The Getaway Car

A Donald Westlake Nonfiction Miscellany

Donald E. Westlake

Donald E. Westlake

Edited and with an Introduction by Levi Stahl
With a Foreword by Lawrence Block
256 pages | 6 x 9 | © 2014
Paper $18.00 ISBN: 9780226121819 Will Publish September 2014
E-book $18.00 ISBN: 9780226121956 Will Publish September 2014
Over the course of a fifty-year career, Donald E. Westlake published nearly one hundred books, including not one but two long-running series, starring the hard-hitting Parker and the hapless John Dortmunder. In the six years since his death, Westlake’s reputation has only grown, with fans continuing to marvel at his tightly constructed plots, no-nonsense prose, and keen, even unsettling, insights into human behavior.
 
With The Getaway Car, we get our first glimpse of another side of Westlake the writer: what he did when he wasn’t busy making stuff up. And it’s fascinating. Setting previously published pieces, many little seen, alongside never-before-published material found in Westlake’s working files, the book offers a clear picture of the man behind the books—including his thoughts on his own work and that of his peers, mentors, and influences. The book opens with revealing (and funny) fragments from an unpublished autobiography, then goes on to offer an extended history of private eye fiction, a conversation among Westlake’s numerous pen names, letters to friends and colleagues, interviews, appreciations of fellow writers, and much, much more. There’s even a recipe for Sloth à la Dortmunder. Really.
 
Rounded out with a foreword by Westlake’s longtime friend Lawrence Block, The Getaway Car is a fitting capstone to a storied career and a wonderful opportunity to revel anew in the voice and sensibility of a master craftsman.
Charles Ardai
“Westlake was a treasure and a delight to read—the man was incapable of writing a paragraph without being witty and memorable and wise—and Westlake on Westlake is enjoyable in the extreme.”
Publishers Weekly
"Delightful and revealing. . . . A must-have for Westlake fans."
Lawrence Block, from the foreword
“Stahl has done a superb job of . . . separating the best of the wheat from the rest of the wheat—Don didn’t do chaff—and organizing and notating the result.”
David Morrell, author of First Blood
“I never met anyone who spoke about writing with greater wit or wisdom than Don Westlake. Reading these essays makes me feel as if, once again, he is talking to me, making me laugh as I learn.”
Kirkus
“Westlake kept a list of possible book titles, the last of which was Read Me. It would have been just the right one for this bright, witty book.”
Ed Gorman
“A serious, hilarious, penetrating look at the process of writing and the soul of the person creating it. Westlake’s analysis of genre fiction, especially crime fiction, is unmatched. Levi Stahl should win the Edgar for his magnificent work. A masterpiece.”
Booklist
“An absolute must-read for Westlake’s legion of fans, this wonderful collection showcases the late mystery writer’s nonfiction skills. . . . Westlake’s writing here is as compelling, as seemingly effortlessly entertaining, as it is in his fiction. A great collection and a reminder of just how talented an author Westlake was.”
Contents

Foreword by Lawrence Block
Editor’s Introduction

1 My Second Life: Fragments from an Autobiography

2 Donald E. Westlake, a.k.a. . . .
Hearing Voices in My Head: Tucker Coe, Timothy J. Culver, Richard Stark and Donald E. Westlake
Living with a Mystery Writer, by Abby Adams
Writers on Writing: A Pseudonym Returns From an Alter-Ego Trip, With New Tales to Tell

3 So Tell Me about This Job We’re Gonna Pull: On Genre
The Hardboiled Dicks
Introduction to Murderous Schemes
Introduction to The Best American Mystery Stories, 2000
Don’t Call Us, We’ll Call You

4 Ten Most Wanted: Ten Favorite Mystery Books

5 Returning to the Scene of the Crime: On His Own Work
Introduction to Levine
Tangled Webs for Sale: Best Offer
Introduction to Kahawa
Light
Hooked
Letter to Howard B. Gotlieb, Boston University Libraries

6 Lunch Break: May’s Famous Tuna Casserole

7 The Other Guys in the String: Peers, Favorites, and Influences
Lawrence Block: First Sighting
On Peter Rabe
Playing Politics with a Master of Dialogue: On George V. Higgins
On Rex Stout
Introduction to Jack Ritchie’s A New Leaf and Other Stories
Foreword to Thurber on Crime
Introduction to Charles Willeford’s The Way We Die Now
On Stephen Frears
John D. MacDonald: A Remembrance

8 Coffee Break: Letter to Ray Broekel

9 Anything You Say May Be Used against You: Interviews
An Inside Look at Donald Westlake, by Albert Nussbaum, 81332-132
The Worst Happens: From an Interview by Patrick McGilligan

10 Midnight Snack: Gustatory Notes from All Over

11 Side Jobs: Prison Breaks, Movie Mobsters, and Radio Comedy
Break-Out
Love Stuff, Cops-and-Robbers Style
Send In the Goons

12 Signed Confessions: Letters
To Judy ?
To Peter Gruber
To James Hale
To Stephen and Tabitha King
To Brian Garfield
To David Ramus
To Pam Vesey
To Gary Salt
To Henry Morrison
To Jon L. Breen

13 Jobs Never Pulled: Title Ideas
Crime Titles
Comic Crime Titles

14 Death Row (Or, The Happily Ever Afterlife): Letter to Ralph L. Woods

Acknowledgments
Credits
Name Index

For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
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