The author of original and literate suspense novels, Westlake excels also at creating mystery adventures in science-fiction settings. The selections in this volume, nine short stories and a book-length story, Anarchaos , originally appeared in SF magazines. Anarchy/chaos is the condition of society on the planet where Rolf Malone arrives from Earth after serving time for murder. While he lacks most human emotions, Rolf does love his brother Gar who was killed on Anarchaos, and he is bent on vegeance. Westlake conveys unbridled horror as the lone Earthling, though cunning and violent, is outnumbered by creatures of Hell, the city where events reach a climax. Both the novella and a much shorter cautionary tale, ``Hydra,'' carry an implied warning about future life in a polluted world. Other entries relieve the grimness, displaying the author's sense of humor, particularly in a sendup of Hammett's fat man seeking the fabled bird and Poe's detective spotting the missing paper, ``The Ultimate Caper: The Purloined Letter.'' (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1989 Release date: 10/01/1989 Genre: Fiction
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