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Westlake, Donald E

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

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(1933-2008) US author, mostly of detective novels and thrillers, often humorous, under his own name and under several pseudonyms, notably Richard Stark; he won three Edgar awards, including a Grandmaster award in 1993. He began publishing sf – always of secondary interest in his career, though never carelessly done – with "Or Give Me Death" in Universe Science Fiction for November 1954, and assembled much of his short work in The Curious Facts Preceding My Execution and Other Fictions (coll 1968) and Tomorrow's Crimes (coll 1989). The latter also includes his short first novel of sf interest, Anarchaos (1967) as by Curt Clark, an adventure tale set on a planet where one's own death is the only crime recognized (see Crime and Punishment). In his second sf novel, Smoke (1995), a criminal is experimented upon by two scientists, but finds that the Invisibility accidentally conferred upon him is difficult to exploit.

The argument that the film Point Blank (1967), directed by John Boorman, is a Posthumous Fantasy [see The Encyclopedia of Fantasy under links below] is less plausible in the Westlake novel that inspired the film, The Hunter (1963; vt Point Blank 1967) as by Richard Stark. Here Parker the protagonist may be left for dead but seems clearly alive subsequently, both in this volume and its numerous sequels. Ex Officio (1970; vt Power Play 1971) as by Timothy J Culver is a borderline tale about an ex-president's plot for world peace. Further novels of some genre interest include the Mohonk Mystery Weekend series, High Jinx (1987) and Transylvania Station (1987), both with his wife Abby Westlake (1929-    ), which incorporate elements of spoofed horror. Humans (1992) is a spoof theological fantasy about the End of the World. A polished, intelligent, witty writer, Westlake left sf the poorer by his decision not to concentrate seriously on the genre. [JC]

see also: Kitschies; Pulp.

Donald Edwin Westlake

born New York: 12 July 1933

died San Tancho, Mexico: 31 December 2008



Mohonk Mystery Weekends

  • High Jinx (Miami, Florida: Dennis McMillan Publications, 1987) with Abby Westlake [Mohonk Mystery Weekends: pb/Edward Gorey and Joe Servello]
  • Transylvania Station (Miami, Florida: Dennis McMillan Publications, 1987) with Abby Westlake [Mohonk Mystery Weekends: hb/Gahan Wilson]

individual titles

  • The Hunter (New York: Pocket Books, 1963) as by Richard Stark [Parker: pb/]
    • Point Blank (London: Coronet, 1967) as by Richard Stark [vt of the above: Parker: pb/]
  • Anarchaos (New York: Ace Books, 1967) as by Curt Clark [pb/Lynch]
  • Ex Officio (New York: M Evans and Co, 1970) as by Timothy J Culver [hb/]
    • Power Play (New York: Dell, 1971) [vt of the above: pb/]
  • Humans (New York: Mysterious Press, 1992) [hb/Wilson McLean]
  • Smoke (New York: Warner Books/Mysterious Press, 1995) [hb/Jeff Fitz Maurice]

collections and stories

works as editor


previous versions of this entry

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