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Cover zur kostenlosen eBook-Leseprobe von »Nobody's Perfect«

Nobody's Perfect

Bastei Entertainment | The Dortmunder Novels (Mysterious Press)


An art collector hires Dortmunder to steal one of his own paintings

It would take a miracle to keep Dortmunder out of jail. Though he cased the electronics store perfectly, the cops surprised him, turning up in the alley just as he was walking out the back door, a television in each hand. Already a two-time loser, without divine intervention he faces a long stretch inside. Then God sends J. Radcliffe Stonewiler, a celebrity lawyer who gets Dortmunder off with hardly any effort at all.

Stonewiler was sent by Arnold Chauncey, an art lover with a cash flow problem. He asks the thief to break into his house and make off with a valuable painting in exchange for a quarter of the insurance money. Chauncey has pulled the stunt twice before, so it must look real. He'll give Dortmunder no inside help- a shame since, when this caper spins out of control, he'll need all the help he can get.

Review quote:

"Wildly funny. ... written with Westlake's usual expertise." - The New York Times Book Review

"[Westlake's] most durable character. ... Whatever can go wrong in the man's elaborate attempts at larceny invariably does, and in the most amusing and unexpected ways possible." - Los Angeles Times

"Everyone who's read Donald Westlake knows he's the funniest man in the world." - The Washington Post

Biographical note:

Donald E. Westlake (1933-2008) was one of the most prolific and talented authors of American crime fiction. He began his career in the late 1950s, churning out novels for pulp houses - often writing as many as four novels a year under various pseudonyms - but soon began publishing under his own name. His most well-known characters were John Dortmunder, an unlucky thief, and a ruthless criminal named Parker. His writing earned him three Edgars and a Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America.

Westlake's cinematic prose and brisk dialogue made his novels attractive to Hollywood, and several motion pictures were made from his books, with stars such as Lee Marvin and Mel Gibson. Westlake wrote several screenplays himself, receiving an Academy Award nomination for his adaptation of The Grifters, Jim Thompson's noir classic.

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Cover zur kostenlosen eBook-Leseprobe von »Bank Shot«

Bank Shot

Bastei Entertainment | The Dortmunder Novels (Mysterious Press)


Instead of robbing a bank, Dortmunder tries to steal the whole building

Encyclopedias are heavy, and John Dortmunder is sick of carrying them. While in between jobs, the persistent heist-planner is working an encyclopedia-selling scam that's about to blow up in his face. The cops are on their way when his friend Kelp pulls up in a stolen Oldsmobile, offering a quick escape from the law and a job that's too insane to turn down.

Kelp's nephew is an FBI washout who's addicted to old-time pulp novels and adventure stories. He tried being a cop, and now he wants to be a robber. His target: a Main Street bank that has temporarily relocated to a large mobile home. Breaking in is impossible - there are seven guards and a police station down the street - but mobile homes were meant to be driven. Dortmunder just has to drive the bank away.

Review quote:

"Westlake's Triumph - hilarious!" - The New York Times

"[Westlake's] most durable character. Whatever can go wrong in the man's elaborate attempts at larceny invariably does, and in the most amusing and unexpected ways possible." - Los Angeles Times

"Everyone who's read Donald Westlake knows he's the funniest man in the world." - The Washington Post

Biographical note:

Donald E. Westlake (1933-2008) was one of the most prolific and talented authors of American crime fiction. He began his career in the late 1950s, churning out novels for pulp houses- often writing as many as four novels a year under various pseudonyms- but soon began publishing under his own name. His most well-known characters were John Dortmunder, an unlucky thief, and a ruthless criminal named Parker. His writing earned him three Edgars and a Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America.

Westlake's cinematic prose and brisk dialogue made his novels attractive to Hollywood, and several motion pictures were made from his books, with stars such as Lee Marvin and Mel Gibson. Westlake wrote several screenplays himself, receiving an Academy Award nomination for his adaptation of The Grifters, Jim Thompson's noir classic.

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Cover zur kostenlosen eBook-Leseprobe von »Dancing Aztecs«

Dancing Aztecs

Bastei Entertainment


When sixteen copies of a famous Aztec statue arrive in New York, men will die to find out which one is the real thing.

A small South American republic has decided to capitalize on its national symbol: a prized gold statue of a dancing Aztec priest. The president asks a sculptor to make sixteen copies of it for sale abroad. The sculptor replaces the original with one of his fakes, and ships the real one to New York City for an under-the-table sale to a museum. The statues travel to America spread out among five crates, labeled to ensure that delivery goes as planned. But it doesn't work.

Asked to pick up the crate marked "E" at the airport, delivery man Jerry Manelli, confused by his client's Spanish accent, takes crate "A" instead. The statue disappears into the city, leading him on a baffling chase, which - if he comes up with the wrong Aztec - could cost him his life.

Review quote:

"Dancing Aztecs still makes me guffaw with pleasure years after I read it." - Los Angeles Times

"Everyone who's read Donald Westlake knows he's the funniest man in the world." - The Washington Post

"Westlake has no peer in the realm of comic mystery novelists." - San Francisco Chronicle

Biographical note:

Donald E. Westlake (1933-2008) was one of the most prolific and talented authors of American crime fiction. He began his career in the late 1950s, churning out novels for pulp houses - often writing as many as four novels a year under various pseudonyms - but soon began publishing under his own name. His most well-known characters were John Dortmunder, an unlucky thief, and a ruthless criminal named Parker. His writing earned him three Edgars and a Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America.

Westlake's cinematic prose and brisk dialogue made his novels attractive to Hollywood, and several motion pictures were made from his books, with stars such as Lee Marvin and Mel Gibson. Westlake wrote several screenplays himself, receiving an Academy Award nomination for his adaptation of The Grifters, Jim Thompson's noir classic.

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Cover zur kostenlosen eBook-Leseprobe von »Why Me?«

Why Me?

Bastei Entertainment | The Dortmunder Novels (Mysterious Press)


Dortmunder draws international attention when he steals the wrong ring

The Byzantine Fire is much more than a ninety-carat ruby. As a stone it's worth over a million dollars, a value vastly increased by its pure gold band- but its history makes it priceless. A ring that has been fought for with sword and pen, and passed from nation to nation by all manner of theft and trickery, it finally made its way to the United States. The US has agreed to return it to Turkey, but it's about to be stolen twice more.

A gang of Greeks armed with Sten guns burst into the security room at JFK Airport and escape with the priceless stone, which they deposit in the safe at a small jeweler's shop in Queens. A few hours later, unlucky thief John Dortmunder, expecting a routine robbery, steals it again. Much blood has been shed for this little ruby, and Dortmunder's could be next.

Review quote:

"A perfect formula thriller, only Westlake yanks the formula inside out!" - Newsweek

"I found myself racing along with pleasure and gratitude." - New York Times

"[Westlake's] most durable character. ... Whatever can go wrong in the man's elaborate attempts at larceny invariably does, and in the most amusing and unexpected ways possible." - Los Angeles Times

Biographical note:

Donald E. Westlake (1933-2008) was one of the most prolific and talented authors of American crime fiction. He began his career in the late 1950s, churning out novels for pulp houses- often writing as many as four novels a year under various pseudonyms- but soon began publishing under his own name. His most well known characters were John Dortmunder, an unlucky thief, and a ruthless criminal named Parker. His writing earned him three Edgars and a Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America.

Westlake's cinematic prose and brisk dialogue made his novels attractive to Hollywood, and several motion pictures were made from them, with stars such as Lee Marvin and Mel Gibson. Westlake wrote several screenplays himself, receiving an Academy Award nomination for his adaptation of The Grifters, Jim Thompson's noir classic.

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Cover zur kostenlosen eBook-Leseprobe von »The Hot Rock«

The Hot Rock

Bastei Entertainment | The Dortmunder Novels (Mysterious Press)


Fresh out of prison, Dortmunder plans a heist that could mean war.

John Dortmunder leaves jail with ten dollars, a train ticket, and nothing to make money on but his good name. Thankfully, his reputation goes far. No one plans a caper better than Dortmunder. His friend Kelp picks him up in a stolen Cadillac and drives him away from Sing-Sing, telling a story of a §500,000 emerald that they just have to steal. Dortmunder doesn't hesitate to agree.

The emerald is the crown jewel of a former British colony, lately granted independence and split into two nations: one for the Talabwo people, one for the Akinzi. The Akinzi have the stone, the Talabwo want it back, and their UN representative offers a fine payday to the men who can get it. It's not a simple heist, but after a few years in stir, Dortmunder could use the challenge.

Review quote:

"Westlake's novel comes awesomely close to the ultimate in comic, big-caper novels; it's so filled with action and imagination." - The New York Times Book Review

"Westlake is a master hand at the running gag this Westlake brought on such a case of the laughing bends that I required decompression." - The Washington Post

Biographical note:

Donald E. Westlake (1933-2008) was one of the most prolific and talented authors of American crime fiction. He began his career in the late 1950s, churning out novels for pulp houses-often writing as many as four novels a year under various pseudonyms-but soon began publishing under his own name. His most well-known characters were John Dortmunder, an unlucky thief, and a ruthless criminal named Parker. His writing earned him three Edgars and a Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America.

Westlake's cinematic prose and brisk dialogue made his novels attractive to Hollywood, and several motion pictures were made from his books, with stars such as Lee Marvin and Mel Gibson. Westlake wrote several screenplays himself, receiving an Academy Award nomination for his adaptation of The Grifters, Jim Thompson's noir classic.

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Cover zur kostenlosen eBook-Leseprobe von »Jimmy the Kid«

Jimmy the Kid

Bastei Entertainment | The Dortmunder Novels (Mysterious Press)


Taking cues from a pulp novel, Dortmunder arranges a kidnapping

Kelp has a plan, and John Dortmunder knows that means trouble. His friend Kelp is a jinx, and his schemes, no matter how well intentioned, tend to spiral quickly out of control. But this one, Kelp swears, is airtight. He read it in a book.

In county lock-up for a traffic charge, Kelp came across a library of trashy novels by an author named Richard Stark. The hero is a thief named Parker whose plans, unlike Kelp and Dortmunder's, always work out. In one, Parker orchestrates a kidnapping so brilliant that, Kelp thinks, it would have to work in real life. Though offended that his usual role as planner has been usurped, Dortmunder agrees to try using the novel as a blueprint. Unfortunately, what's simple on the page turns complex in real life, and there is no book to guide him through the madness he's signed on for.

Review quote:

"Great entertainment." - Publishers Weekly

"[Westlake's] most durable character. Whatever can go wrong in the man's elaborate attempts at larceny invariably does, and in the most amusing and unexpected ways possible." - Los Angeles Times

"Westlake has no peer in the realm of comic mystery novelists." - San Francisco Chronicle

Biographical note:

Donald E. Westlake (1933-2008) was one of the most prolific and talented authors of American crime fiction. He began his career in the late 1950s, churning out novels for pulp houses- often writing as many as four novels a year under various pseudonyms- but soon began publishing under his own name. His most well-known characters were John Dortmunder, an unlucky thief, and a ruthless criminal named Parker. His writing earned him three Edgars and a Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America.

Westlake's cinematic prose and brisk dialogue made his novels attractive to Hollywood, and several motion pictures were made from his books, with stars such as Lee Marvin and Mel Gibson. Westlake wrote several screenplays himself, receiving an Academy Award nomination for his adaptation of The Grifters, Jim Thompson's noir classic.

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Cover zur kostenlosen eBook-Leseprobe von »Good Behavior«

Good Behavior

Bastei Entertainment | The Dortmunder Novels (Mysterious Press)


Dortmunder agrees to do a dangerous favor for a gang of nuns

It was supposed to be a simple caviar heist. Dortmunder is almost in the building when the alarm sounds, forcing him up the fire escape and onto the roof. He leaps onto the next building, smashing his ankle and landing in the den of the worst kind of creature he can imagine: nuns.

Although decades removed from his Catholic orphanage, Dortmunder still trembles before the sisters' habits. But these nuns are kinder than the ones he grew up with. They bandage his wound, let him rest, and don't call the cops- for a price. The father of the youngest member of their order, disgusted by their vow of silence, has kidnapped his daughter, locked her in a tightly guarded penthouse apartment, and is attempting to convince her to renounce her faith. The nuns ask Dortmunder to rescue the girl. It's an impossible assignment- but one he cannot refuse.

Review quote:

"Dortmunder is back- hurrah! Brilliantly done." - The New York Times Book Review

"[Westlake's] most durable character.... Whatever can go wrong in the man's elaborate attempts at larceny invariably does, and in the most amusing and unexpected ways possible." - Los Angeles Times

"Westlake has no peer in the realm of comic mystery novelists." - San Francisco Chronicle

Biographical note:

Donald E. Westlake (1933-2008) was one of the most prolific and talented authors of American crime fiction. He began his career in the late 1950s, churning out novels for pulp houses- often writing as many as four novels a year under various pseudonyms- but soon began publishing under his own name. His most well-known characters were John Dortmunder, an unlucky thief, and a ruthless criminal named Parker. His writing earned him three Edgars and a Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America.

Westlake's cinematic prose and brisk dialogue made his novels attractive to Hollywood, and several motion pictures were made from his books, with stars such as Lee Marvin and Mel Gibson. Westlake wrote several screenplays himself, receiving an Academy Award nomination for his adaptation of The Grifters, Jim Thompson's noir classic.

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Cover zur kostenlosen eBook-Leseprobe von »Drowned Hopes«

Drowned Hopes

Bastei Entertainment | The Dortmunder Novels (Mysterious Press)


An old cellmate asks Dortmunder for help robbing a reservoir.

In his day, Tom was a hard man. He came up with Dillinger in the 1930s, and pulled a lot of high-profile jobs before the state put him away. They meant it to be for good, but after twenty-three years the prisons are too crowded for seventy-year-old bank robbers, and so they let the old man go. Finally free, he heads straight for John Dortmunder's house.

Long ago, Tom buried $700,000, and now he needs help digging it up. While he was inside, the government dammed a nearby river, creating a reservoir and putting fifty feet of water on top of his money. He wants to blow the dam, drown the villagers, and move to Acapulco. If Dortmunder wants a clean conscience to go along with his share, he needs to find a nice way to get the money before Tom's nasty instincts get the best of both of them.

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Cover zur kostenlosen eBook-Leseprobe von »Two Much!«

Two Much!

Bastei Entertainment


A ruse to bed a pair of twins quickly grows complicated.

Art doesn't mean to tell Liz Kerwin that he has a twin. He's on Fire Island, and she's so beautiful that he's willing to say anything for a chance at getting rid of her clothes. So when Liz mentions an identical twin sister, Art blurts out that he has a twin too. His name is Bart, he says, and describes the most boring man he can dream up. Liz thinks he would be perfect for her sister Betty.

When Art meets Betty -who is, of course, just as lovely as her twin -she asks about his brother. Hoping for a chance at the family fortune, Art dons a pair of glasses, slicks back his hair, and soon has "Bart" engaged to the sister. As his simple lie spins out of control, Art learns that wooing sisters is never as easy as it seems.

Review Quote:

"Under any name, Westlake was a grandmaster." - Los Angeles Times

"Donald E. Westlake writes a comic novel so well it's a wonder he bothers with crime at all." - Newsweek

"Westlake has no peer in the realm of comic mystery novelists." - San Francisco Chronicle

Biographical note:

Donald E. Westlake (1933-2008) was one of the most prolific and talented authors of American crime fiction. He began his career in the late 1950s, churning out novels for pulp houses-often writing as many as four novels a year under various pseudonyms-but soon began publishing under his own name. His most well-known characters were John Dortmunder, an unlucky thief, and a ruthless criminal named Parker. His writing earned him three Edgars and a Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America.

Westlake's cinematic prose and brisk dialogue made his novels attractive to Hollywood, and several motion pictures were made from his books, with stars such as Lee Marvin and Mel Gibson. Westlake wrote several screenplays himself, receiving an Academy Award nomination for his adaptation of The Grifters, Jim Thompson's noir classic.

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Cover zur kostenlosen eBook-Leseprobe von »The Busy Body«

The Busy Body

Bastei Entertainment


A mob boss's right-hand man must track down a missing cache of heroin.

The corpse isn't anybody special - a low-level drug courier - but it has been so long since the organization's last grand funeral that Nick Rovito decides to give the departed a big send-off. He pays for a huge church, a procession of Cadillacs, and an ocean of flowers, and enjoys the affair until he learns the dead man is going to his grave wearing the blue suit. Rovito summons Engel, his right-hand man, and tells him to get a shovel.

Inside the lining of the blue suit jacket is §250,000 worth of uncut heroin, smuggled back from Baltimore the day the courier died. When Engel's shovel strikes coffin, he braces himself for the encounter with the dead man. But the coffin is empty, the heroin gone, and Engel has no choice but to track down the missing body or face his boss's wrath.

Review Quote:

"Under any name, Westlake was a grandmaster." - Los Angeles Times

"Donald E. Westlake writes a comic novel so well it's a wonder he bothers with crime at all." - Newsweek

"Westlake has no peer in the realm of comic mystery novelists." - San Francisco Chronicle

Biographical note:

Donald E. Westlake (1933-2008) was one of the most prolific and talented authors of American crime fiction. He began his career in the late 1950s, churning out novels for pulp houses - often writing as many as four novels a year under various pseudonyms - but soon began publishing under his own name. His most well-known characters were John Dortmunder, an unlucky thief, and a ruthless criminal named Parker. His writing earned him three Edgars and a Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America.

Westlake's cinematic prose and brisk dialogue made his novels attractive to Hollywood, and several motion pictures were made from his books, with stars such as Lee Marvin and Mel Gibson. Westlake wrote several screenplays himself, receiving an Academy Award nomination for his adaptation of The Grifters, Jim Thompson's noir classic.

wn the missing body or face his boss's wrath.

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