Sunday, September 8, 2013

Donald E. Westlake, Drowned Hopes (1990)

In which Dortmunder must figure out how to retrieve money buried at the bottom of a lake. My pet peeve about the Dortmunder series has been that the lighter tone of these books (compared to, say, oh, I don't know, the Parker novels?) tempts Westlake sometimes to take the easy, sophomoric route (e.g., fart jokes). This time out, plot and execution are strong (the first major underwater scene, in particular, is brilliantly claustrophobic), and the proceedings stay mature . . . but Westlake cannot resist a certain silliness that sometimes mars the cumulative gravitas of the Dortmunder series. Exhibit A: Dortmunder at Mt. Rushmore, which is a deeply regrettable self-indulgence. Grade B+

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