Start reading The Hot Rock: A Dortmunder Novel (Book One) on the free Kindle Reading App or on your Kindle in under a minute. Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here.
Start reading this book in under 60 seconds
Read anywhere, on any device
OR
with Kindle Unlimited

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Enter a promotion code
or gift card
 
 
 

Try it free

Sample the beginning of this book for free

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Color:
Image not available

To view this video download Flash Player

 

The Hot Rock: A Dortmunder Novel (Book One) (The Dortmunder Novels 1) [Kindle Edition]

Donald E Westlake
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (120 customer reviews)

Digital List Price: $9.99 What's this?
Print List Price: $14.00
Kindle Price: $7.69
You Save: $6.31 (45%)
 
Kindle Unlimited Read this title for free and get unlimited access to over 700,000 titles. Learn More

If you buy a new print edition of this book (or purchased one in the past), you can buy the Kindle edition for only $1.99 (Save 74%). Print edition purchase must be sold by Amazon. Learn more.

Whispersync for Voice

Switch back and forth between reading the Kindle book and listening to the Audible narration. Add narration for a reduced price of $3.95 after you buy the Kindle book. Learn More

Formats

Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition $7.69  
Hardcover --  
Paperback $11.88  
Mass Market Paperback --  
Audio, Cassette, Audiobook, Unabridged --  
Audible Audio Edition, Unabridged $15.95 or Free with Audible 30-day free trial
Kindle Delivers
Kindle Delivers
Subscribe to the Kindle Delivers monthly e-mail to find out about each month's Kindle book deals, new releases, editors' picks and more. Learn more (U.S. customers only)

Book Description

Fresh out of prison, Dortmunder plans a heist that could mean war

John Dortmunder leaves jail with ten dollars, a train ticket, and nothing to make money on but his good name. Thankfully, his reputation goes far. No one plans a caper better than Dortmunder. His friend Kelp picks him up in a stolen Cadillac and drives him away from Sing-Sing, telling a story of a $500,000 emerald that they just have to steal. Dortmunder doesn’t hesitate to agree.
 
The emerald is the crown jewel of a former British colony, lately granted independence and split into two nations: one for the Talabwo people, one for the Akinzi. The Akinzi have the stone, the Talabwo want it back, and their UN representative offers a fine payday to the men who can get it. It’s not a simple heist, but after a few years in stir, Dortmunder could use the challenge.


Editorial Reviews

Review

“Westlake’s novel comes awesomely close to the ultimate in comic, big-caper novels; it’s so filled with action and imagination.” —The New York Times Book Review
 
“Westlake is a master hand at the running gag this Westlake brought on such a case of the laughing bends that I required decompression.” —The Washington Post
 
“[Westlake’s] most durable character. Whatever can go wrong in the man’s elaborate attempts at larceny invariably does, and in the most amusing and unexpected ways possible.” —Los Angeles Times

About the Author

Donald E. Westlake (1933–2008) was one of the most prolific and talented authors of American crime fiction. He began his career in the late 1950s, churning out novels for pulp houses—often writing as many as four novels a year under various pseudonyms—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 Edgars and a Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America.
 
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.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1094 KB
  • Print Length: 306 pages
  • Publisher: MysteriousPress.com/Open Road (October 25, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005UK7TVS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #32,940 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?.


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
67 of 68 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What a gem! August 8, 2001
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Within a few hours of being released on parole, John Dortmunder, a small-time thief and con artist is embroiled in a new caper. He has been commissioned to steal a valuable emerald for a newly-formed small African nation. John handpicks the men who will assist him in this heist, each of whom brings their special skills to the job at hand and their off-center behavioral traits. This is not exactly your gang that couldn't shoot straight. Rather, these misfits just seem to be the victims of events often beyond their control. No matter how much inventive planning goes into each robbery, they never seem to walk away with the prize. It is constantly back to the drawing board for Dortmunder and each robbery calls for more innovative and daring methods.
At times, the dialogue reads like the old "who's on first, what's on second" routine made famous by Abbott and Costello. At other times, the humor is much more subtle. Either way, you will find yourself chuckling or, if you are in the safety of your own home, laughing out loud.
Living in New York, I was amazed at how well Mr. Westlake knows the city and the outer boroughs. Having grown up in a rather obscure part of one of these boroughs, I think that unbeknownst to me, Mr. Westlake must have lived next door to me. He can describe stores and houses on the smallest side street with pinpoint accuracy.
This is not the type of book that I would normally seek out. However, I had recently read a short story by Mr. Westlake that caught my fancy. I liked the style of writing so much that I decided to try one of his books.
If you like a well written action caper that will have you laughing throughout, I suggest you pick up a copy of "The Hot Rock." As for me, I am going to order the next few books in the Dortmunder series as soon as I submit this review.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Perfect Start to the Perfect Series April 25, 2001
By Ivy
Format:Paperback
If you haven't devoured the whole Dortmunder series by now, wait no longer: start with this one, and as soon as your stomach muscles recover, move on to the rest. This is the kickoff to the funniest mystery series ever written.
Our hero is Dortmunder, a very recent ex-con. His opponent is the Balabomo Emerald, a gem with a history, a price on its head, and, apparently, a nasty sense of humor. Hired by the representative of an African nation that wants the jewel for religious and political reasons, Dortmunder assembles a team of the finest, funniest men ever to make a dishonest dollar. They make attempt after attempt (as the blurb says, giving new meaning to the term repeat offender) at the job, striking by helicopter, train, and mesmerism, among others. Any one of the plans should succeed. But fate - or the emerald - has other ideas.
The plot is only part of the humor, though. In a way, the Dortmunder series is very like Terry Pratchett's Discworld series; they both rely on language and character as much as situations for laughs, and they both get incredible results from the strategy.
Seriously, this book (and the series it spawned) is a better antidepressant than any pharmaceutical I've ever encountered. If you're just now starting here, wow, do I envy you. (But how did you live this long without Dortmunder?)
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Greatest Comic Heist Novels July 31, 2003
Format:Paperback
If you have not yet read The Hot Rock, you have an amazing treat ahead of you. With brilliant plotting, amusing characters and a strong sense of irony, The Hot Rock makes side-tickling fun of just about everything you can imagine. This book also introduces the character, John Archibald Dortmunder, who stars in the marvelous series of books that followed this one.
Dortmunder is about to get out of prison on parole, and is looking forward to the $300 that another inmate will pay him for his old cell. That plan is scotched when the warden decides to personally escort Dortmunder out of the prison. So there he is with regret for his lost $300 and poor prospects. Then it gets worse! A Cadillac chases him onto the sidewalk against a wall. And that's just the first three and a half pages!
Dortmunder's old pal, Andy Kelp, has lined up a job that requires Dortmunder to do the planning for the caper. A former British colony in Africa has recently become two independent nations, Talabwo and Akinzi, each run by a different tribe. The Akinzi have possession of the Balabomo Emerald, worth $500,000, and the UN Ambassador from Talabwo, Major Patrick Ito, is offering $30,000 a man (for up to five men) to retrieve the emerald which is now residing in the New York Coliseum at a Pan-African display. Dortmunder needs money, so he decides to take the job . . . if the major will pay a little walking around money in the meantime.
Soon, Dortmunder has developed a brilliant plan that requires some special props, which the major provides. Into the Coliseum go four of the five, and three return . . . minus the emerald. After this setback, the plot starts to get really complicated.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Absorbing Caper September 6, 2001
Format:Paperback
When a valuable emerald is on display in New York City, it presents an opportunity for those who feel it's rightfully theirs, to steal it. The emerald in question is a religious icon, owned by a small African nation. A neighbouring African nation believes it's theirs and they want it back, so they hire John Dortmunder for the job of retrieving it. John Dortmunder is a master thief and has a knack for planning, but can't do it all himself, so he needs to call on others for their expertise. This is when the fun really begins.
What starts out as a simple case of robbery quickly develops into a comedy of errors as unforeseen circumstance follows plain bad luck. John Dortmunder and his men become determined to succeed at their task, which leads to a series of events ranging from amusing to farcical.
The offbeat characters portrayed in the book add an extra dimension of humour and helps create an upbeat atmosphere throughout. There's a car nut who, of course, is their getaway driver, a gentle and possibly just a bit loopy (toot-toot) model train lover, a Casanova-type pretty boy and a stock standard right-hand-man. All of them thoroughly professional yet, sort of oozing a not-quite-right feeling about them.
We're treated to a light-hearted caper in and around New York City in the book that introduces John Dortmunder to us. You can't help but like these rogues as they stumble from bad situation to worse. It's an amusing comedy that should have you smiling as you read the last page.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars lovely little caper, with a latter-day Mad Men atmosphere thrown in...
Just like they made them in the old days: clever, unexpected, and not at all violent. A delightful, offbeat beach read.
Published 8 days ago by James L Brock
5.0 out of 5 stars Where it all started.
This is the first novel in the Dortmunder series. He has been released from prison, and sent back home to start a "new life. Read more
Published 24 days ago by Fred Camfield
4.0 out of 5 stars Crime pays
At least, for the reader. I am a Dortmunder fan of many years, and was happy to find one that I had missed. If you like a good caper, with brains and heart, start here!
Published 28 days ago by miranda patterson
2.0 out of 5 stars Beyond Pauline's Perils
Sorry, but this one doesn't cut it. Why Dortmunder hangs with these idiots with totally unreasonable schemes is beyond me. Read more
Published 1 month ago by CopShop
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious and brilliantly written!
I've had friends recommending Westlake to me for years. I finally broke down and read the first Dortmunder book. Now I'm hooked!
Published 1 month ago by Glenn Ellmers
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Funny, yet limited in scope and obviously outdated.
Published 1 month ago by M C Dempsey
4.0 out of 5 stars One Of The Old Master's Classics
In my eyes, Donald Westlake is the dean of comedy mysteries. In this book, which I believe is the first in his Dortmunder series, he doesn't disappoint. Read more
Published 3 months ago by David Miller
1.0 out of 5 stars Hasn't aged well?
It's possible that the dialogue in this comedy crime novel was fresh and original when the book was published, but today it reads like an uninspired compendium of crime-genre... Read more
Published 3 months ago by James B. Foster
5.0 out of 5 stars Westlake Scores a home run, again!
Hilarious Romp!

One of Westlake's best adventures! Dortmunder & Co. in their finest hour (or hours). Right (sort of) beats might.
Published 3 months ago by Virginia Chittick
5.0 out of 5 stars Capers Failed Successfully
This book was an old school enjoyment. The characters are unique - sometimes brilliant and sometimes dunces. They each have their own foibles and areas of expertise. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Audrey Anderson
Search Customer Reviews
Search these reviews only

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?


Forums

There are no discussions about this product yet.
Be the first to discuss this product with the community.
Start a new discussion
Topic:
First post:
Prompts for sign-in
 


Look for Similar Items by Category