2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
No bone to pick with this King of Comic Capers,
This review is from: Don't Ask (Hardcover)
They say that Donald Westlake is the king of the comic caper. As a loyal subject to the kingdom of comedy-mystery writing and reading, I humbly drop to one knee. King Westlake is ... in modern homage ... Da Man!
If I'd grown up on the same block as John Dortmunder and his independent but loyal gang of friends, I'd likely be checking out my Westlake novels from the prison library. In life I could not steal a kiss, but with each of Westlake's Dortmunder novels I fantasize sitting in that storage-closet-of-a-room in the back of the bar where John, Tiny, Kelp, Murch, the others and I work out the least painful way to extricate ourselves from whatever series of rolling troubles have come from the latest failed caper.
Quirky but clean, witty and wisecracking, bizarre and sometimes violent, but rarely if ever disturbingly or graphically so, the Dortmunder novels are well plotted, well written, and just, well, fun. I find the characters much more complete than the stereotypical additions they bring to the plot, and the interplay and humor excellent.
"Don't Ask" has a plot so silly that I can't imagine what his editor must have first thought, but it proves to be seriously fun. It's absurdity strikes me as something the satirist Christopher Buckley might have written, but Westlake's novel and characters are less biting, and ironically feel real in such a ridiculous situation.
And don't be turned off by the plot point of a 16 year old girl, both canonized and cannibalized - it's mentioned on one page and largely forgotten in the rest of the story.