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The Cutie (1960)

by Donald E. Westlake(Favorite Author)
3.76 of 5 Votes: 5
0843961147 (ISBN13: 9780843961140)
Hard Case Crime
Hard Case Crime
review 1: Westlake, Donald E. THE CUTIE. (Orig. 1960; Reprint 2009). ****. Donald Westlake’s passing recently has left a big hole in the world of crime fiction. He was a master of dialog and a clever deviser of plots involving human foibles and weaknesses. This book from Hard Case Crime is a reprint of Westlake’s 1960 novel, originally titled, “The Mercenaries.” The hero of the novel is a man named Clay, who worked for the Syndicate in NYC. He was the right-hand man of the head of the operation. When something needed to be done, he did it. He obeyed orders. When someone needed to stop breathing, he took care of it. Suddenly he finds himself in the middle of two killings and the police are on his case – hard. The first killing was of a young actress named Mavis... more St. Paul. She was an aspiring actress and a rich man’s mistress. Now she was dead; stabbed in her apartment. The man accused was a guy called Billy-Billy. He had that nickname because he stuttered. He woke up to find the dead woman next to him, and he had no idea how he even got to her apartment. Of course, he had been stoned to the gills the night before, so what could he expect. He decided to flee the scene, but not yet being fully aware of his surroundings, left his hat – with his name in the inside – in the apartment. He fled to Clay’s apartment. He tells him what happens, but then disappears. The police, of course, are on him immediately, and look forward to a fast closing of a murder case. The big boss, however, decides that Clay has to find Billy-Billy first and take care of him. He knows too much to be picked up by the cops. The chase for Billy-Billy suddenly becomes a chase for the real killer once Billy-Billy is found murdered in an unused subway station. Clay has to find the right guy because he has forced the exposure of the syndicate’s operations and helped put pressure on them from the police. This all turns out into a story of bad guys looking for bad guys, and the ultimate results of the search. Westlake manages to carry us along with him at breakneck speed, in spite of a lot of illogical moves on the part of our starring antihero. This is good early Westlake. Recommended.
review 2: This manuscript was discovered, undated, after science-fiction superstar Zelazny's death. The protagonist, art dealer Ovid Wiley, resembles Zelazny's princes of Amber--he makes his own rules and doesn't care too much about what other people think. When a dead body is found in his New York gallery, Ovid doesn't want to admit to the police that the victim was once his accomplice in art theft. Bailed out by the CIA in return for a little favor, he's sent to Italy, where he meets Maria, the victim's old girlfriend, now in love with a young priest who has disappeared, along with a helping of the Vatican's money. Several dead bodies later, Ovid and Maria are bound for Brazil, looking for the priest's brother, and finding only more trouble. less
Reviews (see all)
Quality hard-boiled crime from Mr. Westlake. No match for his Parker books, but fun nonetheless.
early Westlake! mob tale with class.
This one makes you feel dirty....
Hard Case Crime #53
It's a tweest!
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