-soluble paint and of course it rains. Of course they hide it in the ashes of a burnt-out diner and of course the police drop by to order coffee and danish.
B
John Dortmunder, the incompetent criminal, schemes to steal a bank, the whole thing as it's a temporary mobile one. The usual problems and his crazy solutions ensue. Very funny.
Odis
One of the earliest and best in the hilarious Dortmunder series - very funny crooks!
Bob

This second installment of Donald E. Westlake's "Dortmunder" series combines familiar, bumbling criminals, a reluctant, curmudgeonly mastermind, and oblivious members of the constabulary, to lighthearted comedic effect. This is a Robert Redford caper movie in novel form, with Bugs Bunny dialogue, only slower and with less Mel Blanc-sy voices; in contrast, however, Robert Redford and Bugs Bunny always come out on top. Here, you get the feeling after each episode falters that John Dortmunder will...more
Rob
I liked Westlake a lot when I was a teenager. Returning to this recently, I feared disappointment. It starts slowly and could have used tighter editing (quite a few not particularly apt similes are in the book, along with some lines explaining the obvious), but once the story gets rolling, which takes about twenty pages, there are at least a handful of places where I laughed out loud and numerous others where I smirked along. Basically, pretty much all the jokes work, and it's a comedy crime sto...more
Bill
Most capers include toting guns into a bank, holding tellers at gun point and making a mad dash for the getaway car. In this Dortmunder outing, our anti-heroes skip all this pomp and circumstance by simply stealing the entire bank. What makes this particular book a good one is the involvement of family members and Dortmunder's girlfriend May.

Another hilarious character (and family member) is introduced who enjoys recording all the action onto a tape player. Since the caper is not as exciting in...more
Zora
The thing is...beneath Westlake being so very funny at so many obvious levels, he's being funny at levels it takes three readings to see. Here, it's in the character of Victor, the nephew who was fired from the FBI for suggesting a secret handshake ("it was political, right Victor?"), and who only joined the FBI because he loved the pulps, he loved spy stories, the radio serials, dime novels, all the fictions about the FBI. (He even makes his own radio serials...twenty years after radio drama di...more
Quentin Feduchin
"just the best dry wit.."
The Dortmunder Novels number at least six, though I haven't checked lately. This one is number two. The novels are basically about some minor criminals and Dortmunder himself plans the capers.
Dortmunder is good at it and his plans are detailed. Donald Westlake appears to write the stories quite seriously and with a dry realism that almost connects them to real life. One can imagine the quite accidental things that people do and the silly mess-ups they cause. In his dry w...more
Jacob Atkinson
The BRILLIANT heist in this is stealing a bank. Not robbing a bank but stealing the bank itself. This is hard to believe but it gets pulled off. Today it may be hard to believe that a bank would go under construction and move their safe and everything into a trailer, BUT this used to happen. I even remember the local bank back home doing this at some point in the early 80s.

One of the weakest of the series and it doesn't hold up by today's standards based on the fact that today nobody would beli...more
Chris Cosci
A quick crime story, with a kicker of an ending. I didn't find myself laughing as much as the first book in the Dortmunder series (The Hot Rock). However, the reading was easy. The story never really lagged. And there were definitely some amusing moments.

Some of the characters -- including Dortmunder -- seemed a little less likable here than in the first book. Nonetheless, there's enough here to warrant checking out later books in the series.
Lise Sirois
Dortmunder is himself as usual as his partners in crime. However, there is a new partner, nobody is trusting him, since he was working for the FBI before. Will they be able to rob the bank he wishes to ??
I love the Doprtmunder series, they're funny. This one is less funny but I did enjoy it. Murch and his taxi driver mother, and Kelp are still there. Nothing more to say than have fun.
Ryan
Never really read a crime comedy book before. Westlake proves with these Dortmunder books that he can write more than one type of book. A lot of the humor is dry. The characters play it straight, especially the lead character, who is grouchy and pissed off the entire time. I really enjoyed the few chapters that were from the perspective of the police.
William P.
If anything, I liked this Dortmunder novel better than the first, and I loved the first one. This was more tense, slightly less ridiculous, but no less well put together, still hilarious, and still gave me warm fuzzy feelings of good book at the end. I think Dortmunder may have replaced Parker as my favorite Westlake character. That's less impressive than it sounds, though, since while I enjoy reading Parker novels, there's not a lot of like about the guy. Dortmunder, on the other hand, is ever-...more
Wayne Klick
I did not know that Donald Westlake could be funny. Knowing this is good. Other Westlake stories that I have read are not amusing -- especially the books he wrote as Richard Stark. However, now that I think about it, The Comedy is Finished is about a comedian and has some funny lines, but I digress. Bank Shot does produce some smiles and chuckles. This is part of DW's Dortmunder series which is apparently his comic relief effort. Dortmunder is at the center of a small group of bumbling hoodlums,...more
Shane
I have to admit that I almost made a dreadful mistake this this book. After several chapters, I nearly put it down. Once the caper actually started, the story took off at a breakneck pace. Bank Shot brings us back in touch with Dortmunder, Kelp, Murch and introduces us to some new characters. These characters include Herman, a safe-cracker who is in a splinter group of a splinter group of a splinter group of the Black Panthers and Victor, Kelp's ex-FBI/Pulp writer wannabe. What happens when you...more
Mike Harper
This is a middling Dortmunder novel. I like the later ones better because of the "string" that accumulates from book to book. But for a real fan like me, this second Dortmunder is a must.
Nan Silvernail
Another hilarious heist from the Dortmunder gang.
In this one, they steal a bank.
No, not from a bank. They steal the WHOLE BANK!
You'll have to read to find out how.
Brooks Jones
Every time I read a Westlake novel, I'm amazed at the detail he includes about each heist. I bet he was a very mischievous, funny person. Thank goodness he left a sizable legacy in the form of his 100+ books. I plan to read every single one, since they are all (so far, anyway--I've read at least five) so damn enjoyable.
In Bank Shot, Dortmunder and the gang make off with an entire bank--albeit a temporary one in the form of a trailer. This one started out slow for me, but once it got going (about...more
John
Dortmunder is a pretty good thief. He puts together a brilliant plan to steal an entire bank. But, as good as he is, things still go wrong. As he says, he doesn't have all bad luck or all good luck, he just has some of each that balance each other out.

This book was pretty enjoyable. It reminded me of the Parker books- no fluff, not a lot of character development. People just go to work. The story takes on the personality of Dortmunder himself. But it was a fun, quick read with a unique take on a...more
Joel Ward
This one reminded me a bit of a literary version of an old Three Stooges short. Part caper, part screwball comedy, part slapstick. Enjoyable read. I'm looking forward to working my way through other Dortmunder novels.

Some offensive references in regards to gender and race, at times. Product of its era, in that respect.
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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) The Ax What's The Worst That Could Happen? (Dortmunder, #9) What's So Funny? (Dortmunder, #14) Drowned Hopes (Dortmunder, #7)

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