Blowhard, Esq. writes:
I enjoyed this Westlake, winner of the Edgar Award for best novel in 1968. Fred Fitch, a gullible sad sack, inherits $300,000 from his con man uncle and soon discovers that someone is willing to kill him to get it back. Written after “The Hunter,” Fitch is so trusting and naive that he’s almost an anti-Parker. (Also, unlike Parker who seeks out money, in this story the money falls in the lap of the protagonist.) Comic hijinks ensue as he bounces around New York City dealing with femme fatales, mob hitmen, corrupt cops, shyster lawyers, other shady con men, and a strange dapper midget that prefigures the one in Lynch’s TWIN PEAKS. In its own way, it’s as existential as Kafka’s “The Trial,” but this is Westlake, so the paranoia and cynicism are played for laughs (is there such a thing as light existentialism?). It’d make a fantastic movie. You can buy it on Kindle here.