by Donald Westlake
Typical. Just what you would expect from Westlake. That is, another great book full of interesting characters and a storyline that whisks you through in record time. It seems that Westlake is beginning to write a bit more mainstream these days and is quite good at it. Hopefully he'll score a popular hit which will allow him some luxuries in his old age. At any rate, the book is about a very popular novelist who is going through a messy divorce and having bad writers block. His next book is due last quarter and he hasn't written a word. He unexpectedly meets a friend from twenty years ago who is also a novelist, a very good one, in fact, but one who has gotten pinched in the economics of the publishing industry. He has a completed novel but no one who'll buy it. They make a deal, the unpublished book for half of the major novelists advance (his share would be $500,000). Oh, and the major novelists wife has to die.
The novel has an incredible pace and it is great how the lives of these two men slowly begin to intertwine. At first I had a big problem with the ending (in that I found it to be horrible) but after giving it some thought, I think it's not horrible, just awful. Not "bad" awful, just "how could he [Westlake] have the characters DO that!?!"