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I can't give this three-and-a-half, which is how I would rate it, so I'm giving Westlake the benefit of the doubt and raising him to a four here. This is one of his earlier "caper" books, when his literary facility and smoothness was perhaps not as great as it would become but his madcap imagination was at fuller vent than he would later allow it. Published not long after his classic "Dancing Aztecs," this one follows the tale of a band of international bandits and con artists, handicapped by in ...more
This book is written in a way that makes it sound as if the narrator is talking to you, like he is telling you the story. I think the casual tone and laid back way that things are said add to the humor of the situation. I also think that it is one of the reasons that the book is so easy and quick to read. Westlake has a knack for a good comic crime. And he makes watching this international group of thieves stealing a castle a lot of fun. The humor does get almost slap stick at times with all the ...more
Westlake dedicated this book to "The guys and gals at the Internal Revenue Service" and it does read like a book whipped out to pay bills. A gang of 13 international thieves conspire to steal a castle in transit; treachery and language difficulties ensue. 17 characters, none deeper than an inch. Not one of his better works, but a quick entertaining read if you don't mind stereotypes.
Thoroughly enjoyable. My second Westlake (after A Spy in The Ointment, just as good), and I understand from some excellent reviews on here (thanks Tony) that these were his earlier and sillier efforts. Great, there's more and better Westlake to look forward to! His silliness and slapstick and capers are still intelligent and within the bounds of good taste. Love it.
Donald Westlake is one of my favorite writers. This isn't a life changing book, nor even one of his best, but as usual, I find that he consistently gave more than was necessary. It won't change the world, but it brought a smile to my face. That's good enough for me.
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
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 ...moreMore about Donald E. Westlake...