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Westlake remains a gem

Book Review: The Hook

Donald Westlake remains the master of mysteries.

I never miss his books.

And while his book, The Hook, isn’t one of his best, his inferior works are still superior to most by his colleagues.

The book’s “hook” is an intriguing one: a rich, popular New York City author named Bryce Proctorr is going through a divorce and is thus unable to write. He runs into a more prolific author, Wayne Prentice, whose book advances have been shrinking in recent years.

His suggestion: Publish Prentice’s book as his own and split the big advance with him. The deal is quite attractive to Prentice, who has had to print his last few novels under a pen name just to keep afloat financially after computers tracking his sales suggest he’s no longer worth a large book advance.

But of course there’s a catch: The author also has to kill the guy’s wife, ending the messy divorce.

Prentice initially says he couldn’t do it… at least not unless he meets the wife and finds her so annoying and mean that the idea starts to make sense.

And off the chilling story goes, in surprising directions. The book is not as funny as some of his better works, but as evil as it is in parts it is also not as implausible as it would first appear.

Pick it up and you’ll be hooked.

This review originally appeared at Mindjack and my blog.

About Scott Butki

Scott Butki was a newspaper reporter for more than 10 years before making a career change into education... then into special education. He has been doing special education work for about five years He lives in Austin.He reads at least 50 books a year and has about 15 author interviews each year and, yes, unlike tv hosts he actually reads each one.He is an in-house media critic, a recovering Tetris addict and a proud uncle.He has written articles on practically all topics from zoos to apples and almost everything in between.

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