Drowned Hopes

Donald E. Westlake, Author
Donald E. Westlake, Author Mysterious Press $32 (432p) ISBN 978-0-89296-178-8
Reviewed on: 03/31/1990
Release date: 04/01/1990
Westlake here brings back decent, smart and unlucky John Dortmunder for a seventh adventure. After a typically unrewarding night of attempted burglary, Dortmunder comes home to find ex-cellmate Tom Jimson ensconced in the living room. Jimson, given a 70th-birthday release from an overcrowded state prison, is as calmly venal and vicious as ever as he asks Dortmunder's help in reclaiming a $700,000 stash from an old robbery. The loot was buried in an upstate New York town that was subsequently flooded to become part of New York City's reservoir system. Jimson's plan to blow up the reservoir dam will doom nearby towns, so Dortmunder must concoct a more humane solution. A motley cast turning through a dizzying variety of plot twists will keep readers laughing. Most risible is the perfectly sensible bewilderment of Westlake's Runyonesque New Yorkers at life upstate: ``If we stay here much longer, we'll start buying one another birthday cards.'' Vintage Westlake. (Apr.)
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