Donald E. Westlake
Grand Central, Jul 2009, $23.99
New York cabbie Stan Murch’s mom takes Get Real reality-show company producer Doug Fairkeep from the airport to Manhattan. They talk during the drive about his show and she persuades Doug to use her son Stan as a getaway driver and his cohorts as a segment on the show of criminals planning a heist. The next day mom talks to Doug and Dortmunder. They agree with mom that they can make some money using their previous financial activities in a sort of mockudrama. Dortmunder lines up Kelp, Tiny and the Kid about the gig and they agree to do it.
While Dortmunder and crew work on the details of the robbery with Get Real to include stealing from the firm for the camera and working with a real actor and a gun moll, they plot a real theft of the company’s valuable assets at their Varick Street warehouse. After the TV script is changed and killed and resuscitated by the hour, they finally begin to shoot the TV robbery at the same Dortmunder and the gang executes the real robbery.
With this excellent comedic satirical final Dortmunder crime caper, the late Donald E. Westlake, who died in January, pays homage to himself as he adds to his tremendous legacy. The story line is terrific as once again Dortmunder and his cronies come across as eccentric individuals whose relationship is humorous with a strong belief this time they will pull off the real heist due to Fairkeep’s superego. Additionally, WHAT’S SO FUNNY is the mocking of reality TV to GET REAL as Mr. Westlake provides a great final Dortmunder; a tribute to one of the best mystery writers in the past few decades.