Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Book Review: Donald E. Westlake, Why Me? (1983)

Upon finishing the Parker series, I began Dortmunder with a sense of desperate skepticism, and I have been pleasantly surprised. I was underwhelmed by Dortmunder #1 (The Hot Rock), but Dortmunder #2 (Bank Shot) was good enough to keep me going. Dortmunder #3 (Jimmy the Kid) was genius, which made mediocre Dortmunder #4 (Nobody’s Perfect) even more disappointing. Fortunately, Dortmunder #5 (Why Me?) is pretty great. The relationship between Dortmunder and his sidekick Andy Kelp deepens, which points to the remarkable strength of the series: Dortmunder’s sad-sack character develops a surprising gravitas, despite his status as a perpetual punch line. At first I was uncertain whether the Dortmunder novels should be read at all. Now I think they should be read in order. Grade: A-

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