It would take a miracle to keep Dortmunder out of jail. Though he cased the electronics store perfectly, the cops surprised him, turning up in the alley just as he was walking out the back door, a television in each hand. Already a two-time loser, without divine intervention he faces a long stretch inside. Then God sends J. Radcliffe Stonewiler, a celebrity lawyer who gets Dortmunder off with hardly any effort at all.
Stonewiler was sent by Arnold Chauncey, an art lover with a cash-flow problem. He asks the thief to break into his house and make off with a valuable painting in exchange for a quarter of the insurance money. Chauncey has pulled the stunt twice before, so it must look real. He’ll give Dortmunder no inside help - a shame since, when this caper spins out of control, he’ll need all the help he can get.
The owner of a valuable painting hires Dortmunder and his crew to steal his own painting so he (the owner) can collect on the insurance. What could go wrong? If you are familiar with Dortmunder, his crew and his luck, you already know the answer - just about everything.
The first Dortmunder book I read was Bank Shot which I bought from Audible as a light read. I enjoyed it enough to buy The Hot Rock and, by then, I was hooked on Westlake in general and Dortmunder in particular. For a light and enjoyable read these books are hard to beat.
As with the other Dortmunder books you can count on Dortmunder to plan well, select and interesting (and funny) crew for the job and for something, almost anything, to go wrong. From that point on the book is a fun ride with "laugh out loud" moments, unanticipated plot twists and a perfect ending. I don't know how he does it but Westlake never seems to skip a beat. Enjoyable from start to finish and, since Jeff Woodman is doing the reading, you can expect consistently good narration as well as a terrific story. My only complaint is that Audible is missing all of the Dortmunder books between volume 5 and volume 9 inclusive. Still, what they have is worth the credit (and then some).
2 of 2 people found this review helpful