George V. Reilly

Review: Jimmy the Kid (audiobook)

Jimmy the Kid
Title: Jimmy the Kid
Author: Donald E. Westlake
Narrator: Brian Holsopple
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
Publisher: Highbridge
Copyright: 1974
Keywords: crime, humor
Listening period: 27–31 May, 2016

I rarely listen to audiobooks, except on long driving trips. We listened to another Dortmunder book on our drive down to and back from Portland for PyCon.

Dortmunder’s jinxed associate Andy Kelp spends a few days in jail and reads a book called Child Heist by Richard Stark, which Kelp believes to be the blueprint for a perfect crime. Dortmunder, always wary of Kelp’s schemes, doesn’t appreciate having a plan brought to him, since he’s always been the planner of the crew. Some of the crew aren’t eager to kidnap a child either, but eventually they all come around. Un­for­tu­nate­ly for them, the kid is much smarter than they are, so the perfect crime fails.

Part of the joke is that Westlake wrote a series of novels about the ruthless career criminal Parker under the pseudonym Richard Stark. Child Heist is not a real Parker novel, however.

The audiobook is very amusing with a fine per­for­mance from the narrator.

The plot was loosely inspired by the real-life kidnapping of a Peugeot heir. Apparently there’s a lousy movie adaptation with Gary Coleman made in 1982, and it was also filmed twice more in Germany and Italy.

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