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Donald E. Westlake
|Born||Donald Edwin Westlake|
July 12, 1933
Brooklyn, New York, United States
|Died||December 31, 2008 75) (aged|
|Pen name||John B. Allan, Judson Jack Carmichael, Curt Clark, Timothy J. Culver, J. Morgan Cunningham, Richard Stark, Edwin West, among others|
|Notable works||The Hot Rock , The Grifters , The Hunter , Anarchaos|
Donald Edwin Westlake (July 12, 1933 – December 31, 2008) was an American writer, with more than a hundred novels and non-fiction books to his credit. He specialized in crime fiction, especially comic capers, with an occasional foray into science fiction and other genres. Westlake is perhaps best-remembered for creating two professional criminal characters who each starred in a long-running series: the relentless, hard-boiled Parker (published under the pen name Richard Stark), and John Dortmunder, who featured in a more humorous series.
He was a three-time Edgar Award winner, and alongside Joe Gores and William L. DeAndrea was one of few writers to win Edgars in three different categories (1968, Best Novel, God Save the Mark; 1990, Best Short Story, "Too Many Crooks"; 1991, Best Motion Picture Screenplay, The Grifters ). In 1993, the Mystery Writers of America named Westlake a Grand Master, the highest honor bestowed by the society.
Westlake was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Lillian (Bounds) and Albert Joseph Westlake,and was raised in Albany, New York.
Westlake wrote constantly in his teens, and after 200 rejections, his first short story sale was in 1954. Sporadic short story sales followed over the next few years, while Westlake attended Champlain College (a now defunct college created in the post WWII GI Bill boom) of Plattsburgh, New York,and Binghamton University in Binghamton, New York. He also spent two years in the United States Air Force.
Westlake moved to New York City in 1959, initially to work for a literary agency while writing on the side. By 1960, he was writing full-time. His first novel under his own name, The Mercenaries, was published in 1960; over the next 48 years, Westlake published a variety of novels and short stories under his own name and a number of pseudonyms.
He was married three times, the final time to Abigail Westlake (also known as Abby Adams Westlake and Abby Adams), a writer of nonfiction (her two published books are An Uncommon Scold and The Gardener's Gripe Book). The couple moved out of New York City to Ancram in upstate New York in 1990. Abby Westlake is a well-regarded gardener, and the Westlake garden has frequently been opened for public viewing in the summer.
Westlake died of a heart attack on December 31, 2008, while on the way to a New Year's Eve dinner, while he and his wife were on vacation in Mexico.
In addition to writing consistently under his own name, Westlake published under several pseudonyms.In the order they debuted:
Westlake sometimes made playful use of his pseudonyms in his work:
Additionally, Westlake conducted a mock "interview" with Richard Stark, Tucker Coe and Timothy J. Culver in an article for the non-fiction book Murder Ink: The Mystery Reader's Companion.
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. Westlake's most famous characters include the hard-boiled criminal Parker (appearing in fiction under the Richard Stark pseudonym) and Parker's comic flip-side John Dortmunder. Westlake was quoted as saying that he originally intended what became The Hot Rock to be a straightforward Parker novel, but "It kept turning funny," and thus became the first John Dortmunder novel.
Most of Donald Westlake's novels are set in New York City. In each of the Dortmunder novels, there is typically a detailed foray somewhere through the city. He wrote just two non-fiction books: Under an English Heaven, regarding the unlikely 1967 Anguillan "revolution", and a biography of Elizabeth Taylor.
Westlake was an occasional contributor to science fiction fanzines such as Xero , and used Xero as a venue for a harsh announcement that he was leaving the science fiction field.
Several of Westlake's novels have been made into motion pictures: 1967's Point Blank (based on The Hunter ) with Lee Marvin as Parker (changed to Walker); Mise à sac – entitled Le Couperet , the film takes place in France and Belgium rather than the novel's setting of New England; Parker in 2013, based on Flashfire, with Jason Statham as Parker.(based on The Score) with Michel Constantin as Parker (changed to Georges), also in 1967; 1968's The Split (from the book The Seventh) with Jim Brown as Parker (changed to McClain); The Hot Rock in 1972 with Robert Redford; Cops and Robbers in 1973; The Outfit with Robert Duvall as Parker (changed to Macklin), also in 1973; Bank Shot in 1974 with George C. Scott; The Busy Body (with an "all-star cast") in 1967; Slayground with Peter Coyote as Parker (changed to Stone) in 1983; Why Me? with Christopher Lambert, Christopher Lloyd, and J. T. Walsh in 1990; Payback in 1999, the second film made from The Hunter, with Mel Gibson as Parker (changed to Porter); What's the Worst That Could Happen? in 2001 with Martin Lawrence as Dortmunder (changed to Kevin Caffery); Constantin Costa-Gavras adapted The Ax for the European screen in 2005, to great critical and public acclaim
In his introduction to one of the short stories in Thieves' Dozen, Westlake mentioned legal troubles with Hollywood over his continued use of the Dortmunder novel characters; the movie studios attempted to assert that he had sold the rights to the characters to them permanently as a result of the Redford film.
The novel Jimmy the Kid has been adapted three times: in Italy as Come ti rapisco il pupoin 1976; in the U.S. as Jimmy the Kid in 1982, starring Gary Coleman; and in Germany as Jimmy the Kid in 1998, starring Herbert Knaup.
The novel Two Much! has been adapted twice: in France as Le Jumeau (The Twin) in 1984; and in the U.S. as Two Much in 1995, starring Antonio Banderas and Melanie Griffith.
Jean-Luc Godard's Made in U.S.A. in 1966 was an extremely loose adaptation of The Jugger. Neither the film's producer nor Godard purchased the rights to the novel, so Westlake successfully sued to prevent the film's commercial distribution in the United States.
Westlake was himself a screenwriter. His script for the 1990 film The Grifters, adapted from the novel by Jim Thompson, was nominated for an Academy Award. (Westlake the screenwriter adapted Jim Thompson's work in a straightforward manner, but Westlake the humourist played on Thompson's name later that year in the Dortmunder novel Drowned Hopes by featuring a character named "Tom Jimson" who is a criminal psychopath.) Westlake also wrote the screenplay The Stepfather (from a story by Westlake, Brian Garfield and Carolyn Lefcourt), the film of which was popular enough to inspire two sequels and a remake, projects in which Westlake was not involved.
In 1987 Westlake wrote the teleplay Fatal Confession, a pilot for the TV series Father Dowling Mysteries based on the novels by Ralph McInerny. He also appeared in a small role (as the mystery writer Rich Vincent) in the third-season episode, "The Hardboiled Mystery."
While the seventeenth James Bond film GoldenEye was in post-production, Westlake wrote story treatments for the eighteenth James Bond film (eventually titled Tomorrow Never Dies ) in collaboration with Bond series writer-producer Michael G. Wilson. None of Westlake's ideas made it into the completed film, but in 1998 the author used the first treatment as the basis for a novel, Fall of the City. The existence of the novel (and its connection to the Bond treatments) was revealed in an article published in issue #32 of the magazine MI6 Confidential; the article also provides a detailed analysis of the two treatments.Fall of the City was published under the title Forever and a Death in June 2017 by Hard Case Crime.
Westlake co-wrote the story for the pilot of the ill-fated 1979 TV series Supertrain with teleplay writer Earl W. Wallace; Westlake and Wallace shared "created by" credit.
|1959||All My Lovers||Midwood Books||Alan Marshall|
|1959||Backstage Love||Midwood Books||Alan Marshall||Phil Crawford||Also published as Apprentice Virgin|
|1959||Man Hungry||Midwood Books||Alan Marshall|
|1959||Sally||Midwood Books||Alan Marshall|
|1960||All About Annette||Midwood Books||Alan Marshall|
|1960||All the Girls Were Willing||Midwood Books||Alan Marshall||Phil Crawford||Later printed as What Girls Will Do|
|1960||A Girl Called Honey||Midwood Books||Alan Marshall & Sheldon Lord||A collaboration between Westlake and Lawrence Block|
|1960||The Mercenaries||Random House||Donald E. Westlake||Also published in the UK as The Smashers. Republished in 2009 under Westlake's preferred title, The Cutie.|
|1960||So Willing||Midwood Books||Alan Marshall & Sheldon Lord||A collaboration between Westlake and Lawrence Block|
|1960||Virgin's Summer||Midwood Books||Alan Marshall|
|1960||The Wife Next Door||Midwood Books||Alan Marshall|
|1961||Call Me Sinner||Nightstand Books||Alan Marshall|
|1961||Passion's Plaything||Bedside Books||Alan Marshall|
|1961||Off Limits||Bedside Books||Alan Marshall|
|1961||Brother and Sister||Monarch Books||Edwin West|
|1961||Campus Doll||Monarch Books||Edwin West|
|1960||Young and Innocent||Monarch Books||Edwin West|
|1961||Killing Time||Random House||Donald E. Westlake|
|1962||The Hunter||Pocket Books||Richard Stark||Parker||Later published as Point Blank and Payback. First appearance of master thief Parker.|
|1962||361||Random House||Donald E. Westlake|
|1962||Strange Affair||Monarch Books||Edwin West|
|1963||Killy||Random House||Donald E. Westlake|
|1963||Sin Prowl||Corinth Publications||Alan Marshall||Phil Crawford|
|1963||Campus Lovers||Monarch Books||Edwin West|
|1963||The Man with the Getaway Face||Pocket Books||Richard Stark||Parker||Also published in the UK as Steel Hit.|
|1963||The Outfit||Pocket Books||Richard Stark||Parker|
|1963||The Mourner||Pocket Books||Richard Stark||Parker|
|1963||The Score||Pocket Books||Richard Stark||Parker||Also published in the UK as Killtown.|
|1964||Pity Him Afterwards||Random House||Donald E. Westlake|
|1965||The Fugitive Pigeon||Random House||Donald E. Westlake|
|1965||The Jugger||Pocket Books||Richard Stark||Parker|
|1966||The Seventh||Pocket Books||Richard Stark||Parker||Later published as The Split.|
|1966||The Busy Body||Random House||Donald E. Westlake|
|1966||The Handle||Pocket Books||Richard Stark||Parker||Also published in the UK as Run Lethal.|
|1966||The Spy in the Ointment||Random House||Donald E. Westlake|
|1966||Kinds of Love, Kinds of Death||Random House||Tucker Coe||Mitchell Tobin|
|1967||Murder Among Children||Random House||Tucker Coe||Mitchell Tobin|
|1967||The Damsel||Macmillan Publishers||Richard Stark||Grofield|
|1967||The Rare Coin Score||Fawcett Books||Richard Stark||Parker|
|1967||God Save the Mark||Random House||Donald E. Westlake||Edgar Award winner for Best Novel|
|1967||Philip||Thomas Y. Crowell Co.||Donald E. Westlake|
|1967||Anarchaos||Ace Books||Curt Clark|
|1967||The Green Eagle Score||Fawcett Books||Richard Stark||Parker|
|1968||Who Stole Sassi Manoon?||Random House||Donald E. Westlake|
|1968||The Black Ice Score||Fawcett Books||Richard Stark||Parker|
|1969||The Sour Lemon Score||Fawcett Books||Richard Stark||Parker|
|1969||Somebody Owes Me Money||Random House||Donald E. Westlake|
|1969||Up Your Banners||Lancer Books||Donald E. Westlake|
|1969||The Dame||Macmillan Publishers||Richard Stark||Grofield|
|1969||The Blackbird||Macmillan Publishers||Richard Stark||Grofield|
|1970||The Hot Rock||Simon & Schuster||Donald E. Westlake||Dortmunder||Originally planned as a non-comic Parker novel; introduces John Dortmunder|
|1970||Adios Scheherazade||Simon & Schuster||Donald E. Westlake||Builds on Westlake's experiences writing soft-core porn.|
|1970||Wax Apple||Random House||Tucker Coe||Mitchell Tobin|
|1970||A Jade in Aries||Random House||Tucker Coe||Mitchell Tobin|
|1970||Ex Officio||M. Evans||Timothy J. Culver||Also published under the title Power Play.|
|1971||Lemons Never Lie||World Publishing Company||Richard Stark||Grofield|
|1971||I Gave at the Office||Simon & Schuster||Donald E. Westlake|
|1971||Deadly Edge||Random House||Richard Stark||Parker|
|1971||Slayground||Random House||Richard Stark||Parker|
|1972||Bank Shot||Simon & Schuster||Donald E. Westlake||Dortmunder|
|1972||Cops and Robbers||M. Evans||Donald E. Westlake|
|1972||Don't Lie to Me||Random House||Tucker Coe||Mitchell Tobin|
|1972||Plunder Squad||Random House||Richard Stark||Parker||Crosses over with the 1972 Joe Gores novel Dead Skip|
|1973||Comfort Station||Signet Books||J. Morgan Cunningham|
|1973||Gangway!||M. Evans||Donald E. Westlake and Brian Garfield|
|1974||Butcher's Moon||Random House||Richard Stark||Parker|
|1974||Help, I Am Being Held Prisoner||M. Evans||Donald E. Westlake|
|1974||Jimmy the Kid||M. Evans||Donald E. Westlake||Dortmunder||Includes chapters from an otherwise non-existent novel by Richard Stark entitled Child Heist.|
|1975||Two Much||M. Evans||Donald E. Westlake||Published as Double Feature in 2020 under the Hard Case Crime imprint.|
|1975||Brothers Keepers||M. Evans||Donald E. Westlake|
|1976||Dancing Aztecs||M. Evans||Donald E. Westlake|
|1977||Nobody's Perfect||M. Evans||Donald E. Westlake||Dortmunder|
|1980||Castle in the Air||M. Evans||Donald E. Westlake|
|1981||Kahawa||Viking Press||Donald E. Westlake|
|1983||Why Me?||Viking Press||Donald E. Westlake||Dortmunder|
|1984||A Likely Story||Penzler Books||Donald E. Westlake|
|1985||High Adventure||Mysterious Press||Donald E. Westlake|
|1985||Good Behavior||Mysterious Press||Donald E. Westlake||Dortmunder|
|1986||One of Us Is Wrong||Tor Books||Samuel Holt||Sam Holt|
|1986||I Know a Trick Worth Two of That||Tor Books||Samuel Holt||Sam Holt|
|1987||What I Tell You Three Times Is False||Tom Doherty Associates||Samuel Holt||Sam Holt|
|1988||Trust Me on This||Mysterious Press||Donald E. Westlake||Sara Joslyn|
|1989||Sacred Monster||Mysterious Press||Donald E. Westlake|
|1989||The Fourth Dimension Is Death||Tom Doherty Associates||Samuel Holt||Sam Holt|
|1990||Drowned Hopes||Mysterious Press||Donald E. Westlake||Dortmunder||Crosses over with the 1992 Joe Gores novel 32 Cadillacs|
|1991||The Perfect Murder: Five Great Mystery Writers Create the Perfect Crime||HarperCollins||Jack Hitt with Lawrence Block, Sarah Caudwell, Tony Hillerman, Peter Lovesey, Donald E. Westlake||Collaborative novel, devised and edited by Hitt. Westlake contributes two chapters.|
|1992||Humans||Mysterious Press||Donald E. Westlake|
|1993||Don't Ask||Mysterious Press||Donald E. Westlake||Dortmunder|
|1994||Baby, Would I Lie?||Mysterious Press||Donald E. Westlake||Sara Joslyn|
|1995||Smoke||Mysterious Press||Donald E. Westlake|
|1996||What's the Worst That Could Happen?||Mysterious Press||Donald E. Westlake||Dortmunder|
|1997||The Ax||Mysterious Press||Donald E. Westlake|
|1997||Comeback||Mysterious Press||Richard Stark||Parker|
|1998||Backflash||Mysterious Press||Richard Stark||Parker|
|2000||The Hook||Warner Books||Donald E. Westlake||Published in the UK as Corkscrew|
|2000||Flashfire||Mysterious Press||Richard Stark||Parker|
|2001||Firebreak||Warner Books||Richard Stark||Parker|
|2001||Bad News||Warner Books||Donald E. Westlake||Dortmunder|
|2002||Put a Lid on It||Warner Books||Donald E. Westlake|
|2002||Breakout||Mysterious Press||Richard Stark||Parker|
|2002||The Scared Stiff||Carroll & Graf Publishers||Judson Jack Carmichael||Published in the UK as by Donald E. Westlake|
|2003||Money for Nothing||Mysterious Press||Donald E. Westlake|
|2004||The Road to Ruin||Mysterious Press||Donald E. Westlake||Dortmunder|
|2004||Nobody Runs Forever||Mysterious Press||Richard Stark||Parker|
|2005||Watch Your Back!||Mysterious Press||Donald E. Westlake||Dortmunder|
|2006||Ask the Parrot||Mysterious Press||Richard Stark||Parker|
|2007||What's So Funny?||Warner Books||Donald E. Westlake||Dortmunder|
|2008||Dirty Money||Grand Central Publishing||Richard Stark||Parker|
|2009||Get Real||Grand Central Publishing||Donald E. Westlake||Dortmunder|
|2010||Memory||Hard Case Crime||Donald E. Westlake||Written in the 1960s, published posthumously.|
|2012||The Comedy Is Finished||Hard Case Crime||Donald E. Westlake||Written in the early 1980s, published posthumously.|
|2017||Forever and a Death||Hard Case Crime||Donald E. Westlake||Written in 1998, published posthumously.|
Dean Ray Koontz is an American author. His novels are billed as suspense thrillers, but frequently incorporate elements of horror, fantasy, science fiction, mystery, and satire. Many of his books have appeared on The New York Times Best Seller list, with 14 hardcovers and 16 paperbacks reaching the number-one position. Koontz wrote under a number of pen names earlier in his career, including "David Axton", "Deanna Dwyer", "K.R. Dwyer", "Leigh Nichols", and "Brian Coffey". He has published over 105 novels, a number of novellas and collections of short stories, and has sold over 450 million copies of his work.
Richard Bachman is a pen name used by horror fiction author Stephen King.
Ellery Queen is a pseudonym created in 1929 by crime fiction writers Frederic Dannay and Manfred Bennington Lee and the name of their main fictional character, a mystery writer in New York City who helps his police inspector father solve baffling murders. Dannay and Lee wrote most of the more than thirty novels and several short story collections in which Ellery Queen appeared as a character, and their books were among the most popular of American mysteries published between 1929 and 1971. In addition to the fiction featuring their eponymous brilliant amateur detective, the two men acted as editors: as Ellery Queen they edited more than thirty anthologies of crime fiction and true crime, and Dannay founded and for many decades edited Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, which has been published continuously from 1941 to the present. From 1961, Dannay and Lee also commissioned other authors to write crime thrillers using the Ellery Queen nom de plume, but not featuring Ellery Queen as a character; several juvenile novels were credited to Ellery Queen, Jr. Finally, the prolific duo wrote four mysteries under the pseudonym Barnaby Ross.
The caper story is a subgenre of crime fiction. The typical caper story involves one or more crimes perpetrated by the main characters in full view of the reader. The actions of police or detectives attempting to prevent or solve the crimes may also be chronicled, but are not the main focus of the story.
James Myers Thompson was an American author and screenwriter, known for his hardboiled crime fiction.
Spider Robinson is an American-born Canadian science fiction author. He has won a number of awards for his hard science fiction and humorous stories, including the Hugo Award 1977 and 1983, and another Hugo with his co-author and wife Jeanne Robinson in 1978.
Ed McBain was an American author and screenwriter. Born Salvatore Albert Lombino, he legally adopted the name Evan Hunter in 1952. While successful and well known as Evan Hunter, he was even better known as Ed McBain, a name he used for most of his crime fiction, beginning in 1956. He also used the pen names John Abbott, Curt Cannon, Hunt Collins, Ezra Hannon, and Richard Marsten, amongst others. His 87th Precinct novels have become staples of the police procedural genre.
The Grifters is a 1990 American neo-noir crime thriller film directed by Stephen Frears, produced by Martin Scorsese, and starring John Cusack, Anjelica Huston and Annette Bening. The screenplay was written by Donald E. Westlake, based on Jim Thompson's 1963 novel of the same name.
The Dark Half is a horror novel by American writer Stephen King, published in 1989. Publishers Weekly listed The Dark Half as the second best-selling book of 1989 behind Tom Clancy's Clear and Present Danger. The novel was adapted into a feature film of the same name in 1993.
Ross Macdonald is the main pseudonym that was used by the American-Canadian writer of crime fiction Kenneth Millar. He is best known for his series of hardboiled novels set in Southern California and featuring private detective Lew Archer.
Parker is a fictional character created by American novelist Donald E. Westlake (1933-2008). A professional thief, Parker is the main protagonist of 24 of the 28 novels Westlake wrote under the pseudonym Richard Stark.
Lawrence Block is an American crime writer best known for two long-running New York–set series about the recovering alcoholic P.I. Matthew Scudder and the gentleman burglar Bernie Rhodenbarr. Block was named a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America in 1994.
Brian Francis Wynne Garfield was an American novelist and screenwriter. He wrote his first published book at the age of 18 and wrote many novels under such pen names as "Frank Wynne" and "'Brian Wynne" before gaining prominence when his book Hopscotch (1975) won the 1976 Edgar Award for Best Novel. He is best known for his 1972 novel Death Wish, which was adapted for the 1974 film of the same title, followed by four sequels, and the 2018 remake. His follow-up 1975 sequel to Death Wish, Death Sentence, was very loosely adapted into the 2007 film of the same name; it had an entirely different storyline, but with the novel's same look on vigilantism. Garfield is also the author of The Thousand-Mile War: World War II in Alaska and the Aleutians, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for History. Garfield's latest book, published in 2007, is Meinertzhagen, the biography of controversial British intelligence officer Richard Meinertzhagen.
The Hunter (1962) is a crime thriller novel, written by Donald E. Westlake under the pseudonym Richard Stark. It is the first of the novels featuring career criminal Parker.
John Archibald Dortmunder is a fictional character created by Donald E. Westlake, and who is the protagonist of 14 novels and 11 short stories published between 1970 and 2009. He first appeared in the novel The Hot Rock, published in 1970.
Patrick Quentin, Q. Patrick and Jonathan Stagge were pen names under which Hugh Callingham Wheeler, Richard Wilson Webb, Martha Mott Kelley and Mary Louise White Aswell wrote detective fiction. In some foreign countries their books have been published under the variant Quentin Patrick. Most of the stories were written by Webb and Wheeler in collaboration, or by Wheeler alone. Their most famous creation is the amateur sleuth Peter Duluth. In 1963, the story collection The Ordeal of Mrs. Snow was given a Special Edgar Award by the Mystery Writers of America.
Alan Grofield is a fictional character created by Donald E. Westlake. He is the main protagonist of four of the 28 novels Westlake has written under the pseudonym Richard Stark, and a supporting character in an additional four. Grofield's first appearance was in the novel The Score, which was published in 1964.
The Man with the Getaway Face (1963) is a crime thriller novel, written by Donald E. Westlake under the pseudonym Richard Stark and published by Pocket Books. It was also published under the title The Steel Hit. It is the second of the Parker novels.
Richard Stark's Parker: The Hunter is a 2009 graphic novel by Darwyn Cooke, an adaptation of the first Parker novel The Hunter written by Donald E. Westlake under the pseudonym Richard Stark.
John George Reitci was an American writer of detective fiction who wrote under the name Jack Ritchie. Although he wrote one novel, he was primarily known for his vast output of short stories.
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