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DanSchwent

Dantastic Book Reviews

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The Hook - Donald E Westlake Bryce Proctor, a best-selling author, is going through a nasty bout of writer's block and an even nastier divorce. He runs into an old acquaintance, Wayne Prentice. Wayne is a good but low selling author who's burned through his latest pseudonym. Proctor makes Prentice an offer he can't refuse: Let Proctor put his name on Prentice's newest book and they'll split the profits fifty-fifty. The only condition: Proctor's soon to be ex-wife must die...

How's that for a Hook? Westlake pours on the psychological suspense in this one and it shows the depth of his skills. The story takes a Hitchcockian turn almost from the get-go. Once the deed occurs, Proctor descends into madness and Prentice winds up usurping parts of Proctor's life, including his apartment. I saw the ending coming but it was still a good one. The role reversal and the contrasting of each man's reaction to Proctor's wife's death was the highpoint of the book.

Donald Westlake was quite a writer and I think more people will realize this in the next few years. The Hook is a short but powerful book and I highly recommend it. It's now my second favorite story about the publishing industry, the first being Bestsellers, Guaranteed by Joe Lansdale.