As a long-time fan of Donald Westlake, I was very sad to read of his sudden death from a heart attack on December 31st, 2008. So naturally I was surprised to hear that there was a previously unpublished Westlake due to be released by Hard Case Crime in March 2010. When I learned that this was a book that Westlake wrote in the 60s, well I was intrigued.
MEMORY has to be one of the bleakest, darkest novels written by Westlake in the course of his long, outstanding career.
And this brings me to Donald Westlakeâ€™s novel GET REAL. Realizing the capacity for comedy, several authors have taken the idea of reality television and written some very creative and funny books built on the subject: Ben Eltonâ€™s Chart Throb and Dead Famous, for example, and now Westlake tries his hand, and the result is a witty crime caper novel featuring one of Westlakeâ€™s regulars, John Dortmunder.
Billy-Billy Cantrell is involved in narcotics, as a junkie and as a retailer on New York City’s Lower East Side. Heroin is his thing…Bigtime!. He’s a “meek, nervous, quiet little guy whose only offense is dope.” One evening he shoots up and falls asleep in a doorway. When he wakes up, in a drug induced stupor, he finds himself in the apartment of Mavis St. Paul, who until very recently was a would-be actress and singer. Now, Ms. St. Paul is a fresh corpse.