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Smoke

3.73  ·  Rating Details ·  387 Ratings  ·  44 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
Paperback, 439 pages
Published October 1st 1996 by Mysterious Press (first published 1995)
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(showing 1-30)
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James
Jul 21, 2009 James rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Sammcnair
May 10, 2017 Sammcnair rated it it was amazing
Would love to see a movie of this book. Great job.
Andy Alexis
Dec 22, 2016 Andy Alexis rated it really liked it
A charming, light-hearted crime novel about a two-bit thief who
Donna Davis
Sep 01, 2012 Donna Davis rated it it was amazing
Shelves: humorous, reviewed
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
Jerry
Dec 08, 2013 Jerry rated it liked it
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
Gaëlle
May 31, 2015 Gaëlle rated it liked it
When Freddie Noon, a petty thief, broke into a research facility with the hope to get himself some expensive objects to steal and sell, he gets much more than what he thought. He had no idea the scientists living there will convince him to experiment their formula and that he’ll become invisible.

I really like Freddie and Peg. He’s a good but modest thief who’s been a little naïve and has to live with the consequences of his foolishness and she’s well-intentioned and has a pretty realistic reacti
...more
Tony
Oct 19, 2014 Tony rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, caper, 2014, rws, reviewed
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
Matīss
Dec 27, 2013 Matīss rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american, crime, humor
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
...more
Brooks Jones
Jul 29, 2012 Brooks Jones rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library-loans
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.
Heronolen
Mar 15, 2015 Heronolen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: roman, humour


En trois mots, Westlake donne vie et surtout une profondeur incroyable à ses personnages.

On retrouve à nouveau une histoire mettant en scène un criminel : Freddie est un cambrioleur doué mais modeste. Tout aussi attachant que les autres héros de Westlake, il est accompagné de sa petite amie, la géniale Peg.

J'ai dévoré ce livre et l'humour, qui passe du noir au burlesque, de Westlake m'a à nouveau conquise.
Jrubino
May 15, 2015 Jrubino rated it it was ok
This novel works hard at being funny … yet just doesn’t hit the mark with me.

The main character is mildly interesting, but the surrounding cast is a mishmash of stereotypes or cardboard cutouts. The set up for the main plot point comes predictably and forced. Completely unbelievable even for this genre, and the lack of real humor flattens out any impact.

I suppose if the writing was crisper or funnier, it might be more enjoyable.
Mary Sue
Mar 13, 2009 Mary Sue rated it really liked it
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.
Anne
Apr 09, 2014 Anne rated it it was ok
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.
Diana Long
Jan 23, 2017 Diana Long rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: finished
This book was recommended to me by a friend so I decided to try it! Not sure how to describe the story, but there are laugh out loud parts and some sweet moments. This was an easy and enjoyable read, got me away from stories less uplifting. If you want to read a fun, not too serious book then try Westlakes books.
Spiros
Feb 04, 2014 Spiros rated it really liked it
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.
Denise M.
Sep 13, 2009 Denise M. marked it as to-read
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
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.
Christian
Mar 14, 2016 Christian rated it really liked it
Three and a half. This was such a different book from the rest of the D.E.W. books I have read. Typically, his books are marked by realistic, albeit kooky scenarios. This one is borderline science fiction, and also lacks the economy of words that I have come to expect of Westlake's work.
Marina Sharts
May 29, 2016 Marina Sharts rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Twists and Turns Galore

Donald Westlake has done it again. Smoke is funny, wry, and thoughtful store about petty crime vs.corporate crime Sometimes you just gotta root for the underdog.
Eric
Jan 20, 2009 Eric rated it did not like it
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....
David Harris
Feb 09, 2013 David Harris rated it liked it
A fun, quick read. Not much more to say.
Dawn
Aug 04, 2012 Dawn rated it it was amazing
Just as funny and creative as usual, but this story takes it to a higher level with an undercurrent of deep thoughts.
Althea
Jan 08, 2015 Althea rated it really liked it
As usual Donald Westlake made me laugh out loud with an interesting story and some great characters.
Paul Hunter
Dec 07, 2016 Paul Hunter rated it it was amazing
Witty, entertaining read.
William
Mar 07, 2012 William rated it liked it
Not his best effort.
Caleb
May 06, 2013 Caleb rated it really liked it
Fun stuff :)
Andrew Neal
Feb 18, 2010 Andrew Neal rated it liked it
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.
Michael Guillebeau
Jul 20, 2012 Michael Guillebeau rated it it was amazing
Classic Westlake. Wicked funny, great plot and characters. Easy to see why Elmore Leonard lists Westlake as a major influence.
Jeffrey
Dec 30, 2011 Jeffrey rated it liked it
Shelves: my-classics
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.
Heidi
Jun 26, 2009 Heidi rated it it was ok
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.
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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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