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Thieves' Dozen
Donald E. Westlake
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Thieves' Dozen (Dortmunder #12)

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  474 Ratings  ·  31 Reviews
Featuring Westlake's hapless hero John Dortmunder, this original compilation of short stories ties in to the author's latest Dortmunder hardcover, "The Road to Ruin."
Published April 1st 2004 by Warner Books (NY)
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It turns out that short stories about luckless professional thief John Dortmunder are just as enjoyable as his novel length adventures.

As the late Donald Westlake explains in a brief introduction, he never planned for Dortmunder to be more than the main character in a single novel, but that turned into a very successful series. Over the years, he’d have the occasional odd idea that wasn’t enough for a novel, and somehow found that he’d written enough short stories for a collection.

Most of these
Sep 13, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who finds the name "Diddums" ("it's Welsh") hysterically funny
Yes, I am desperate for Dortmunders: they are almost all out of print. It was with reservations that I desperately clutched at this slim volume when I chanced upon it at Aardvark; I couldn't imagine the brilliance that is Dortmunder translating into the short story format, since the glory of Dortmunder lies in the slow, inexorable build-up.
Needless to say, I was selling Westlake short; these stories represent a pure distillation of Dortmunder, including a story generated when some evil Hollywood
Jan 02, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I just love Dortmunder, or Diddums (it's Welsh), and all the gang. The regulars at OJs always make me laugh out loud. These stories are a smattering of Dortmunder, but still grand.

On a literary landscape filled with cunning criminal masterminds, Donald E. Westlake's John Dortmunder is in a league of his own. With no scam too outrageous to contemplate, and no plan too simple to go wrong, this quirky career thief has stolen everything from money buried under a reservoir to a ban
Aug 09, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dortmunder short stories - onto the next one, which I hope is a full novel this time.
Lori Hatch
May 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed this book, 12 short stories with truly funny off-beat humor.
Jan 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like all collections of short stories, Thieves' Dozen, (view spoiler) has it's ups and downs, but more ups than downs. Of the thieves' dozen, the ones that bear the most resemblance to the novels were the most enjoyable from my point of view. But these stories, even the best ones, are still only essence of Dortmunder. There are bare hints of the what-goes-around-comes-around plotting of the Dortmunder books and Dortmunder is forced to work shor ...more
Apr 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So I read this excellent piece a while back in Grantland about Donald Westlake, and then found this very persuasive reader's guide to his work, which I, at least, found pretty useful; we seem to share the same aesthetic. (I also discovered from my 30 minutes of research that Ethan Iverson, the piano player from the Bad Plus, a band I kind of like [semi-ironic jazz covers of prog classics], is in his spare time a noir scholar, which is heroic.) Anyway, so I made my way through a lot of Westlake. ...more
This is an interesting read, mostly on a meta level; it's fascinating to see how structurally different these stories are from Westlake's full-length Dortmunder books. Basically, this book is an excellent education in how to craft short stories as opposed to novels.

So on that level, the book is awesome. Unfortunately, a lot of the things I truly love about the Dortmunder series don't work as well in short form; there can't be any complicated plotting, for example, and the partners in crime mostl
Jun 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
The world cannot have too much of John Archibald Dortmunder, and these twelve short stories about our favourite thief did very nicely until the next full-length novel came out. Technically only 11 stories are about Dortmunder and his crooked cronies, because the 12th story is about ... um, someone else. Kinda. Mr. Westlake explains it all in the foreword. It is, however, the funniest of the 12, and caused my father to fall out bed laughing, and hurt himself. (It's OK, Don; he won't sue). Westlak ...more
Robert J. Sullivan
Westlake is off and running from the title on in this collection of eleven stories, ten featuring that criminal mastermind-of-ill-fortune John 'Didums' Dortmunder, and one with Dortmunder's doppelganger. (Really, did you expect Dortmunder to not shortchange you on a dozen?)

John, with and without various members of his gang, tries to steal a 600 pound bronze statue, a horse, a famous broach, among other portable items of value, breaks into a bank in the middle of a hostage crisis, and, novelty of
Philippe Escaffre
May 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Douze nouvelles drôles et bien troussées, avec pour héros John Dortmunder, multi-récidiviste du plan élaboré voué à l'échec...

'Je ne sais pas comment ça se passe pour les autres, mais moi, je suis incapable de penser à ce à quoi je suis censé penser. Les nouvelles de Dortmunder s'étaient succédées, sans être attendues, sans être particulièrement nécessaires, mais à partir du moment où je décidai que je devais en écrire une autre, plus aucune idée! J'avais franchi plus de la moitié du ruisseau, i
Jun 04, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this immediately after reading "The Empty Hours" by Ed McBain. Liked both of these books, but I think I prefer the short-form for stories with characters I am not familiar with or grown to love. Having read a bunch of Dortmunder books, I felt like most of these stories, while clever and funny, didn't capture the essence of Dortmunder which, besides being a good name for a cologne, is the idea that crime doesn't pay and if it does it isn't worth the time you spend trying to get paid.
Joan Lloyd
Nov 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This collection of short stories has been my introduction to Dortmunder, his thief/con man who's delightfully likeable and charming and give a giggle or two along the way. A great way to begin ventures into this loveable character. I intend to read more soon.
Mark Schlatter
Apr 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
A fun, light read. This is my first exposure to Westlake's more humorous work; almost everything else of his I've read has been Parker novels. I will probably pick up some Dortmunder stuff in the future.
Canard Frère
Compilation rapide à lire et divertissante de nouvelles tournant autour de Dortmunder. Un peu moins poissard que d'habitude, Westlake lui offre ici plusieurs occasions de retrouver le moral au gré d'intrigues sympathiques.
Sep 29, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
this original compilation of short stories ties in to Westlake's latest Dortmunder book.
I don't usually read short stories. In this case, the characters flow from story to story.
I like that continuity.
An easy to read volume.
wonderful comedy. great cold/flu book to read.
Denise M.
Sep 13, 2009 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 20, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, shortstories
a fun read for those who know Dortmunder; probably not the best way to get introduced to him
Feb 10, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jason and I love the Dortmunder series. These short stories did not disappoint! Full of "punny" one-liners and capers gone wrong. A fun read!
F Short stories Very funny stories featuring the bungling professional criminal, John Dortmunder, and his gang of inept associates.
Matthew Elmslie
Oct 24, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: funny, action-crime
Jan 24, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: quick-fun-reads
Truly fun read.
Mar 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
How did Dortmunder begin? Did you know there was a time that Dortmunder almost was no more? Read this book of 12 short stories and enjoy Donald Westlake all over again.
Sep 21, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't think I've read this one yet.
Oct 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: noirboiled
When you are done with the Dortmunder novels, you still have the Dortmunder short stories to read. Will you enjoy them? Of course. Would you trade them for one more novel? Of course.
Sep 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great collection of short stories by Donald Westlake. Highly recommended for all Dortmunder fans!!
Kathie Vankeuren
rated it it was amazing
Mar 27, 2012
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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)
  • 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)