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Get Real (Dortmunder, Book 15) Hardcover – July 17, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. A reality-show company aptly titled Get Real recruits the delightfully understated John Dortmunder and his merry men for a heist in this clever Dortmunder novel (after What's So Funny?), a worthy final word from Westlake (1933–2008). The producer of the prospective series, Doug Fairkeep, reveals himself to be both cynical and naïve, a combination that makes him an excellent foil for the guys. Naturally, the gang has to make this gig pay more than what's offered, as much for the fun of it as for the extra cash. While Get Real helps them map out a real robbery, the boys are mapping out a real robbery—of some of the company's hidden assets. The thinking is that Get Real can hardly come after them to retrieve cash that it can't admit that it has. The game plan changes nearly hourly, and the outcome is anything but certain. The assorted idiosyncrasies of the group's members and the interactions among them will rouse chuckles from even jaded readers. (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Bookmarks Magazine

To critics' delight, the gang is all here in Westlake's latest—and, sadly, last—comic caper: Dortmunder, getaway driver Stan Murch, safecracker Andy Kelp, muscleman Tiny Bulcher, and recent addition Judson "The Kid" Blint. Though the plot will be familiar to longtime fans of the series, Westlake's charming characters, clever twists, and mischievous wit combine to create a winning novel. Part of Dortmunder's appeal is that he's not an evil genius but more of a criminal Everyman whose careful plans always seem to go hilariously awry. "A rollicking crime caper that pulls the pants right off the reality TV industry" (New York Times Book Review), Get Real will have readers laughing out loud and searching through bookshelves for Westlake's prior works.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; First Edition edition (July 17, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446178608
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446178600
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #235,012 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Bertilak on July 3, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
First of all, RIP Donald E. Westlake. We will miss you and all your alter egos.


Now I must admit I just got this book yesterday and have only read the first page. But that first page is such a masterful description of John Dortmunder it deserves a review of its own. I will come back and update this review after I have read the whole book.

As I said, the description of Dortmunder is masterful. I will quote just a bit of it here:

"He looked liked a person loitering with intent. The particular intent, as any cop casting an eye over Dortmunder would immediately understand, was beside the point, and could be fine-tuned at the station."

OK -- back to the book, which, based on the first page alone, I expect to be a wonderful, if sad, farewell to John Dortmunder and the gang at the OJ Bar and Grill.

Now that I have read the book, here is a FULL REVIEW:

In case you don't know, John Dortmunder is a thief. That's his job and he's pretty good at it. He is the leader of an informal little gang. He comes up with clever schemes. He thinks on his feet and extracts himself and his friends from difficult situations.

Unfortunately Lady Luck seems to have it in for John. No matter how clever his scheme, now matter how carefully executed, things go wrong in, shall we say, "interesting" ways. Things have a way of working themselves out in the end but John and his friends never hit the big one despite coming *so* close so many times.

It's no wonder poor John has such such a pessimistic view of his chances. But being the professional that he is, he never gives up. At least not with a little prodding from his friends. OK, maybe lots of prodding.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Bookreporter on July 27, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Books and the authors who write them become important parts of our lives. A new novel featuring a beloved series character by our favorite author becomes a special event, something anxiously anticipated. So it has been for the millions of fans of Donald E. Westlake over the years. Westlake died at the age of 75 last New Year's Eve.

You know an author has left his mark when the first thing you think of after the passing of the man is the passing of his creations. When I heard that Westlake had died, my first selfish thought was, "Well, what happened to Parker, the noir heist man he wrote about as Richard Stark, or to John Dortmunder, the hardworking burglar who plans so often went so wrong?" And the sad finality is that they, like Sherlock Holmes, Steve Carella and the gang from the 87th Precinct, are gone now as well.

But sometimes not without a glorious sendoff, a final gift in the form of one last book. GET REAL is the 14th and final Dortmunder novel. It is not a sad occasion but a joyous book that will make you want to go right back to the start and reread the entire series starting with THE HOT ROCK in 1970.

Westlake was a prolific author of over 100 books and a three-time Edgar Award winner. He could write very dark stories --- noir --- with the best of the hard-boiled masters. But it was while trying to come up with a Parker novel about a jewel heist that Westlake discovered John Dortmunder, a small-time burglar with big-time plans. And while Parker is about as funny as a massive heart attack --- and has given a few --- Dortmunder naturally finds himself in funny situations.

We meet Dortmunder again on page one of GET REAL waiting on a New York street corner for his getaway driver and crew mate, Stan Murch, who has a lead on a job.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Rick Mitchell VINE VOICE on June 23, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Dortmunder and his crew are thieves. They are zany, yet somehow believeable characters. The crew of five each has his specialties. Although veterans of the authors many books, this book stands alone just fine. In this episode, they get hitched up to do a reality show of them committing a crime. What makes this rather short mystery interesting beyond the quirkiness of the characters is the depiction of reality TV. Scripted, but not scripted, real but, not so real. Dortmunder and his crew must devise a way to pull off a heist to satisfy the show's executives, but still make a profit - a larger one than the show's producers expect.

By far, the best thing about Westlake's books is his cast of characters and the other people with whom he populates the book. The conversations overheard of a bar's regulars is worth the price of the book alone. The supporting cast in this one, primarily the reality show's producer and his assistant, is developed quickly and well. They are ironical in a way that brings humorous satire to the book.

This is a thoroughly amusing quick reading mystery - perfect for the beach.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Nash Black VINE VOICE on August 10, 2009
Format: Hardcover
GET REAL is the final book in Donald E. Westlake's Dortmunder series. Mr. Westlake ticked our funny bones for many years and his legions of fans will miss the engaging writer who had no equal.
The gang agree to stage a heist for reality television and the fun begins when they develop plans of their own to assist their income. John, Stan, Tiny, Kelp and the Kid are at first bewildered by the TV people who supervise their words and actions while developing on the spot story lines, there isn't anything real about it. As the show progresses they fall under the spell of the lights and want to see themselves on TV.
An excellent read for a treasure of laughs, even if you've never seen a reality TV program like me.
Nash Black, author of Indie finalists WRITING AS A SMALL BUSINESS and HAINTS.
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