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Watch Your Back! (Dortmunder Novels) Hardcover – April 18, 2005

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Product Details

  • Series: Dortmunder Novels
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Mysterious Press; 1 edition (April 18, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0892968028
  • ISBN-13: 978-0892968022
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,092,666 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. John Dortmunder, deadpan burglar extraordinaire, leads a cast of marvelously twisted supporting characters in his stellar 12th outing from MWA Grandmaster Westlake (after 2004's The Road to Ruin). Arnie Albright, a fence so obnoxious his family "intervened" and sent him to Club Med in hopes he'd become more likable, has returned from the resort minimally improved, but having met the man of his dreams—Preston Fareweather, a millionaire who's as comically distasteful as Arnie and who, more importantly, plans to be away from his art-filled New York penthouse indefinitely, on the run from hordes of furious ex-wives. Albright calls in Dortmunder and his pals to take advantage of Fareweather's absence. Meanwhile, Dortmunder has discovered that a New Jersey branch of the mob has been systematically taking over O.J. Bar & Grill, which traditionally hosts Dortmunder's business meetings. While Dortmunder plans the penthouse burglary and tracks down Raphael Medrick, failed manager of the O.J. and compulsive creator of crummy music, Fareweather uses women and lolls on the beach. Events unfold in a delicious sequence, and every step is complemented by great writing, right down to the hilarious exchanges between the regulars hanging out at the O.J. (Apr. 18)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Westlake is in fine form in this twelfth comic caper (after 2004's The Road to Ruin) featuring hapless burglar John Dortmunder and his crew of irrepressible ex-cons. This time around, the bumbling lawbreakers (including mildly offensive fence Arnie Albright and fireplug of a thug Tiny) plan to rob the Manhattan penthouse of billionaire reprobate Preston Fareweather (the smug financier is hiding out at Club Med in the Caribbean, bedding young lovelies and desperately trying to forget about his five ex-wives). But when the motley entourage gathers to discuss the heist, they're confronted with the grim reality that their longtime meeting place--The O. J. Bar & Grill--is being squeezed by the Mob. Mayhem ensues as Dortmunder must divide his abbreviated attention span between scoring the booty and saving the pub. A Mystery Writers of America Grand Master and author of more than 50 books (including hard-boiled offerings written under the pseudonym Richard Stark), Westlake renders characters that are delightfully askew. The Mafia types are "swaggering chunks of veal in Day-Glo shirts" and Fareweather's latest bikini-clad bimbo walks with "all her parts in gentle, persistent pulsation." Crime may not pay, but the adventures are always rich in the company of Westlake's men of steal. Allison Block
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 38 customer reviews
If you walk the streets of the city, you can hear these guys.
I'll leave it to you to find out how they do this, well, how they plan to go about doing it, well, never mind, just be prepared to laugh a lot.
John Matlock
I have read most of the Dortmunder series and this is the best one yet.
Beverly Bell

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By sb-lynn TOP 500 REVIEWER on May 12, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a very funny book. It's the latest installment in the series about John Dortmunder, who's misadventures in crime never cease to amuse.

Summary, no spoilers:

Arnie Albright is New York fence who comes up with the plan for the perfect crime. While at a Club Med, he meets billionaire and jerk extraordinaire, Preston Fareweather. He is mistreated by Fareweather (who isn't?), and decides to get revenge.

Fareweather is hiding out from process servers who are trying to contact him at the behest of four angry ex-wives. He has not been to his New York apartment in over two years, and doesn't plan to return anytime soon.

Arnie contacts his buddy, Dortmunder, and they decide to round up the usual gang, and burglarize Fareweather's apartment and steal his BMW....since he isn't around.

As usual, with any Dortmunder scheme, anything and everything goes wrong. Enter New Jersey mobsters, mishaps at the OJ (Dortmunder's favorite bar), and the newest member of the gang, a naive but enthusiastic 19 year old named Justin. And of course the important lesson that timing is everything.

This book is highly recommended. It's funny and satisfying, and you are left with a big smile on your face when you finish the last page. Westlake at his best.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Betsie's Literary Page on July 18, 2005
Format: Hardcover
John Dortmunder leads his crew, a cast of fascinating corkscrewed burglars. Their plan: to rob the Manhattan penthouse of billionaire reprobate Preston Fareweather, which just happens to be filled with priceless art.

Arnie Albright, is a recovering obnoxious person and fence whose family has stepped in and sent him to Club Med in the hopes that he'd become a more likable person. While at Club Med, Arnie had met an ever more repugnant guy, Preston Fareweather. A self-righteous financier, Fareweather is in exile at the Club, hiding from his five irate ex-wives whom are seeking his fortune. Fareweather in an attempt to avoid U.S. process servers flees his luxury penthouse apartment on New York's Fifth Avenue.

While Dortmunder plans the robbery and tracks down Raphael Medrick, a failed manager of the O.J. Bar and Grill and a producer of dreadful music, Fareweather uses women and loiters on the beach.

Events unfold in a tantalizing sequence when Dortmunder and his crew gather at their usual place, the backroom of the O.J. Bar and Grill on Amsterdam Avenue. Although Dortmunder receives the shock of his life when he discovers that another bunch of dangerous thieves --- a New Jersey branch of the mob is planning on stealing everything from the bar and drive it out of business.

Before they can disengage Fareweather of his treasures, the O.J. Bar and Grill must be saved from the mob!

Author Donald Westlake has certainly turned the table on crime, thus the saying: crime doesn't pay... well especially for John Dortmunder and his crew. "Watch Your Back!" will have readers rolling on the floor before they reach the end!

Reviewed by Betsie
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Format: Hardcover
Donald Westlake a gift for comic timing. It's the same kind of deadpan humor that you could have seen in an old Charlie Chaplin or Buster Keaton film, and yet it never degenerates into broad slapstick. The latest Dortmunder comic mystery is no exception. Westlake as always, crafts a villain so slimy, one Preston Fareweather, that you just want something - anything, to happen to him. And it does - John Dortmunder and his merry band of criminal misfits.

As you follow the misadventures of Dortmunder and crew from one catastrophe to another, you find yourself secretly rooting to just once, let them (actually the crooks !) score. Westlake really does prove with this loveable band of hapless bad guys, that while there is a certain amount of satisfaction and laughs along the way, they somehow just can't really make crime pay. In fact I've often wondered myself why they don't all just pack it in and find a nice steady job in a shoe store or flipping burgers. At the end of the day they'd probably be way ahead! But of course then we wouldn't have the pleasure of awaiting whatever calamity will befall them in Westlake's next comic masterpiece.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Trinque VINE VOICE on July 4, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Dortmunder and his gang of not very threatening (or competent) thieves is back, and the good news is that "Watch Your Back" is a welcome improvement over the rather flat "Road to Ruin". This time, the planned heist is a raid on an art-filled penthouse apartment whose owner is temporarily absent, hiding from an army of ex-wives. Like so many Dortmunder victims, he is so despicable that the reader cannot hope that he does get robbed. But, as usual, there are complications. In this case, the main complication is that the Dortmunder gang's favorite bar and meeting place has been taken over by the Mob and looks to become extinct in the near future, meaning that the gang may have to resort to holding planning sessions in Dortmunder's livining room, and nobody wants that. So, first, Dortmunder and his friends must find a way to thwart the Mob and save the bar. And in the end, everything comes together in a complex, not entirely expected, and satisfying conclusion.

"Watch Your Back!" may not be quite the equal of "The Hot Rock" or "The Bank Shot", but it nonetheless is another funny romp on the wrong side of the law.
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