cover image Double Feature

Double Feature

Donald E. Westlake. Hard Case Crime, $10.95 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-1-78565-720-7

In this pairing of Hollywood-themed short novels from 1977, MWA Grandmaster Westlake (1933–2008) effortlessly demonstrates that what’s old is new again. In Travesty, New York movie critic Carey Thorpe drops cinematic allusions left and right as he tries to dodge a murder rap. He did hit Laura Penny, one of his girlfriends, but didn’t plan on her head smashing against the coffee table—and even as he cooks up an alibi, a PI shows up who knows he was in her apartment. With all the clues and misdirection, the narrative is a huge treat for mystery fans, especially when Carey begins going out to crime scenes with the investigating officers and uses his observational abilities to crack the cases. (Westlake even includes a locked room murder.) Ordo, the second half of the double feature, poignantly sketches in what happens when the sailor Ordo Tupikos discovers that his former teen bride has become the sex symbol movie star Dawn Devayne. Why did he stay the same? Travesty is the perfect starting place for readers new to Westlake. (Feb.)