Sunday, January 11, 2009

A Tribute to Donald Westlake

Crime novelist Donald E. Westlake’s death in Mexico on New Year’s Eve left the mystery-fiction community both shocked and saddened. “It just couldn’t be possible,” writes Cameron Hughes in The Rap Sheet.
It had to be a different Westlake, or The New York Times had got it wrong, playing a joke on its readership. The man was simply too vital and full of life, wasn’t he? That’s the thing: Westlake’s writing felt like the work of a man half his age, someone still hungry to make it as an author. His storytelling retained its interest right up to the end. Losing James Crumley stung. Losing Gregory Mcdonald was a blow. Losing Westlake? That hurt. Especially since he showed no signs of slowing down in his writing and never lost a step. A rare feat, indeed, dear readers.
To honor Westlake’s multitudinous contributions to crime fiction, Hughes asked dozens of the author’s colleagues and professional admirers to share their memories of him and his work. Those weighing in include Peter Robinson, Laura Lippman, Joseph Wambaugh, Cara Black, Thomas Perry, James Sallis, Ken Bruen, Ed Gorman, Lisa Lutz, and ... well, the list goes on and on.

Part I of Hughes’ tribute to Westlake can be found in The Rap Sheet here, with Part II available here.


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