Read What's The Worst That Could Happen? by Donald E. Westlake Online


It started with a ring. A cheap ring. The yellow metal said brass, not gold, and the sparkly bits were certainly not diamonds. But the ring belonged to May's horseplaying uncle, who swore it brought good luck. Dortmunder, who wouldn't kick a little good luck out of bed, puts it to the test when he goes to burglarize Long Island billionaire Max Fairbanks. As luck would haveIt started with a ring. A cheap ring. The yellow metal said brass, not gold, and the sparkly bits were certainly not diamonds. But the ring belonged to May's horseplaying uncle, who swore it brought good luck. Dortmunder, who wouldn't kick a little good luck out of bed, puts it to the test when he goes to burglarize Long Island billionaire Max Fairbanks. As luck would have it, Dortmunder is greeted by Fairbanks himself - and a loaded gun - as soon as he strolls through the door. When the cops arrive, the mogul adds insult to injury by claiming that Dortmunder's lucky ring is actually his. Big mistake, big guy. As soon as Dortmunder can give the cops the slip, the world's most single-minded burglar goes after the fat cat with a vengeance and a team of crooks that only he can assemble. And from the get go everything will go Dortmunder's way - everything, that is, except the ring....

Title : What's The Worst That Could Happen?
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780892965861
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 373 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

What's The Worst That Could Happen? Reviews

  • Steven Harbin
    2019-03-21 22:45

    This is either the 2nd or 3rd time I've read this book, 9th in the Dortmunder series. It was the very first book of the series I ever read, years ago, and remains one of my all time favorites. When the hapless thief John Dortmunder is caught by a rich guy while burglarizing one of said wealthy jerk about the world Max Fairbank's many corporate houses, Dortmunder is prepared to meekly accept the consequences. That is, until Max forces Dortmunder to hand over a ring he is wearing (a gift from his loyal companion May) in effect stealing from the thief, as the police haul Dortmunder away. The enraged and embarrassed Dortmunder then decides to stop at nothing until he gets the ring back. After he escapes from a moving police car, the fun begins. This isn't a typical Dortmunder novel in some ways, as the caper in this one eventually involves many of the characters from previous novels in the series, so in some ways it's a reunion novel of sorts. I actually think it's a pretty good intro to the series even though it's no. 9.The villain, the aforementioned Max Fairbanks is one of the more easy to dislike guys in the series, and I noted that I enjoyed it whenever anything bad happened to him. Schadenfreude much, anyone?At any rate, an enjoyable book by one of the greatest of the crime fiction writers. If you've never read anything by Donald Westlake or his pseudonym Richard Stark, then I highly recommend him and his works.

  • Sherwood Smith
    2019-03-08 05:52

    Supposing you like caper novels, you have your favorite. Everyone I've every talked to who likes caper stories has their particular favorite, the perfect caper story.This one is mine.I've read most of Westlake's work, and I much prefer the comedy; there's one other I enjoy enough to reread, and I'll review it when I reread it next.This one has all the elements I enjoy. It starts off with sad sack John Dortmunder being given a ring by his friend May, then embarking with a friend on a spot of burglary at an upscale house that is supposed to be empty. Except that the owner, the nasty billionaire Max Fairbanks, is there--pulls a gun on Dortmunder--and when the police come, steals the ring off Dortmunder's hand.The rest of the novel is Dortmunder's attempts to get it back. The thing is, I loathe humiliation fiction, and Dortmunder is only humiliated the once. (He gets a lot more kicks when he's down in other novels). Each attempt to get the ring requires bringing in more of his alt-honest friends, all colorful characters, with a lightly handled romance woven deftly through.The thieves do very well for themselves (against a thoroughly rotten and deserving victim), ending in a cinematic and rousing climax. There is no bloodshed. There is plenty of wit. And the bad guy gets what's coming to him.It's one of my comfort reads.

  • Eric_W
    2019-03-11 01:44

    Dortmunder is another fine creation of Donald Westlake. He occasionally appears in the Parker stories, but this one is devoted to Dortmunder himself. Things always seem to go wrong and the beginning is no exception. They attempt to burgle a house on Long Island that’s supposed to be empty but it’s a house being used as a trysting place for Fairbanks (pun perhaps?) a thieving executive millionaire and his mistress. He calls the cops and then has the temerity to steal a “lucky” ring off Dortmunder’s finger before he gets hauled off to jail. Dortmunder escapes the police car (a humorous event in itself) and vows to get the ring back and make the guy sorry for his humiliation. The plot then revolves around Dortmunders extraordinary capers to get the ring back. And in the process, they decide to rob a Las Vegas casino. After conducting a little third-rate burglary at the Watergate. A little third-rate burglary at the Watergate?” Andy said, “I already tried that on him, and it didn’t work. John isn’t much of a history buff.”... Herman paused to take a roll of duct tape from inside his tuxedo jacket, tear off a length, and attach it to the edge of the door over the striker to keep it from locking. Spies, political agents, and other amateurs put such tape on a door horizontally, so that it shows on both front and back, and can be noticed by a passing security person. (There is a risk here that anyone under the age of forty will not get this reference at all.)What makes these books are the little side comments Westlake throws in a social criticism. For example: “On the TV, people covered with blood were being carried to ambulances. Wherever it was, it looked like a real mess. Then, as Dortmunder watched, the people and the ambulances faded away and some candy bars began to dance.” and “The thing is,” Andy explained, “when I feel I need a car, good transportation, something very special, I look for a vehicle with MD plates. This is one place where you can trust doctors. They understand discomfort, and they understand comfort, and they got the money to back up their opinions.”

  • Carolyn
    2019-02-27 06:04

    Ok, this is another re-read for me, but if you want to bring the new year in right, the best way to guarantee your state of mind is the read stuff you KNOW you enjoy. This is by far the best Dortmunder book Westlake has written to date, and any book that can seemlessly include a 'little second-rate burglary at the Watergate' in its plotline must have been developed by an evil comic genius. 'Nuff said.

  • Mike
    2019-03-08 02:57

    Like many before it, I was inclined to try the “Dortmunder” series by reading Dan’s comments about it. (At least I got that part right.) For some reason, when I went to order a couple of the books, the newest electronic catalog software presented me with only a subset of all of the novels.(Aside - This is the same software that has claimed the advance interface search string is too long not matter how many characters are in it since Day 1. My attempts to alert the staff librarians to this issue and have the developers correct it have gone unheeded. But now, I know that the search retrieval function is also hosed.)That’s the long way of saying that I meant to begin at the beginning, but began here, instead. In fact it wasn’t until I looked at the dust jacket blah-woof that I saw a reference to a prior novel. Arrgh! But enough whining about other people’s buggy software.There’s a lot to like about this book (and I’m cheating here since I’ve read another by now) and series. Previously I had only read Mr. Westlake’s words in his Richard Stark persona and, as anyone would attest, Parker is a very different beast. (Another thank you to Dan for my intro to the Parker series.)Sure they are both crooks and neither has any interest in doing an “honest job”. They know how to pull off heists and that is what they do. (Stay with what you know, right?) If you’ve read Parker you’ll know that he is the most obsessive, detail-driven Type “A” going but John Dortmunder seems to be almost the complete opposite.He’s described in very unflattering terms; from his general demeanor to his way of talking and looking. He comes off as a type of simpleton in parts of the text, but in fact he is not. While it does not show very often, Mr. Dortmunder is hiding a very bright light under his particular bushel.This is reflected (pun intended) by how it is he who works out the plans for the heist(s). How it is he who accepts or passes on who will be in the caper (or, if it is another’s caper whether he will join in). While reading this book I thought of him as the tortoise: slow and steady wins the race. And that’s how it unfolds. This book is all about the consequences that follow after a person steals a ring from Dortmunder after apprehending him while trying to rob a vacation home. I won’t go into any further details about the plot or characters, but if you consider how the plagues that were visited upon the Egyptians achieved the desired effect, then you have an idea of the magnitude of the retribution.What’s the Worst That Could Happen? Is not just the perfect title, it is a great tale of comeuppance. I especially liked the finishing caper. I know that I meant to begin with the first book, but if I had to choose a book to be wrong with, then this would be it.I give this a solid Four (4) Stars. It has good writing, twisted humor (the best of course), and the thief that kept going and going and going. If this book is any indication of the Author’s non-Parker writings, then I agree with the “master of comic mystery” approbation I saw on some flyleaf.

  • David
    2019-02-26 05:57

    I quite dislike the title of this Dortmunder novel, a question that gets asked several times over the course of the book as if it is a clever refrain: What’s the worst that could happen? The question is ultimately empty, a reference to the sad-sack but light-hearted world of Dortmunder in which the worst never happens. What’s the worst that could happen? Oh, I don’t know, maybe a burglary goes horribly wrong and Dortmunder takes a bullet to the head? Refrains aside, however, this is a good Dortmunder novel. Its premise is clever without being over-the-top or silly (by Dortmunder standards), and Dortmunder’s character grows more complex. Just as Donald E. Westlake complicated Parker’s character by making him slightly more human in the later Parker novels, Dortmunder becomes more three-dimensional by evincing a surprising sense of pride for a man who would seem to have little to feel proud about. After all, many, many bad things do happen to him. Just not the worst things.

  • Lynne
    2019-03-15 00:49

    A fun and wacky read. Another "beach book" to keep you laughing with all the crazy antics of a group of crooks and their shady pals. Westlake keeps the plot moving in so many twists and starts that I finished feeling like I'd been running like a crazy person. Whew! A totally delightful escapist read about people I would never want to know.

  • Mal Warwick
    2019-03-14 05:46

    If you've never encountered John Dortmunder and you feel a need to cheer up, immerse yourself in the series of fourteen books about the dubious criminal career of this marvelous character. These stories are among the more than one hundred novels and nonfiction books Donald E. Westlake wrote in a career spanning fifty years. What's the Worst That Could Happen? is the ninth caper novel in the Dortmunder series. It may be one of the best.John Dortmunder is "a slope-shouldered defeated-looking fellow in dark clothing and thinning hair, who had an air of such dejection and collapse there seemed no need to point anything at him more threatening than a banana." He is a New Yorker, a professional burglar with a supportive live-in girlfriend named May and a large circle of criminal friends with a variety of useful skills. Dortmunder "picks things up when people aren't looking" simply to support himself and May. "All of finance was too much for him. His understanding of economics was, you go out and steal money and use it to buy food. Alternatively, you steal the food. Beyond that, it got too complex."The inner circle of Dortmunder's fraternity includes Andy Kelp (information maven), Stan Murch (getaway driver), and Tiny Bulger, "the mountain shaped something like a man" (intimidating presence).Here, for example, is Tiny speaking to Stan. "I want to thank you. This is a roomy car. I'm not used to roomy in a car. I remember one time I had to make a couple people ride on the roof, I got so cramped in the car.""How'd they like that?" Stan asked."I never asked them," Tiny said.From time to time, whenever Dortmunder has an inspired idea, or simply feels the need to make money, they get together in the back room of the O. J. Bar & Grill on Amsterdam Avenue to plot their next caper. Sometimes Dortmunder sits in the front room, entertained by the spectacularly ignorant dialogue of the regulars who hang out at the bar. Here's one example of that witty repartée: "[D]own at the other end of the bar the regulars had segued in a natural progression into consideration of cold cures. At the moment, they were trying to decide if the honey was supposed to be spread on the body or injected into a vein."In What's the Worst That Could Happen?, Dortmunder and Gus Brock ("a longtime associate in this and that") travel to the south shore of Long Island to burgle the second (or third or fourth) home of a billionaire named Max Fairbanks. Fairbanks has declared bankruptcy, and the judge has declared his Long Island home off-limits to him, so Dortmunder and Gus enter without worry. Unfortunately, Max has chosen that night to take his current mistress, Miss September, for fun and frolic at that very house. When Dortmunder heads upstairs to retrieve pillow cases to carry all the loot, he meets Max on the stairway, holding a pistol. Gus escapes, but Dortmunder is left to be arrested by the local police. Then Max makes a very big mistake.As Dortmunder is handcuffed and held by the two cops, Max announces that the ring Dortmunder is wearing is, in fact, his—and takes it off his finger. This ring was a gift from May, and losing it infuriates Dortmunder. In fact, he is so angry that, after escaping from the police, he single-mindedly sets out to get even with Max—and get the ring back. Thus ensues a series of ever-more-ambitious burglaries ultimately involving two dozen of Dortmunder's friends and acquaintances in a spectacular heist in Las Vegas.Will Dortmunder get the ring back? What do you think?

  • Spiros
    2019-03-14 03:49

    It was a real struggle for me to purchase this book: I was that put off by the pictures of Martin Lawrence and Danny DeVito on the cover. But what could I do? I needed to read a Dortmunder, and this was the only one I could get my hands on. Needless to say, I thoroughy enjoyed it: it's a Dortmunder, after all. Still, it was a struggle.I am not filing this under my "cinerelated" books, since there's absolutely no chance in hell that I will ever see the movie version. A queasy fascination did cause me to "imdb" the film, where I was slightly, and somewhat irrationally, relieved to see that DeVito plays the Max Fairbanks character, and not Dortmunder. Nobody is listed in the role of "Dortmunder", so I can only assume that Martin Lawrence plays a "Dortmunder-ish" character. Frankly, I can't imagine it. It has made me ponder the idea of casting Dortmunder, and I can only envision three (and a half) possibilities: Perfect Casting would be Alfred Molina, Possible Casting (if he can act New York) would be Timothy Spall, and a Bit of a Stretch would be Paul Giamatti, if he could bank down some of his twitches and ideosyncracies. The half would be De Niro, who would play the part to perfection but wouldn't be able to squeeze it in amongst the eight to ten crappy blockbusters he acts in every year. There just aren't that many actors out there that can play a beefy, smart schlub.

  • Paul
    2019-03-15 06:54

    The Dortmunder novels always remind me of P. G. Wodehouse novels, except with criminals instead of the landed gentry. Everyone is a damned bumbling fool, and everything is always taking a side trip through Calamity, but in the end the boy gets the girl, or in this case the crook gets the money. I'm never quite sure if Westlake wrote the Dortmunder novels so that his readers could have fun reading them, or just so that he could have fun writing them, but it works for me either way.

  • Amy
    2019-03-09 03:01

    He took Dortmunders ring????? His good luck ring???? The scumbag deserves whatever he got. He had it coming!(I understand the movie of this was so-so- the book is classic Westlake)From the PublisherIt started with a ring. A cheap ring. The yellow metal said brass, not gold, and the sparkly bits were certainly not diamonds. But the ring belonged to May's horseplaying uncle, who swore it brought good luck. Dortmunder, who wouldn't kick a little good luck out of bed, puts it to the test when he goes to burglarize Long Island billionaire Max Fairbanks. As luck would have it, Dortmunder is greeted by Fairbanks himself - and a loaded gun - as soon as he strolls through the door. When the cops arrive, the mogul adds insult to injury by claiming that Dortmunder's lucky ring is actually his. Big mistake, big guy. As soon as Dortmunder can give the cops the slip, the world's most single-minded burglar goes after the fat cat with a vengeance and a team of crooks that only he can assemble. And from the get go everything will go Dortmunder's way - everything, that is, except the ring.

  • Chi Dubinski
    2019-03-10 23:48

    John Dortmunder is a burglar, and when a fellow thief proposes a job at a billionaire’s mansion, he agrees. But the mansion, supposedly empty, is occupied, and Dortmunder’s friend takes off when they hear a noise in the house. Dortmunder is nabbed by the cops, and the billionaire claims that the ring on Dortmunder’s finger belongs to him. Dortmunder escapes from police custody, but is irate that his ring was stolen, and vows to get it back.Westlake is the master of the humorous caper novel.

  • Michelle
    2019-03-24 23:49

    This is one of the best Dortmunder books I've read. He goes to rob a rich guys house, not counting on him being home. He holds a gun on poor Dortmunder & calls the cops. When the cops show up, the rich guy adds insult to injury by saying John's "lucky ring" is really his. Word gets out how Dortmunder was robbed, and all the crooks band together to help get his ring back. It's a GREAT book!!!!

  • Elizabeth
    2019-03-16 04:49

    Godalmighty, did I love these books as a child. Hilarity abounds -- I still has the world's biggest soft spot for Stan, and every scene in the bar makes me laugh like a dying hyena (the regulars are comedy gold) and I want to cuddle Dortmunder (and May, dear lord, May), but it's pretty thin other than that. Which is fine! Sometimes, you don't want deep and important literature, and when that is the case, a Donald Westlake is never not a good choice.

  • Alejandra
    2019-03-17 23:02

    After a millionaire thwarts a burglar's attempt to rob his property, and dares steal the burglar's ring, luck reverses as he tries to get his ring back. Very funny and quirky read, not sure I would follow the entire series, but I did greatly enjoyed the book. I could not put the book down while reading through the last stunt.

  • Maurean
    2019-03-07 06:01

    Got this in a box of books...its a little beat up, but still readable; just not his best work, IMO (a bit "hokey")....

  • Erik Tanouye
    2019-02-23 04:03

    Got this at the annex of Second Story Books in Rockville.

  • Joyce
    2019-03-10 23:11

    Another enjoyable Dortmunder caper ... off to read #10!

  • An Odd1
    2019-03-14 03:57

    My favorite Dortmunder because he drives events (and luck, good this time). Slapstick hilarity grows. Seeking only the return of his lucky ring, Dortmunder's gang expands with his success, as he lets them collect more and more booty from his nasty opponent's homes to the finale, a lavish Las Vegas casino hotel complex.

  • PenNPaper52
    2019-03-12 02:03

    I discovered this book hidden in a collection of books I had downloaded. I hadn't seen the movie so didn't know what the book would be about. The title was the thing that grabbed my attention. I asked myself, "What is the worst that could happen?" and started reading. The main character is Dortmunder who reminds me of a cat burglar from old black and white movies. He could be played by James Stewart easily I think, the average Joe, with values who steals just because of needs. His loyalty to his live-in partner May and their interaction was sublime. Their love wasn't hot and heated, but deep and peaceful. The action in the story starts when May's uncle sends her a ring - a cheap ring with no value or sentiments for May. She gives the ring to Dortmunder as a keepsake and for luck. Won't you know it, just then the phone rings with one of Dortmunder's associates telling him about a job. Unfortunately the ring turns out more bad than good for Dortmunder. The house that he and his associate were going to rob, turned out to be occupied, by none other than the owner, Mr. Fairbanks and his dalliance for the night. Dortmunder is caught by Fairbanks at gunpoint while his partner flees. When the police arrive they ask Fairbanks if he has had anything stolen and Fairbanks being the upstart that he was, claimed stake on Dortmunder's ring. The police gave his ring to the laughing Fairbanks. That starts a role of events in which Dortmunder tries to get his ring back. The book was a hoot to read, a bit slow sometimes, but still fun.

  • Cat.
    2019-02-23 04:02

    I always forget how good a writer Westlake is. His characters are always engaging and his plots are clever. This particular book revolves around Dortmunder, a petty thief who is caught in the act robbing the home of Max Fairbanks, a mega-millionnaire. Fairbanks turns the tables as the police prepare to take the burglar away and says that the only thing stolen was the ring on Dortmunder's hand. In spite of his protests, the police take the ring off Dortmunder's finger and 'return' it to the Fairbanks.This annoys Dortmunder, and he is a very single-minded person. He escapes from police custody, returns home, and calls in his friends who proceed to not only beard the lion (Fairbanks) in his den once, but three times! Once at home in New York, once at the Watergate in D.C. (heh), and finally in Las Vegas. Dortmunder is truly only in it for the ring, but the robberies are so spectacularly successful that he ends up with a nice little nest egg, insurance in case he has a few lean months. Well, lean years, really.Fun caper novel. Reminded me a great deal of Ocean's 11 et al. Funny in a very dry and ironic way.

  • Ed
    2019-03-23 23:04

    #9 in the Dortmunder series.Dortmunder novel - John Dortmunder, taciturn con man, is someone perfectly capable of nursing a grievance. When billionaire hotshot Max Fairbanks, who has caught Dortmunder burgling his Long Island estate, tells the arresting police that the good-luck ring on Dortmunder's finger was stolen from him (when it was in fact a gift from Dortmunder's girlfriend, May), Max's fate, no matter how well protected he may be, is sealed. Dortmunder makes repeated attempts to get his ring back, hitting on ingenious ways to get into the billionaire's lavish Times Square and Watergate apartments, making off each time with considerable loot. But only when Fairbanks goes off to his huge casino/hotel/theme park in Las Vegas, in a deliberate attempt to entrap Dortmunder, does the vengeance-seeker shift into really high gear. Picturesque rogues from previous Dortmunder outings are collected into a formidable army, pitted against the best security Max's millions can buy, all leading to a showdown.

  • Medlibrarian
    2019-03-23 02:42

    I've read this before, but given what's been going on in the news, I did what I usually do during dark and depressing times, I turned to the comic caper novels of the late Donald E. Westlake. Oddly enough, it's extremely appropriate to what's happening in the world right now. Max Fairbanks shares an awful lot in common with the 45th President. I had forgotten just how much Fairbanks is reminiscent of the man. If you've never read any of the Dortmunder novels, you're missing out. John Dortmunder is the brains behind a crew of eccentric if competent and non-violent career criminals in NYC. The books are clever and funny and well written. Dortmunder is breaking into billionaire Max Fairbanks' corporate retreat in search of valuables when Fairbanks turns out to be not only home, but toting a gun. To make matters worse, he decides to get cute by stealing a ring off of Dortmunder's own finger. John Dortmunder is generally something of a fatalistic guy, but this is too much and he decides to get revenge.These days I need escapist fare and this was perfect.

  • Aaron Martz
    2019-03-06 00:58

    An endlessly diverting and hilarious crime book, this one strays from the usual Dortmunder formula in that instead of bungling his crimes, he actually gets away with them this time. The only catch is it's not money he's after this time, but a cheap ring one of his victims stole from him, and which he goes to increasingly absurd lengths to get back. The possessor of this ring is an arrogant billionaire who eventually, after his house and his hotel are robbed of hundreds of thousands of dollars of swag, catches on that Dortmunder wants his cheap piece of jewelry back, and decides to hole up in his casino in Las Vegas and set a trap for Dortmunder to fall into. So of course not only does Dortmunder go after him in Vegas, but every petty crook and his mother wants in on the job now that Dortmunder is hitting home runs and that the target is, you know, a casino in Vegas. This is a wholly satisfying caper comedy with a lot of great one-liners and a bad guy you'd like to strangle as much as Dortmunder does.

  • John Staats
    2019-03-03 00:59

    I cannot imagine anyone who wouldn't enjoy this book. I even suspect the many people I know who hate reading or don't read would find this novel accessible. It's immediately charming, interesting and entertaining in the extreme. I haven't see the Martin Lawrence movie (because it's a Martin Lawrence movie) but prospective readers shouldn't expect the book to be anything like it. What's The Worst That Could Happen? isn't a high-minded meditation on the human condition, it's a comedy. And as Oscars evade comedic actors, comedic books are rarely considered "literature" -- which is a shame because Donald Westlake is an incredibly gifted writer and his exaggerated characters are immediately recognizable. He's economical, subtle and monstrously effective with humor. I've read many of his books and this is my favorite. It's an twisting, hilarious, unpredictable romp that is impossible NOT to enjoy. You want to have a great time with a book? Here it is.

  • Jason Reeser
    2019-03-15 22:42

    Yet another home run by the best comic caper writer in the business. Here again is John Dortmunder and his hapless gang, going after a Media Mogul jerk who had the audacity/stupidity to make John Dortmunder mad. Not only did he catch Dortmunder red-handed and turn him over to the police, but he also claimed that the ring on John's finger was stolen, and the police, of course, believed the rich guy and took the ring off John's finger and gave it to the guy. Not a good thing. Now John feels it is his duty to take it back. No matter the price.What's the worst that can happen? Well, pick up this wonderful book and you'll find out, as Dortmunder makes one attempt after another trying to get that stupid ring back.Anyway...

  • Paul Wilson
    2019-03-16 02:01

    Who says crooks are sentimental? In his 9th book, Dortmunder is foiled (as usual) in an early robbery. The only problem is, his victim steals Dortmunder's lucky $10 ring. What follows is an unusual string of successes for Dortmunder, but given his luck, the lucrative revenge scores fail to retrieve the lucky ring. The book ends in an Oceans 11 style casino caper designed primarily as a distraction for Dortmunder to get his ring back. This is a really funny entry in the series, especially Dortmunder's frustration at failing to get the ring despite his string of unusually successful capers. The ring snatcher is a real douche, so the reader is always happy to see his life ruined by Dortmunder and gang. Great book despite the awful movie adaptation.

  • John
    2019-03-09 05:49

    Yes, I'm fully aware this book features Martin Lawrence and Danny DeVito on the cover, but don't let that deter you. This is one of Westlake's Dortmunder books, about sad sack criminal John Dortmunder. In this novel, Dortmunder is robbing a rich man's summer house. The man happens to be there and steals Dortmunder's ring. Dortmunder decides to focus his energy on getting his ring back, as well as various other items that belong to the rich guy. This series is great: funny, dark, and cynical, Dortmunder and his crew always come up with a master plan that rarely works out. It is a winning formula, and though this is the worst of the series, it still is a very enjoyable read.

  • Marti
    2019-02-24 05:52

    a book group selection--any Dortmunder novel by Donald E. Westlake. This is an author whom I don't recall reading before. Dortmunder is a little off the wall, and so are his many friends, or group, or crew. He is also singleminded, especially after he is caught burglarizing a house, and has the billionaire Max Fairbanks claim a recently gifted "lucky"ring as his own. The lengths that Dortmunder goes to are incredible. He is great at planning his moves, and those of the back-up people. It is funny, and quite entertaining.

  • Susan Katz
    2019-03-10 00:42

    Another entry in my Donald Westlake Memorial Summer reading. This is one of my favorites because Dortmunder, for once, has good luck (after the loss of his lucky ring) though he doesn't see it as such because he's so fixated on getting back his ring from the man who stole it right off his finger. It's also lovely to see so arrogant and unlikeable a villain as Max Fairbanks get such a spectacular comeuppance since real life rarely provides such satisfactions.