Thursday 16 September 2010

Westlake Score: Watch Your Back! by Donald E. Westlake

Even I'm getting slightly bored of these Dortmunder new arrivals now, so you'll be glad to know this is the last one I have to show (for a while anyway). And we're back to the US first editions with this one, after our brief sojourn with the UK Robert Hale editions of Bad News and The Road to Ruin:

It's a US hardback first edition/printing of Westlake's Watch Your Back!, published by Mysterious Press in 2005, with a rather bold dustjacket designed by Bradford Foltz. This is the twelfth novel to feature John Dortmunder and crew, and its arrival means I now have numbers one to twelve of the series, with only the final two, What's So Funny? (2007) and Get Real (2009), still to get. No rush for those though; I have, after all, ten Dortmunder books to read before I get to those.

Traditionally, at this point I'd post a first edition cover gallery of Dortmunder novels, to follow on from this one last month. But to be honest, you've already seen most of the covers that would be in said gallery earlier this week (Good Behaviour and US editions of Bad News and The Road to Ruin excepted), so it'd be a bit of a waste of everyone's time. Maybe I can do something else instead though. I'll have a ponder.


  1. So what are you going to do after you finish collecting the Dortmunder books? Will you tackle his stand-alones? Or maybe delve into his early, sleazy paperbacks? He wrote a semi-autobiographical novel about his early days writing smut called Adios, Scheherazade that is now very hard to find. (I found it in the library.) I'm bidding on one of his early books right now (Man Hungry by Alan Marshall).

    If you wish to start with someone new, I have the perfect writer in mind. His books would be fun to collect, have lots of different and interesting covers to look at and are very good to read. He's an American. An award winner. Wrote spy/crime/political/mystery novels. He and Westlake knew each other. They are sometimes compared to each other. I think he would be the perfect new subject for you.

  2. I think I'm nearly done collecting Westlake for the moment. I've got a few things of his I've got my eye on (and a couple more Westlake Scores to come), but that's about it. In fact I'll be trying not to buy too many books at all in future; the amount of novels I now have waiting to read is rather daunting.

    Then again... who are you alluding to? It's not Lawrence Block is it?

  3. If you haven't already read him, I think you would love Ross Thomas. His first novel, which he wrote in six weeks, won the Edgar for best first novel in 1967 - The Cold War Swap. And he won the Edgar for best novel in 1985 for Briarpatch. He also wrote five novels as Oliver Bleeck.

    He died in 1995 and there isn't a lot about him available on line. Here are a few choice links: (in which you can read Westlake's introduction to the book)

    You do have a ton of books to read so there's no reason to immediately jump into Ross Thomas. But keep him in mind - given what you've written about Westlake/Stark, Gavin Lyall, John LeCarre, and some other things you've written about over the past few months, I think you will really love most of his books.

    FYI: I have read 23 of his 25 books. I'm saving two.

  4. You've got me interested already. Thanks for the tip. This warrants further investigation...