Friday, January 2, 2009

Donald Westlake, Goodbye - Dortmunder is off parole for good....

Donald Westlake has passed.

The best obit is at Do The Math Blog.

"This is the life of a writer. You will touch the lives of those you have never met. You will help them through their own private hells and they will weep, someday, when you are gone."

I've been reading his books since I was in grade school - and I'm forty-seven.

One of my favorite authors, he and his buddies Lawrence Block and Bill Pronzini have provided me with tons of fun and wonderfully enlightening entertainment down the years.

One of the most prolific writers in modern times, he published 104 books (so far - this is up for revision) under multiple pseudonyms, the most famous being "Richard Stark" (the Parker novels).

Other Westlake pseudonyms:

  • John B. Allan (Elizabeth Taylor: A Fascinating Story of America's Most Talented Actress and the World's Most Beautiful Woman, 1961, biography);
  • Judson Jack Carmichael (The Scared Stiff, 2002, mystery; U.K. editions dropped the pseudonym);
  • Curt Clark (Anarchaos, 1967, science fiction);
  • Tucker Coe (mysteries featuring the character of Mitch Tobin: Kinds of Love, Kinds of Death, 1966; Murder Among Children, 1967; Wax Apple and A Jade in Aries, both 1970; Don't Lie to Me, 1972);
  • Timothy J. Culver (Ex Officio, 1970, thriller);
  • J. Morgan Cunningham (Comfort Station, 1971, humor);
  • Samuel Holt (mysteries featuring the character of Sam Holt: One of Us is Wrong and I Know a Trick Worth Two of That, both 1986; What I Tell You Three Times is False, 1987; The Fourth Dimension is Death, 1989);
  • Several other names, under which he wrote paperback porn, in the 50's and 60's.

I am sure the weekly writer's poker game will not be the same.

When this happens, you feel as if part of your own existence has been cut off. The characters are still there, but you know there won't be any more... and simply because they won't continue to grow - they have died too.

As a fan - an avid reader - you don't really know the author, but you do.

His best books?

Apart from the Dortmunder Series, I highly recommend "Dancing Aztecs" and "Trust Me On This" as well as all of the Richard Stark and Tucker Coe books.

I'll be moseying down to the OJ Bar and Grill sometime this evening.

Looks like a half-bottle of Old Amsterdam Liquor Store "Our Own Brand" Bourbon night

Don't wait up.

Hey there Rollo....

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