No mystery reader is worth their salt if they haven’t read at least two of Donald Westlake’s Dormunder books and two of his Parker books written under the name of Richard Stark. Of course that’s a dirty trick because you won’t be able to read just two.
Donald Westlake (1933 – 2008) was a brilliant author of over one hundred books. Wikipedia says: Donald Westlake was known for the great ingenuity of his plots and the audacity of his gimmicks. His writing and dialogue are lively. His main characters are fully rounded, believable, and clever.”
“Whatever Stark writes, I read. He’s a stylist, a pro, and I thoroughly enjoy his attitude.”—Elmore Leonard
“Richard Stark’s Parker novels … are among the most poised and polished fictions of their time and, in fact, of any time.”—John Banville, Bookforum”—
“Parker is a true treasure. … The master thief is back, along with Richard Stark.”—Marilyn Stasio, New York Times Book Review”—
About the Dortmunder books – This is what Westlake has to say:
“Those 4 guys in the late 60’s who attacked a jewel merchant on New York’s West 46th St. on the sidewalk, so they could steal his jewel-filled station wagon, which they abandoned 2 blocks later because none of them could drive a stick shift. Where would I be without such people?” – Donald E. Westlake
But one of my favorite Westlake books ever is a stand-alone. If you pick it up, plan on uncontrollable laughter and staying up all night reading.