Tuesday 17 August 2010

Westlake Score: Why Me by Donald E. Westlake

Not to tempt fate or anything, but I should have a few Westlake-related posts again this week, both on a Dortmunder and Parker tip. 'Course, now I've stated that I'll doubtless be foiled by the vagaries of international shipping, but I've got at least one post brewing – other than this one – that isn't reliant on a particular book turning up. Let's kick off, though, with this:

A US hardback first edition of Donald E. Westlake's Why Me, published by The Viking Press in 1983, with dustjacket art by Bob Shein and jacket design by R. Adelson. This is the fifth book in Westlake's series starring hard luck heister John Dortmunder, and again centres on Dortmunder and crew stealing a jewel that's a bone of contention between two countries, a la The Hot Rock – and, indeed, the Parker novel The Black Ice Score. Nothing like recycling a plot, eh? I expect Westlake throws in a fair few twists on the formula though.

And with the arrival of this, I now have first editions of all five initial Dortmunders. Time for a Dortmunder gallery, you say? Why the devil not.


  1. There is a twist - but its the kind of thing could only happen to Dortmunder. SPOILER: He doesn't mean to steal the gem, doesn't know that he has, and when he does, can't get rid of it. And he gets heat from everybody.

    Normally I would not post a spoiler (its not too big a spoiler - most of this is revealed early on) but I thought I detected some disappointment in your brief assessment of the book. I don't want you to sour on Westlake.

  2. This book is hilarious. I found a mid 90's Mysterious Press paperback edition for a couple of bucks awhile back.

  3. Fear not, I'm not souring on Westlake. I knew this wouldn't be as straightforward as some of the plot summaries I've seen. This post was just slightly dashed off is all.

    By the way, keep your eyes peeled tomorrow for a massive post about Parker's portrayal on book covers. Should have it finished tonight...