Conflicts result from this, some professional, some personal; some comic, some not, but the core of the book, and the source of its action, is a man doing his job.
The comedy is not quite as well-integrated into the main action as it is in Westlake's later books, and the ending is melodramatically reminiscent of the early work of Westlake's friend Lawrence Block. But this longtime Westlake fan was astonished at how consistently Westlake stuck to his main thematic concerns over a hundred or so novels written under various names over almost fifty years.
So here's your question: If Westlake's main thematic interest, like Dashiell Hammett's, was the man whose mission is to do his job well, what are the main interests of other writers with long, productive careers? In what ways do such authors' early books foreshadow their later ones?
(Read an excerpt from The Cutie.)
© Peter Rozovsky 2011