thefourthvine's Reviews > What's So Funny?

What's So Funny? by Donald E. Westlake
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's review
Jan 07, 2009

liked it
bookshelves: humor, mystery, kindle
Read in January, 2009

It's sort of hard to rate this one fairly; I understand that there's another Dortmunder book coming out in 2009, but this still feels like the end of an era, given Westlake's death. So there was something of a nostalgia factor at work here.

But, overall, this is just another middling Dortmunder novel - which means it's fun, yes, but not laugh-out-loud funny, the way some of the earlier novels are, and not as complex and devious as most of middle ones are.

Part of the problem is that the formula is starting to show. (No, part of the problem is that there is a formula; the early and middle books lacked that.) It's easy to predict the plot; you take threads A, B, and C, and if you've read other books in the series, you know exactly how it will end up. Part of the problem is that these last books just don't have the edge that the early ones did.

But still - Dortmunder and company are good companions for an afternoon, and this book is fun and engaging, if not exactly off the charts. I'd recommend it for people who have read all the books before Bad News and still aren't satisfied - and for anyone who is sad that with Westlake gone, Dortmunder is now a very limited commodity.
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03/30/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie If I'm going to start the Dortmunder books - they sound fun! - is there a place you recommend starting?

thefourthvine Steph wrote: "If I'm going to start the Dortmunder books - they sound fun! - is there a place you recommend starting?"

Yup! With this series, you should begin at the beginning, with The Hot Rock. It isn't the best book in the series, but it's good, and it introduces a lot of the characters and concepts. After that, it doesn't much matter what order you read things in (although it will help a little if you read things in order, because later books will refer to earlier ones, but it's not necessary). The series, along with my opinion of each, is:

The Hot Rock (1970) (Great!)

Bank Shot (1972) (Pretty good!

Jimmy the Kid (1974) (Bleh.)

Nobody's Perfect (1977) (Great!

Why Me? (1983) (<3!)

Good Behavior (1985) (Awesome, and also where a continuing minor character is introduced.)

Drowned Hopes (1990) (Excellent!)

Don't Ask (1993) (One of my favorites of the entire series.)

What's the Worst That Could Happen? (1996) (My single most favorite of the entire series. Another minor continuing character is introduced here.)

Bad News (2001) (Bleh.)

The Road to Ruin (2004) (Bleh.)

Watch Your Back! (2005) (Pretty good.)

What's So Funny? (2007) (Pretty good.)

Get Real (2009) (Not out yet.)

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