Sunday, November 16, 2014

Book Review: Donald E. Westlake, The Mercenaries [a.k.a. The Smashers, a.k.a. The Cutie] (1960)

This mob whodunit would probably not have warranted a reprint by Hard Case Crime were it not Donald E. Westlake’s debut (or, more accurately, his debut under his own name). Narrated by George Clayton—known to his associates simply as Clay—The Mercenaries (reprinted by HCC as The Cutie, complete with cover art that has nothing whatsoever to do with the book) finds Westlake inching his way toward the world of Richard Stark and Parker with Clay’s recurring commentary about the necessity of good criminals behaving without emotion. In sum, a competent but not memorable novel of high academic interest to fans of Westlake/Stark. Grade: C

1 comment:

  1. I've been waiting for when you start reviewing Westlake back catalog. I expected the low grade.
    For me, that was the first book by Westlake that I had read. I enjoyed it immensely. It was by no means perfect, yet it was so much fun, something of a kind that I never met before. And still today I compare every Westlake's book to this one.