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Drowned hopes
Westlake, Donald E.
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Publication Information:
New York : Mysterious Press, [1990]

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FICTION Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense

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Arriving home after another failed burglary, Dortmunder finds his home occupied by an old cellmate. Tom Jimson left $700,000 buried in a small valley in upstate New York and needs help retrieving it--from under 50 feet of water now part of a reservoir.

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 2

Booklist Review

How many ex-cons does it take to retrieve a coffin filled with $700,000 from under 50 feet of water? There is no one punch line here, but several; and the third time's not the charm, but the straw that breaks the backs of an odd lot of salvagers in Westlake's newest comic caper. When Tom Jimson robbed an armored car and buried the money, he never expected a dam to be built directly on top of it. And being a 70-some-year-old new parolee, he asks his former cell mate, John Dortmunder, to help (who asks his friend, telephone-obsessed software-thief Andy Kelp, who asks his friend, fat, moist, computer-nerd Wally Knurr, and so forth). Amid harebrained escapades and snappy dialogue (including a convincing conversation about Yuppies being aliens--Why else would they hide their feet in sneakers, live only in lofts, and eat tofu?), the group learns that money is not all, that no one should be trusted, and that love can smooth the rough edges off any disappointment. As obese Wally points out, "The trouble with real life is, there's no reset button." Fast-paced and funny. --Eloise Kinney

Publisher's Weekly Review

Westlake here brings back decent, smart and unlucky John Dortmunder for a seventh adventure. After a typically unrewarding night of attempted burglary, Dortmunder comes home to find ex-cellmate Tom Jimson ensconced in the living room. Jimson, given a 70th-birthday release from an overcrowded state prison, is as calmly venal and vicious as ever as he asks Dortmunder's help in reclaiming a $700,000 stash from an old robbery. The loot was buried in an upstate New York town that was subsequently flooded to become part of New York City's reservoir system. Jimson's plan to blow up the reservoir dam will doom nearby towns, so Dortmunder must concoct a more humane solution. A motley cast turning through a dizzying variety of plot twists will keep readers laughing. Most risible is the perfectly sensible bewilderment of Westlake's Runyonesque New Yorkers at life upstate: ``If we stay here much longer, we'll start buying one another birthday cards.'' Vintage Westlake. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved