One of my favorite authors died on New Year’s Eve.

I first read Donald Westlake close to 30 years ago. I don’t remember what book it was (The Hot Rock? Bank Shot?), but it hooked me on the guy for life.
Westlake will be remembered for the Dortmunder novels, but he was so much more than that. I don’t own many books (support your local library!) but I probably own more of his titles than of any other author. Dortmunder is his most famous creations (other than Parker, who was way too grim for my tastes), but my favorites were the non-Dortmunder, non-crime ones. Adios, Scherherezade; The Hook, A Likely Story were an uncommon look at the writing world. Many (but not all) were comic (Dancing Aztecs made me laugh out loud continuously), and sentimental (Thank god, Westlake was not averse to a happy ending) but all were sharp, clever, and utterly delightful. (there’s a wonderful exchange of Biblical verses in Brothers Keepers) He was a craftsman in the William Morris sense of the word (Romantic, not literary agent). I’m sorry I’m not a good enough writer to do justice to the man.   Others do a better job.