Friday, January 2, 2009

Donald E. Westlake, mystery novelist 1933 - 2008

Prolific comic caper mystery writer Donald E. Westlake died New Years Eve. Westlake, who has been called both “the Neil Simon of the crime novel”* and “the Mel Brooks of mayhem”* wrote seven days a week producing more than a hundred novels under several pseudonyms. Several of his books and stories have been made into film, among them The Hot Rock,The Bank Shot, and The Grifters, for which his script won him the Academy Award.

He has also written as Richard Stark, Samuel Holt and Tucker Coe. One of his long standing anti-hero characters is John Dortmunder who is a burglar, last appearing in What’s So Funny in 2008. Westlake’s next scheduled publication will come out in April. He was 75.

*From the New York Review of Books and Kevin Moore of the Chicago Tribune quoted in Contemporary Authors Online, Gale, 2009. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Gale, 2009. [Database available to Glendale Public Library card holders at our Online Resources page.]

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