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Bank Shot

(Dortmunder #2)

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  2,477 ratings  ·  178 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". ...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published April 1st 1972 by Simon & Schuster (first published 1972)
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Brendan Shea The Fletch novels by Gregory Mcdonald are hilarious. Fletch Won, Fletch Too, Fletch's Moxie. I really enjoyed them in the 'eighties. I can't speak to …moreThe Fletch novels by Gregory Mcdonald are hilarious. Fletch Won, Fletch Too, Fletch's Moxie. I really enjoyed them in the 'eighties. I can't speak to all the content as I read them so long ago, but they are surely hilarious.(less)
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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
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
Feb 07, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: x2018-19-season
The successful elements of the first novel are there, but an odd digression with a sexually nebulous new character is off-putting and the central Job itself, while just as screwball and madcap, suffers for its simplicity.
Apr 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, fiction, humor
Hard to believe this book was written 45 years ago, but the deadpan humor, the plot twists and turns and the lovable quirks of the Dortmunder crime gang stand up just as well as ever.

Dortmunder, the planner of his shifting bunch of career criminals, is suspicious from the start of one of his crony's nephews, Victor, a former FBI agent (thrown out for pushing his idea for a secret handshake) who has his eye on a bank job in Long Island. Except in this case, the bank is temporarily set up in a tra
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
Deb Jones
Jun 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: series, crime
This is another hilarious romp with John Dortmunder and his ring of thieves, er, friends. Dortmunder's friend, Kelp, comes to him with an idea for a high-paying heist, an idea brought to life by Kelp's nephew, a young man who parted company with the FBI at their request.

The plot is well-paced, the characters are interesting --there's nothing here not to like.

It isn't only the criminals who have idiosyncracies; law enforcement and other characters in the story demonstrate their own flawed thinkin
Jason Reeser
Dec 02, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Feb 29, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor, mysteries, kindle
This is a crime book (rather than a mystery). The idea was fun but Dortmunder didn't appeal to me as much as Bernie Rhodenbarr does.
Sep 09, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
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.

Ken Oder
Feb 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This story is hilarious. Westlake is a master of dry humor as well as laugh-out-loud hilarity. While a bank is being remodeled, it conducts business out of a large trailer. A couple of small-time thieves take a break from their usual con-game of selling non-existent encyclopedias to rob the bank. Their novel idea, however, is to steal the bank itself, the whole thing. They put together a team of engaging, eccentric characters who boost the trailer up on wheels and tow it away in the dark of nigh ...more
Dec 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this series!
Vintage Dortmunder. What if you tried stealing a bank instead of robbing the bank? Funny, crabby, and wise.
Jan 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.

Debra Daniels-zeller
Apr 05, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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
Oct 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fast paced, funny, well thought out, and smart. I hate when I read mystery or crime novels and I have a whole bunch of questions that are never addressed because it is easier (lazier) not to mention them then for the author to fill out all the details. That doesn't happen in this book. By having "the planner" as the MC of his books Westlake challenges himself, and meets that challenge, in having his character make sure every detail of their crime is going to be covered and in a way that could ac ...more
Nov 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  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.
Richard White
Not really a four star more like three, but what the hell, it's Don Westlake and Dortmunder so what's not to like. Sit back and enjoy. This was somewhat of a celebration for me being my 100th. book read this year. Westlake never dissapoints.
Jun 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I'm glad I found it in used hardback, because it gets a place of honor on my "favorites" bookshelf. Dortmunder, Kelp and Murch are back together for another one of Kelp's schemes, and things don't go much better for them this time around. Kelp's nephew, ex-FBI man and pulp-fiction loving Victor, is fantastic, she says excitedly. This was so much fun, and like with the other two Westlake novels I've read so far, I hated to see it end.

Also, I really appreciate and sort of marvel at the fact that
May 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Westlake is an amazingly consistent writer. The second Dortmunder novel continues in character as an ersatz, non violent Parker. The humor as shown in the first book, continues unabated in this one, and I presume the entire series. I'll be on my third Dortmunder soon - if not next.
Jul 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor
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
Mar 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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
D. B.
Jan 04, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The second Dortmunder book is a bit of a sophomore slump, as Westlake focuses far too much on the quirkiness of his new characters--Andy Kelp's pulp-obsessed ex-FBI agent nephew, Victor, and Black Power con artist Herman X--and far too little on anything else. This probably would have been fine if either of these new characters were more than one-joke goofballs. There are occasional funny gags--I particularly enjoyed Herman X's fancy dinner consisting only of foods that have "black" in the name- ...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.
Dec 06, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the earliest and best in the hilarious Dortmunder series - very funny crooks!
Jan 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Dec 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
How to steal a bank
step one: wheels, then... you know what?
Don't even bother.
Think of it as an opportunity to find out what would have happened if the Keystone Cops had turned to crime.
Mal Warwick
Jan 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dumb criminals populate some of the funniest novels ever written. Jimmy Breslin's 1969 bestseller, The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight, became a film two years later starring Robert De Niro and Jerry Orbach. Many of Elmore Leonard's books feature criminals who give new meaning to the word stupid, and many have been adapted for film and television. More recently, Timothy Hallinan's Junior Bender series and Carl Hiaasen's Florida tales demonstrate the length to which some criminals will go to de ...more
Not quite as LOLarious as The Hot Rock, but quite amusing nonetheless. This time around, the gang has changed somewhat: we have the addition of Kelp's nephew, Victor, a former FBI man who seems to want to live in a 1930s noir pulp fiction novel; and Herman X, a radical black of indeterminate stripe who replaces Chefwick as the lockman. I was quite sad to see Chefwick go, because his Pops-like character was an absolute delight in the first book. In addition to the men, there are now two ladies on ...more
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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

Other books in the series

Dortmunder (1 - 10 of 15 books)
  • The Hot Rock (Dortmunder, #1)
  • Jimmy The Kid (Dortmunder, #3)
  • Nobody's Perfect (Dortmunder, #4)
  • Why Me? (Dortmunder, #5)
  • 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)

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