The Getaway Car: A Donald Westlake Nonfiction Miscellany

Edited by Levi Stahl. Univ. of Chicago, $18 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-0-226-12181-9
Mystery Writers of America Grand Master Donald Westlake (1933–2008) didn’t have an inflated opinion of his own work, as suggested by several of the delightful and revealing selections chosen by editor Stahl. Speaking as Timothy J. Culver, one of his alter egos, he says: “I write what other people want me to write. I’m a hack, I’m making a living.” However, Westlake worked diligently at his craft and was employed as an associate editor at the Scott Meredith Literary Agency, which he joined in 1958. He wrote his first short stories there (for $50 each) and quit the agency after he completed his first “sex novel” for $600. Westlake’s outpouring of half-a-million words in 1959 resulted in 46 short stories and novelettes, 27 of which were published. The author’s quick wit is displayed throughout this collection, whether discussing his own fiction or the work of other writers, such as George V. Higgins and Rex Stout. He also touches on his relationship with films and filmmaking, and with peers such as Lawrence Block and John D. MacDonald. Block contributes an insightful foreword, and Westlake’s wife, Abby Adams, offers her perspective on living with Westlake’s various selves, as exemplified by his multiple characters and aliases. This is a must-have for Westlake fans. Agent: Molly Reese, Einstein Thompson Agency. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 06/09/2014
Release date: 09/01/2014
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