George V. Reilly

Review: The Ax

The Ax
Title: The Ax
Author: Donald E. Westlake
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Copyright: 1997
Pages: 352
Keywords: crime, dark humor
Reading period: Nov 7, 2015

Burke Devore is a middle-aged middle manager at a paper mill, who’s been laid off for some time. There are too many others like him and they’re beating him out for the few positions in his field. In des­per­a­tion, he decides to eliminate the com­pe­ti­tion by placing a fake job ad­ver­tise­ment for others with similar skills and by killing them off.

Westlake is known for a variety of crime novels, including the light-hearted, humorous Dortmunder books. There’s humor here, but in a very dark vein, and social commentary too. Devore isn’t obviously a villain or a psychopath, but a man who’s committed himself to a path that he knows is wrong, which he intends to see through. He’s struggling to stay in the middle class and to provide for his family. The book is almost 20 years old, but the white-collar des­per­a­tion is all too current.

blog comments powered by Disqus
History of Toilet Paper » « USB 3 Drivers on a Lenovo E545