Cover image for Bad news
Bad news
Westlake, Donald E.
Personal Author:
[Large print edition].
Publication Information:
Thorndike, Me. : Center Point, [2001]

Physical Description:
344 pages (large print) ; 23 cm
Geographic Term:
Format :


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X Adult Large Print - Floating collection Floating Collection - Large Print
X Adult Large Print Large Print

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Bad News is great news for fans of Donald Westlakes' unlucky chronic criminal, John Dortumunder, who hasn't made an appearance in five years. This time, all he and his old pal Andy have to do is dig up a grave, switch a couple of corpses, and close it up again. But John can't help wondering why Fitzroy Guilderpost would pay $1000 just to switch a couple of 70 years-dead Indians?

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

What should have been an easy $1,000 for a 10-minute, after-hours heist in a discount department store goes hilariously wrong, and it's all downhill from there. Short the anticipated grand, and somewhat shaken by the number of cops he must dupe in the department store, Dortmunder, Westlake's star-crossed professional thief, gets sucked into digging up a casket in a Queens cemetery and replacing it with another. "I'm a robber," he gripes. "Not a grave robber." That's one of Dortmunder's charms: he knows what he is. But the grave robbing is part of a clever scam to gain control of a third of a Native American casino in upstate New York, and Dortmunder and two cohorts find themselves in the unlikely position of being players in someone else's scheme. Which leads Dortmunder to some rare, existential angst. Vintage Westlake and vintage Dortmunder--clever, whimsical, charming, and above all, funny--Bad News is good news for Westlake's devoted fans. Thomas GaughanAdult Books Young adult recommendations in this issue have been contributed by the Books for Youth editorial staff and by reviewers Nancy Bent, GraceAnne A. DeCandido, Elizabeth Drennan, Patty Engelmann, Sharon Greene, Diana Tixier Herald, Roberta Johnson, Leone McDermott, Karen Simonetti, Candace Smith, Linda Waddle, Daniel Winslow, and Linda Zeilstra. Titles recommended for teens are marked with the following symbols: YA, for books of general YA interest; YA/C, for books with particular curriculum value; YA/L, for books with a limited teenage audience; YA/M, for books best suited to mature teens.

Publisher's Weekly Review

Westlake fans will welcome the return, after a five-year hiatus, of luckless burglar John Dortmunder and his gang of lowlifes from the back room of the O.J. Bar and Grill. In this, perhaps the best Dortmunder novel so far, Andy Kelp, Tiny Bulcher and the Murches (Stan and Mom) join Dortmunder in horning in on another crew's scam cheating two Native American tribes out of one-third of the take from a lucrative Indian casino in upstate New York. Fitzroy Guilderpost, mastermind of the con (and a memorable Westlake creation one hopes to see again), has enlisted Little Feather Redcorn, a Las Vegas card dealer and showgirl, to pose as the last living member of an extinct tribe with a claim to the casino. Unknown to the schemers, the casino managers have been cooking their books and will go to any length to avoid sharing the wealth. As the foes switch dead Indians from grave to grave, seeking to prove or deny Little Feather's tribal membership, Dortmunder plots an impossible and hilarious robbery using a blizzard as an accessory, and comes up with the usual mixed results. Now that Westlake has resumed both the Dortmunder series and (writing as Richard Stark) the Parker novels, his fans again have a choice of the amusing, relatively benign capers of the Dortmunder clan and the cold crimes of the felonious Parker and his endless trail of bloody bodies and blown safes. This latest carries on the Dortmunder tradition and raises it to new standards. (Apr. 11) Forecast: With the June 1 release of the film of What's the Worst That Could Happen?, which features Danny DeVito as the villain, MWA Grand Master and three-time Edgar winner Westlake seems headed for the kind of success his hapless hero can only dream of. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Dortmunder, the man on whom the sun shines only when darkness is what's needed, is back in his tenth comic caper (following 1996's What's the Worst That Could Happen?), and that's good news to his many fans. The original scam involves passing off ex-Vegas showgirl Little Feather Redcorn as the sole survivor of the Pottaknobbee tribe. It is extinct, but, if there were any living representative, said representative would be eligible to share one-third of the earnings of a successful Native American casino operation, and so Little Feather wants in on the action. Once Dortmunder blunders into the arrangement, though, a flurry of dug-up graves and changed headstones ensues (all with the aim of validating Little Feather's legitimacy). Beneath the thin veneer of timeliness offered by references to Native American casinos and DNA testing beats a timeless plot that combines the best elements of the Three Stooges and a Damon Runyon story. That should be good enough for anybody looking for a finely oiled and remarkably sex- and violence-free romp through the graveyards of upper New York State. For all public libraries. Bob Lunn, Kansas City P.L., MO (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.