Friday, January 02, 2009

Donald Westlake

Damn. When any good writer dies, there's always an outcry, even though the author would be, say, over 90 years old and it's no wonder he/she dies. But Donald Westlake - sigh, he was only 75. This is a damn shame.

I learned earlier today that he'd had seeing problems, to the point of being almost blind. I didn't know that earlier. But it's no wonder he died of a heart attack. No one who writes so much for almost 50 years (his first novel was published in 1960) can survive this life without a lot of stress.

But the stress and hard work didn't show in his work. It read as if he didn't put any effort in it. Smooth, elegant, but hard-hitting when necessary - especially in his Parker novels as by Richard Stark, but also in his first ones I really, really enjoyed like 361 and The Mercenaries (now in print as The Cutie from Hard Case Crime, which was Westlake's own title; nothing wrong with The Mercenaries in my mind).

The news of his death caught me when I'd just read The Hot Rock, the most famous of the Dortmunder novels, for the first time. Like anything he wrote, it was fluent and fast, yet full of fully developed characters. I'm not big on Dortmunder novels, but I can't but admire them.

I wrote about Westlake in Pulpografia. I'll be posting the entry on one of my other blogs later (not now because I've just started using a new computer and my old files are not uploaded here).

Here are some links: Peter Rozovsky, once and then twice, and Sarah Weinman (with a plethora of other links).

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