Cover image for The hook
Title:
The hook
Author:
Westlake, Donald E.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Mysterious Press, [2000]

©2000
Physical Description:
280 pages ; 24 cm
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780892965885
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

Critically acclaimed for his recent bestseller, "The Ax, " Westlake returns with a tale of twisted psychological suspense involving two cunning authors--and one deadly proposition.


Author Notes

Author Donald E. Westlake was born in Brooklyn, New York on July 12, 1933. He attended colleges in New York, but did not graduate. He wrote more than 100 novels and 5 screenplays throughout his lifetime. He also wrote under numerous pseudonyms including Richard Stark, Tucker Coe, and Samuel Holt. Almost 20 of his novels were adapted into films and he created the television series, The Father Dowling Mysteries. He is a three-time winner of the Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America and was nominated for an Academy Award for his screenplay for The Grifters. He was also named a Mystery Writers of America Grand Master in 1993. He died of a heart attack on December 31, 2008 at the age of 75.

(Bowker Author Biography) Donald E. Westlake has won three Edgar Awards & was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for "The Grifters". He lives in upstate New York.

(Publisher Provided)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Westlake's versatility is legend in crime-fiction circles. His last novel, The Ax (1997), was one of his most successful forays into psychological suspense, and his latest plows those same fields with equal distinction. When two writers run into each other in the New York Public Library, a plot is hatched that echoes the devil's bargain in Hitchcock's film Strangers on a Train. Bryce Proctor is a best-selling novelist suffering from writer's block and a bad divorce-in-progress; even if he manages to finish his latest book, his wife will gobble most of the profits. Enter Wayne Prentice, also a novelist and a former friend of Proctor when both were unknown writers. Prentice is unknown again, slipping sales having left him without a publisher. The hook: Proctor will publish Prentice's novel as his own, giving Prentice half the advance ($500,000). One other thing: Prentice must kill Proctor's wife. As the plot turns into reality (though not in the manner either intended), the two writers-turned-killers find themselves joined in an unholy alliance: Will the instability of one of them bring down both? Westlake salts the stew with lots of fascinating publishing shoptalk, and his portrayal of the psychological unraveling of a writer is made all the more chilling by the quiet realism of its presentation. A fine thriller. --Bill Ott


Publisher's Weekly Review

This is a very savvy tale of two writers, instantly recognizable to anyone in the publishing world. Bryce Proctorr is a megaseller who gets million-dollar deals; Wayne Prentice, after a promising start, has fallen into the dread midlist, where his sales records haunt him and he publishes under a succession of pseudonyms to present an unsullied record. The problem is that while Proctorr has hit a major writer's block, Prentice is still productive, though his advances are dwindling. So Proctorr, involved in a protracted and draining divorce from a harridan wife, comes up with this terrific notion. He proposes to Prentice, a friend from earlier days: you take my name, I take your book, and we split the proceeds, on one condition: Lucie must be killed. It's a very promising notion, and once Westlake is over the hump of how the very pleasant Wayne will agree to the deed, and actually manage to accomplish it, much to his own surprise, he is left with a very delicate situation. What will the knowledge of the crime do to the relationship between the two men? How will it affect their work habits? Will the dogged New York police detective find out anything? How will Bryce's editor react to Wayne becoming, in effect, his star's ghost? All these issues are skillfully dealt with in Westlake's super-clean, unfussy narration, which manages to make the plight of the left-behind writer almost as lacerating as that of the downsized executive in his brilliant The Ax. In the end, though, he cannot quite bring his story to an unexpected conclusion, and his last scene, though effective enough, seems to have strayed in from a much less subtly told story. 9-city author tour. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

In his latest work, Westlake (The Ax) once again proves himself a master storytelling craftsman. Frustrated by what he sees as outrageous monetary demands from his ex-wife, successful author Bryce Proctorr hires an old acquaintance, Wayne Prentice, to kill her. In a variation on the murder-for-hire theme, Proctorr offers Prentice, also a struggling author, both money and the opportunity to publish under his name. While the arrangement seems ideal for tboth parties, it soon becomes evident that such is not the case. Instead of romanticizing or sensationalizing the murder itself, Westlake brilliantly examines the psychological toll that on every aspect of both men's lives. This is not a comfortable read - there are no heroes to cheer for, and the characters evoke little sympathy. It's a testament to Westlake's ability that, despite this, this reader was unable to put the book down. This should be a popular addition to public library collections. - Craig L. Shufelt, Gladwin Cty. Lib., MI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.