The question concerns motifs or situations from one series bleeding over into another. Comeback, Westlake's 1998 novel about the ultra-professional thief Parker (written, like the other Parker novels, under the name Richard Stark), opens with a heist at a religious rally. One of the robbers is disguised as an angel. He makes an especially nervous angel, and if you think that sounds like something out of Westlake's comic caper novels about John Dortmunder, you're not the only one, even though Comeback is Parker all the way – cool, taut and serious.
A later Parker novel, Ask the Parrot, has Parker teaming up with a man resentful because he has lost his job for being honest. The motif of good man forced to desperate measures because he lost his job echoes Westlake's standalone novel The Ax.
Can you think of other prolific, multifaceted authors who borrow from their own work the way Westlake does?
© Peter Rozovsky 2007