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Why Me? (Dortmunder, #5)
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Why Me? (Dortmunder #5)

4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  605 ratings  ·  28 reviews
The Byzantine Fire: 90 carats of flawless ruby with great national and religious significance. It's the biggest heist of Dortmunder's career, making him the target of everyone from the FBI to the Turkish government. Now Dortmunder has to find a way to unsteal the heist of a lifetime. . . .
Mass Market Paperback, First Mysterious Press printing, 229 pages
Published August 1st 1994 by Mysterious Press (first published 1983)
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Apr 16, 2013 Mike rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone

Why Me is the fifth book in this series. I’ve read the first three in order, but couldn’t easily get a copy of the fourth novel, Nobody’s Perfect. That’s too bad as some of the later book’s characteristics (e.g. Andy Kelp always letting himself in to John & May’s apartment) must have been established then.

This book has faint echoes of the first one. A large and important gem is stolen, there are nations involved, Tiny reappears, and Dortmunder is in the middle of it all. But the resemblance
Upon finishing the Parker series, I began Dortmunder with a sense of desperate skepticism, and I have been pleasantly surprised. I was underwhelmed by Dortmunder #1 (The Hot Rock), but Dortmunder #2 (Bank Shot) was good enough to keep me going. Dortmunder #3 (Jimmy the Kid) was genius, which made mediocre Dortmunder #4 (Nobody’s Perfect) even more disappointing. Fortunately, Dortmunder #5 (Why Me?) is pretty great. The relationship between Dortmunder and his sidekick Andy Kelp deepens, which poi ...more
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Westlake is a comic crime master and he had such a good comic timing in this book. Its hard for me to laugh while reading a book but he made me laugh several times.

It was a very funny read but i didnt like the lack of heist planning, work in this book. Usually in Dortmunder books when the heist starts to go wrong that is the highlight. This time he jumped over heist part of the story to tell what happens afterwards.
Jason Reeser
Read some of my other Dortmunder reviews to get an idea of what I think of this superb and wacky set of books. I love 'em. And Why Me? is one of the lightest, silliest ones Westlake wrote. He was certainly in a screwy mood when he wrote this book. A short read, this one had me laughing so much I was reading bits and pieces of it to my wife, who doesn't really like these types of books, but she enjoyed the excerpts, laughing along with me.

And what more can you say about John Dortmunder's bad luc
Hilarious first chapter! And beyond! A petty thief named Dortmunder accidentally steals a precious jewel that had just been stolen by other thieves! And little does he know that not only does he have it, but his "world is filling up with police forces, intelligence agencies, guerrilla bands, assassination teams, religious fanatics, all pointed at that poor bastard's head"! The unwitting fool! Great characters and wonderful humor! And I loved all the rigamarole withe the telephones! A great read!
Jan 14, 2010 Spiros rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who has ever been irritated by someone else's answering machine
The hapless Dortmunder inadvertantly pulls off the biggest heist of his career, stealing the world's most valuable ruby from the safe of a podunk Long Island jeweler. Unfortunately, not only does he not realize what he's stolen: he soon has to face the wrath of the FBI, the NYPD (led by Chief Inspector Francis X. Mologna, pronounced "Maloney"), every criminal in the Five Boroughs, and the combined forces of half a dozen international terrorist organizations. Even more perilously, he has unwittin ...more
Jumped forward in this series because some of the older books were a bit hard to find. Now that I have found them, I cannot wait to read more. The Dortmunder series is absolutely hilarious and so well-written
Brooks Jones
Another hilarious installment in the Dortmunder series, in which he accidentally makes off with the biggest heist of his career: the Byzantine Fire, a huge ruby in the process of being returned to Turkey. Because the disappearance of this international treasure causes the cops in New York to suspect anyone who's ever been involved in theft, petty or otherwise, the criminal community vows to find the perp and turn him in. Of course, John Dortmunder gets caught in the middle of the mess but finds ...more
The narrator was excellent, but the story was so-so. I like the Dortmunder series though, so I'll keep listening to the audiobooks.
Simply put, this is his best Dortmunder novel!
Ah Westlake...he never disappoints me. Dortmunder is a wonder, and I always chuckle thinking I am actually rooting for the crook. But such a lovable one!

This one went to my brother, also a Dortmunder fan, while he was visiting from India. His internal clock was a little kaflooey. At 3 am the other morning, I was awakened by loud gafawing- It was my brother laughing out loud at whatever predicament Dortmunder currently found himself muddling through.
Shelley Barnow
A book in the Donald Westlake's Dortmunder series. Very funny hapless crime caper. Dated? The technology is certainly a bit, but even the opening answering machine scene is still laugh-out-loud funny. VULGARITY ALERT! If tongue-in-cheek stereotyping bothers you, you probably shouldn't pick this series up. Words like fag, wop, and yes, even the "n" word are applied lovingly across the board to Westlake's cast of characters.
I've read a couple of Dortmunder novels before, but this one was so funny, so thoroughly enjoyable from many angles that I've determined to read them regularly through the entire series, starting with the first. Every word, every paragraph, every character, every scene is truly funny, where you laugh out loud despite recognizing the cleverness and wit of the writing. A book to make you happy.
Canard Frère
5ème tome de Dortmunder, toujours embarqué dans des plans loser, cette fois-ci il se retrouve avec à ses trousses : tous les flics de New York, le FBI, les truands de toute la ville, quelques groupes extrémistes allumés et une poignée de services secrets pour faire bonne mesure.
Josh Hamacher
What could possibly go wrong when John Dortmunder robs a jewelry store? Plenty, when an extremely valuable ring has been stashed in that store and there are many parties interested in getting said ring back through any means necessary. Another very enjoyable Dortmunder tale.
It could only happen to master-thief John Dortmunder. He robs a pawn shop and scores the world's most valuable ruby. But it's a hot commodity by anyone's definition: this is the second time it's been stolen today.
its a little dortmunder.
once again, hapless is the theme.
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
Augustus Gump
An enjoyable romp, but I had hoped for more laughs. I think if the character of Dortmunder himself had been more developed, I would have found the book funnier - I tend to find character a richer source of laughs than plot.
I hadn't read this great Westlake book since it's first print run back in '83. A little dated re: technology but still a excellent effort by a master.
John Dortmunder, the incompetent criminal, while on a heist, accidentally steals a very valuable ring that many countries want. Very cute.
Stewart Sternberg
Clever and funny, Westlake's comedic timing is impeccable. This is perhaps one of my favorite in the Dortmunder and Kelp series.
Divertida, a pesar de la nefasta traducción y de las decenas de errores, erratas y faltas de ortografía y gramaticales.
Enjoyable. Light reading. No gore or violence.
Sixth title in the Dortmunder series. Very funny.
Dave Morris
Any Westlake Dortmunder is always a good read!
Poor Dortmunder... :)
Here, Yee!
: D
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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...

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)
  • 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 Road To Ruin (Dortmunder, #11)
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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“Zachary’s partner, a younger man with a moustache named Freedly— Well, no. The man was named Freedly. Zachary’s partner, a younger man named Freedly with a moustache— Zachary’s partner, a moustached younger man named Freedly— Freedly said, “Have you got the ring on you?” 0 likes
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