THE ROAD TO RUIN by Donald E. Westlake


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Can you believe John Dortmunder (see below) and his wayward cronies (Bad News, 2001, etc.) actually doing an honest day’s work and getting paid for it?

Here’s the plan. They’ll hire on as butler (Dortmunder), private secretary (Andy Kelp), security guard (Tiny Belcher), and chauffeur (Stan Murch) to Monroe Hall, who can’t keep staff now that he’s been caught embezzling from stock investors, depleting union pension funds, etc. Once employed, they’ll hijack Monroe’s multimillion-dollar antique auto collection. But the problem of how to get the cars off the estate without anyone noticing is further complicated by Mac, Buddy, and Ace, out to avenge the union losses, who plan to kidnap Monroe and demand ransom. Add bilked investors Mark Sterling and Oz Faulk, who also plan to kidnap Monroe until he gives them the password to his offshore bank account, and Dortmunder and the boys won’t have an easy time of it, even before Monroe’s personal trainer, irate at his employer for reasons best known to the IRS, joins forces with the union trio and the investors. Before Dortmunder and his gang can set their heist in action, Monroe and Dortmunder the butler are kidnapped. Oops, there’s also an assassin running loose. If you think he’s after Dortmunder, you’re almost right.

Not quite the funniest of Dortmunder’s capers, but worthwhile if only to eavesdrop on the drinkers at the O.J. Bar & Grill as they resolve the issue of global warming.

Pub Date: April 21st, 2004
ISBN: 0-89296-801-X
Page count: 350pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2004


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