Read Drowned Hopes by Donald E. Westlake Free Online
Book Title: Drowned Hopes|
The author of the book: Donald E. Westlake
ISBN 13: 9780446400060
Edition: Mysterious Press
Date of issue: April 1st 1991
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 484 KB
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Loaded: 2580 times
Reader ratings: 5.8
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For a series of criminal capers, Westlake’s Dortmunder novels unspool at their own comfortable pace. Readers just sit back and let the whole thing unravel in front of them. The same amusing characters – Andy Kelp, Stan Murch, et al – appear again and again, and it’s like being with friends (shady, criminal and sometimes incompetent friends, but friends nevertheless). That’s not to say that these books lack dramatic tension or suspense, as Westlake will happily take his readers to a point of real jeopardy. These are your friends after all, and you do care what happens to your friends.
An old and very mean cellmate of Dortmunder’s emerges from prison with the tale of how his greatest ever hoard is now buried beneath the soil and water of a large reservoir. He enlists Dortmunder to help him recover it. If Dortmunder fails, the old cellmate will just blow up the reservoir and drown everybody below.
It’s a beautiful scenario of difficult operation versus greed (as well as responsibility to fellow man), and is perfect for Westlake’s laid-back comic set pieces. I’m not spoiling anything by saying that attempt after attempt goes wrong, so that by the end the reader really does empathise with how frazzled Dortmunder is. A particular highlight is the attendance of a low-taste wedding and then – in my favourite plot strand – the activities of the gang unwittingly costing the bridegroom his sanity.
It’s always tempting to compare these books to the work the same writer did under his Richard Stark non de plume, but they come from different directions. The Parker tales are a deadly cut-throat razor on a cold dawn, while the Dortmunder capers are a nice lie-in followed by a hot breakfast later that very same morning.
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Read information about the authorDonald 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 ruthless criminal named Parker. His writing earned him three Edgar Awards: the 1968 Best Novel award for God Save the Mark; the 1990 Best Short Story award for "Too Many Crooks"; and the 1991 Best Motion Picture Screenplay award for The Grifters. In addition, Westlake also earned a Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America in 1993.
Westlake's cinematic prose and brisk dialogue made his novels attractive to Hollywood, and several motion pictures were made from his books, with stars such as Lee Marvin and Mel Gibson. Westlake wrote several screenplays himself, receiving an Academy Award nomination for his adaptation of The Grifters, Jim Thompson's noir classic.
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