Watch Your Back! by Donald E. Westlake

There are two prerequisites for reading and enjoying the hilarious Dortmunder novels by the amazingly prolific Donald Westlake: (1) you enjoy watching a fiendishly clever plot unfold, and (2) you love to laugh.

In his 75 years — Westlake died on the last day of the year 2008 — Westlake wrote more than 100 novels and a passel of other books as well. Included were a dozen novels about the hapless career burglar, John Dortmunder, and his cronies, Stan Murch, Andy Kelp, Tiny, and assorted significant others and hangers-on. “Watch Your Back!”, published in 2005, is a good example of the lot.

Watch Your Back! by Donald E. Westlake ★★★★☆

The plot of this book is so convoluted that creating a summary strikes me as a daunting task. Besides, just knowing the plot would spoil the experience of reading it. “Watch Your Back!” is a whole lot of fun. From time to time, I simply couldn’t stop laughing.

As writes about this novel, “In his classic caper novels, Donald E. Westlake turns the world of crime and criminals upside-down: the bad get better, the good get worse, and God save anyone caught between a thief named John Dortmunder and his most improbable plans . . . [W]hen Dortmunder and his clean-up crew get together to plan the heist, they quickly get distracted and suddenly a billionaire from Fifth Avenue and a would-be Tony Soprano from New Jersey have one thing in common: John Dortmunder is after them both at the same time . . . and disaster can’t be far behind.”

For additional reading

You might also enjoy reading about Dortmunder’s last caper, funny to the end. And check out My 17 favorite funny novels.

You might also enjoy my posts:

For an abundance of great mystery stories, go to Top 20 suspenseful detective novels.

And you can always find my most popular reviews, and the most recent ones, plus a guide to this whole site, on the Home Page.