The Westlake Review

August 14, 2017

(This article was originally published at Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science, and syndicated at StatsBlogs.)

I came across this site one day:

The Westlake Review is a blog dedicated to doing a detailed review and analysis of every novel Donald Westlake published under his own name, as well as under a variety of pseudonyms. These reviews will reveal major plot elements, though they will not be full synopses. People who have not read a book being reviewed here should bear that in mind before proceeding. Some articles will be more general in their focus, analyzing aspects of Westlake’s writing, and in some cases of authors he was influenced by, or has influenced in turn. There will also be reviews of film adaptations of his work.

It’s been going since 2014! Westlake wrote a lot of books, so I guess they can keep going for awhile.

My favorite Westlake is Killing Time, but I also like Memory. And then there’s The Axe. And Slayground’s pretty good too. And Ordo, even if it’s kind of a very long extended joke on the idea of murder.

Overall, I do think there’s a black hole at the center of Westlake’s writing: as I wrote a few years ago, he has great plots and settings and charming characters, but nothing I’ve ever read of his has the emotional punch of, say, Scott Smith’s A Simple Plan (to choose a book whose plot would fit well into the Westlake canon).

But, hey, nobody can do everything. And I’m glad the Westlake Review is still going strong.

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