Rediscovered: Despite Westlake Owing Me a Beer. . .

Somewhere around here I have a postcard from Donald Westlake saying something like, “Beer? Beer? Surely we can settle this in a civilized fashion.”

Years ago I went to a big writers deal in Fort Lauderdale, and Westlake was there, and George Plimpton and many more. Honest, it was an impressive, and big, deal.

I got to buy what turned out to be the last round one evening, when Westlake really wanted to get it. I told him if I ever got to Manhattan and it was convenient, he could return the favor, but that didn’t happen. And too bad.

Anyway, despite the fact that Westlake died owing me a beer, I didn’t hold it against him when one of his old novels got repackaged recently.

Per my usual standards of linking to reviews when they squeak through editorial at least 90-95% intact — which is to say the wording I sent in — this one qualifies, and may amuse you for a moment as a New Year jumps into the scene.

About the only thing that got chopped was my mention of Westlake naming one of his besieged monks Brother Hilarious. But you can’t squeeze everything in.

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