And the book is every bit as funny, and tight, and beautifully-plotted as I remember finding it first time round. Let us lay out the setting. Dortmunder agrees with Gus Brock to join him on a visit, a visit here being a visit to a house whose owners are guaranteed not to be present at the hour of this social call. Max comes from a shady European background that did involve killing people who got in his way, at least until he went legit and started collecting businesses, billions, art treasures, discreet mistresses.
Max has a tremendous respect for the Law, until they try to apply it to him. And just as naturally, it is Dortmunder on whom he gets the drop, whilst Gus discreetly departs. Dortmunder plays along. Third fall, habitual, life in prison.
Not going back to May. Until Max steals his ring.
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Naturally, given that John is maybe needing an uplift on the luck front, she gives it to him. And it fits perfectly, like it was meant for him. Until, later the same day, Max decides to thieve from the thief, to rub his nose in it that bit much more, to demonstrate his absolute power over the universe. That makes things different for Dortmunder. There he was, all ready to go down for life,until this rich guy pulled this fast one, and John Archibald Dortmunder is not going to stand for that.
Nov 11, Mary rated it liked it Shelves: thriller , humor. The Dortmunder novels fall into a particular category of crime novels, the tale of the lovable, or at least likable, thief. Such a character is inevitably a hard-luck criminal with pals who are colorful. That is the pleasure of the story--we as readers are allowed to follow the adventures of group of shady individuals without feeling guilty about liking them.
A big-time The Dortmunder novels fall into a particular category of crime novels, the tale of the lovable, or at least likable, thief. A big-time businessman has been caught in financial shenanigans think Enron and exiled to his home. Many people suffered because of him and some of them want revenge for their losses. A plan to "free" Mr. CEO's fabulous car collection is the McGuffin of the plot. The various plotters have their own agendas, and they don't always share their info. The enjoyment for the reader comes from the dialog between the crooks, and the mechanics of the plot falling into place.
Apr 18, Printable Tire added it. Well, ya learn something new every day. I'd never heard of this series or even this author but apparently he's popular enough that there have been multiple movies over the years based on his work. This story has a lot of build up criminal scheming to an event that never actually happens stealing fancy cars , which was incredibly anticlimactic.
But it almost doesn't matter because the audiobook, read by William Dufris, is so entertaining. Dufris is a chameleon of tough-guy, barfly, conman, Har Well, ya learn something new every day. Dufris is a chameleon of tough-guy, barfly, conman, Harvard-educated voices, and it's always fun listening to his gruff "Tiny," his cheery Andy, or his boneheaded Monroe Hall a complicated character, both stupid and sly, that I feel would be dead on the page without the help of his audio delivery. So maybe worth listening to on an 8-hour drive if you can get it. Feb 01, Jeannine rated it liked it.
I was disappointed with this one. Not enough Dortmunder and no grand finale, the story just petered out. Still enjoyable, Westlake always knows how to set up a scenario with humorous, "normal" people. My favorite is still What's the Worst that Could Happen? It makes Ocean's Eleven look like a kid's game of tiddlywinks.
Ah well. Another fun heist-gone-wrong story from Mr. Westlake : The narration was excellent. I do find the lack of women as anything but side-kicks or set dressing trying, but that's hardly unique to this book. Best Dortmunder book so far! The Dortmunder series has never been less than good but Westlake surpassed himself with this one!
Lots of plot twists, action, memorable characters and laugh-out-loud funny.
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Jun 25, Frank rated it it was ok. Pleasant, given the author and series, but crossed into pointlessness so not a strong entry.
Mar 24, Reverenddave rated it liked it Shelves: crime , comedy , food. Aug 31, Peter Tillman rated it liked it Shelves: mystery. May 23, Joyce rated it liked it. Onto the next Dortmunder Jul 03, Yosef Shapiro rated it liked it Shelves: caper. A classic caper book featuring the hapless Dartmunder. Nov 24, Tony rated it it was ok Shelves: reviewed , , fiction , caper , series.
It's a toss-up between this and Drowned Hopes for which has been the worst in the series so far. Drowned Hopes was overlong, often dull, and sometimes painful, but it at least felt like a Dortmunder. This one reads much more like one of those "continue the franchise" sequels, written after the original author's death by someone with enough acquaintance with what has come before to seem right on the surface, but insufficient understanding to really have it fit in.
The main characters are all here, It's a toss-up between this and Drowned Hopes for which has been the worst in the series so far. The main characters are all here, but largely only in spirit. May 13, Christian rated it it was amazing. Jumped out of order on the Dortmunder books because some of them are really hard to find. Gonna have to redouble my efforts and try to find the older ones because Dortmunder's comic anti-capers keep me reading and keep me laughing.
This one was especially enjoyable.
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The classless society was the ideal partly because, in a classless society, all identity is flexible. The butler did not do it although he wanted to. Sometimes things don't work out. Feb 05, Caroline rated it really liked it Shelves: novel , prose. Audiobook for my trip to New York. I listened to the whole thing in the car. Like all the Dortmunder books, it's brain candy that really works your brain. And still, because of Westlake's deft touch with character development, we do feel for the guy in his own way. I think this might have ended up being the last Dortmunder book, before Westlake passed away a few months ago.
That's a sad note to think about; on the other hand, it's nice to see that his writing stayed this sharp through such a long career. Mar 24, Dave rated it liked it Shelves: fiction-read. Although these stories are somewhat predictable, I've enjoyed each of the ones I've listened to and plan to listen to or read the entire series. John Dortmunder and his band of brother burglars provide me with diversion and sometimes provocation of thought. I'm not reading them in order and not finding that a problem. For me the stories work well independently.
Once again the relationships and banter among the characters contributes greatly to the pleasure of hearing the story. Also as usual, things do not go according the the plans of most any of the competing groups. May 12, Tony Gleeson rated it really liked it. A typical Dortmunder adventure, and that's good. As usual, his crew of crooks displays a curious combination of brilliance and incompetence as they attempt to steal a collection of antique automobiles off the maximum-security compound of a very wealthy and very despicable individual.
In order to do so they pose as servants the guy is so obnoxious that nobody will work for him so he jumps at the opportunity to hire them on. The plot is complicated by the efforts of another group to kidnap the t A typical Dortmunder adventure, and that's good. The plot is complicated by the efforts of another group to kidnap the tycoon. Anyone familiar with this series will anticipate lots of things going wrong across the board. As usual, Westlake's writing is sharp, witty, and constantly surprising.
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