THE ROAD TO RUIN
In this boisterous 11th outing (after 2001's Bad News ) featuring John Dortmunder, Westlake's hapless crook and his gang decide to hire on as live-in staff to a wealthy corporate crook as a way to get access to, and ultimately steal, his collection of antique cars. Then things start to crumble, as they tend to do around Dortmunder. Not his fault, of course. Who could know that three other sets of people are also plotting revenge on this same crook? Or that these other bozos would kidnap the crook, thereby bringing the police onto the scene just at the wrong time? And who could have predicted that Dortmunder would be kidnapped right along with the boss? The only thing we know for sure is, it's all funny. Nobody does comic capers better than Westlake. This one unfolds with such cinematic energy that we don't so much read it as watch while the players race around the countryside and almost bang into each other. Sparkling droplets of Westlake wit abound: a fence named Honest Irving, a small Pennsylvania town named Shickshinny, a security guard named Mort Pessle and Dortmunder's gargantuan pal Tiny, who "didn't so much sit in an automobile as wear it." Almost everyone comes out at the end with dignity and limbs intact, but with no loot. The good news for readers is that Dortmunder is free to try again another day. (Apr. 21)
FYI: A Dortmunder story collection , Thieves' Dozen (Forecasts, Mar. 8), is being released simultaneously.
Release date: 04/01/2004