George V. Reilly

Review: The Hot Rock

The Hot Rock
Title: The Hot Rock
Author: Donald E. Westlake
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
Publisher: Mysterious Press
Copyright: 1970
Pages: 304
Keywords: crime, humor
Reading period: 8–19 January, 2015

I mentioned last week that a few months ago we had listened to the audiobook of The Hot Rock, the first of the Dortmunder novels. I just finished reading it as an ebook on my phone. I enjoyed it a lot but I think I found it funnier when I heard it as an audiobook. Partly, the first time around, I didn’t know what was coming next; partly, the narrator’s skillful delivery gave me time to savor the humor. I read so fast that I gallop past the punchlines.

Dortmunder, newly released from prison, is engaged by an African diplomat to steal a large emerald that’s held sacred by the nation of Talabwo. Dortmunder and his gang of misfit crooks steal the jewel, but the guy with the jewel is caught. They break him out of jail to get the jewel back, but he hid it in the police station. They break into the police station and … it’s not there. One heist after another, to get their hands on that jinxed jewel.

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