361

Donald E Westlake

The men in the tan-and-cream Chrysler came with guns blazing. When Ray Kelly woke up in the hospital, it was a month later, he was missing an eye, and his father was dead.

 

Then things started to get bad.

 

If that paragraph doesn’t hook you, you don’t love hard-boiled crime.

 

This is a devastating story of betrayal and revenge, an exploration of the limits of family loyalty and how far a man will go when everything he loves is taken from him.

 

After leaving hospital Kelly vows revenge for his father’s killing and his own glass eye. He a young man, just out of the Air Force, and only just discovering his family secrets. He and his brother learn that their father was mixed up with the mob. The must first find out why he was killed and who was responsible before they can make have their revenge.

 

361 is one of Westlake's early books having been first published before Westlake penned his first Parker book The Hunter (writing as Richard Stark). Like his Stark books it’s stripped down prose is hard. Blunt. The violence is realistic, no nonsense. More like the Parker novels than the Dortmunder ones but there’re still flashes of the Westlake humour and his dialogue crackles, as ever.

About Donald E Westlake:

Donald E. Westlake  was born in 1933 in Brooklyn, New York. He died in 2008.

One of the most prolific and talented authors of American crime fiction. He began his career in the late 1950s writing for pulp houses. The best of these was the Parker series penned under the name Richard Stark.

Westlake's other well-known character was John Dortmunder, an unlucky thief.

His writing earned him three Edgar Awards: the 1968 Best Novel award for God Save the Mark and the 1990 Best Short Story award for "Too Many Crooks". In addition, Westlake also earned a Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America in 1993. Westlake's cinematic prose and brisk dialogue made his novels attractive to Hollywood, and several motion pictures were made from his books, with stars such as Lee Marvin and Mel Gibson. Westlake wrote several screenplays himself, receiving an Academy Award nomination for his adaptation of The Grifters, Jim Thompson's noir classic.