Friday 14 February 2014

Donald E. Westlake Non-Fiction Anthology The Getaway Car (University of Chicago Press, 2014): Table of Contents and More Details Revealed

NB: A version of this post also appears at The Violent World of Parker.

With Violent World of Parker proprietor Trent currently otherwise engaged – literally – it falls to me to provide an update on the Donald E. Westlake non-fiction anthology Trent and I blogged about back in April of last year. Edited by University of Chicago Press' Levi Stahl, and due for publication by UCP in September, the anthology has now gained both a title and a sub-title: The Getaway Car: A Donald Westlake Nonfiction Miscellany. The full table of contents is available to view on the UCP site, but Levi has kindly agreed for it to be reproduced on VWoP and Existential Ennui:


Foreword by Lawrence Block
Editor’s Introduction

1 My Second Life: Fragments from an Autobiography

2 Donald E. Westlake, a.k.a. . . .
Hearing Voices in My Head: Tucker Coe, Timothy J. Culver, Richard Stark and Donald E. Westlake
Living with a Mystery Writer, by Abby Adams
Writers on Writing: A Pseudonym Returns From an Alter-Ego Trip, With New Tales to Tell

3 So Tell Me about This Job We’re Gonna Pull: On Genre
The Hardboiled Dicks
Introduction to Murderous Schemes
Introduction to The Best American Mystery Stories, 2000
Don’t Call Us, We’ll Call You

4 Ten Most Wanted: Ten Favorite Mystery Books
5 Returning to the Scene of the Crime: On His Own Work
Introduction to Levine
Tangled Webs for Sale: Best Offer
Introduction to Kahawa
Letter to Howard B. Gotlieb, Boston University Libraries

6 Lunch Break: May’s Famous Tuna Casserole

7 The Other Guys in the String: Peers, Favorites, and Influences
Lawrence Block: First Sighting
On Peter Rabe
Playing Politics with a Master of Dialogue: On George V. Higgins
On Rex Stout
Introduction to Jack Ritchie’s A New Leaf and Other Stories
Foreword to Thurber on Crime
Introduction to Charles Willeford’s The Way We Die Now
On Stephen Frears
John D. MacDonald: A Remembrance

8 Coffee Break: Letter to Ray Broekel

9 Anything You Say May Be Used against You: Interviews
An Inside Look at Donald Westlake, by Albert Nussbaum, 81332-132
The Worst Happens: From an Interview by Patrick McGilligan

10 Midnight Snack: Gustatory Notes from All Over

11 Side Jobs: Prison Breaks, Movie Mobsters, and Radio Comedy
Love Stuff, Cops-and-Robbers Style
Send In the Goons

12 Signed Confessions: Letters
To Judy ?
To Peter Gruber
To James Hale
To Stephen and Tabitha King
To Brian Garfield
To David Ramus
To Pam Vesey
To Gary Salt
To Henry Morrison
To Jon L. Breen

13 Jobs Never Pulled: Title Ideas
Crime Titles
Comic Crime Titles

14 Death Row (Or, The Happily Ever Afterlife): Letter to Ralph L. Woods

Name Index

I must say it all looks fascinating: I've read (and written about) Westlake essays like "Don't Call Us, We'll Call You", "Peter Rabe" and "Break-Out" before, but there are plenty more besides I haven't read; I'm especially keen to take a look at the autobiography fragments and the personal letters Levi (and his glamorous assistant Ethan Iverson) dug out of Westlake's files. I'm also intrigued to read Levi's introduction and Lawrence Block's foreword, a single sentence from the latter of which is previewed at the UCP site, along with a quote from Hard Case Crime's Charles Ardai and some more info about the book. Go take a gander.


  1. Theat's the book of the year. No doubt.

  2. I agree, book of the year. In fact, since he could not fit everything into one volume, may be will get a second volume in another year or two, after this one wins an Edgar. I have all of the UCP Parkers and I can't wait to put this one on the shelf with them.

  3. Wow, all that AND tuna casserole. This seems like the coolest collection ever. You'll let us know when it's available for purchase, right?

  4. I wonder how much longer this Westlake publishing renaissance will go on? Last few years since his death, it's seemed like all you have to do is wish for something of his you couldn't find (or afford) to become available, and presto--there it is.

    Sometimes just in ebook form, as with Comfort Station--but think about it--that's a parody of Arthur Hailey. He had one huge best seller after another (and Westlake had none). Best as I can tell, none of Hailey's books are in print now--but Comfort Station, which I doubt sold more than a few thousand copies when it came out--still alive.

    Because like it or not, a book that doesn't get reprinted at least now and again is dead. And so is its author.

    Who cares about the nonfiction articles of Arthur Hailey, or most other best selling authors of the past? They must have written some. But nobody cares enough to go dig them up.

    That's what makes a you a real writer. Not selling power. Staying power.

  5. Glad to see the book looks interesting to people. Thanks for the kind words. I've enjoyed assembling it more than I'd ever imagined, and--even as I'm about to read it through for what is probably the fifth time, this time in proofs--I find myself enjoying the way Westlake's voice comes through in every piece. It's been an honor to work on the book.

    More soon, including the amazing cover that Darwyn Cooke has drawn and designed for it!

  6. Ta for the comments everyone. And looking forward to seeing that cover, Levi!