Sunday, July 19, 2009

Hard Case Crime and Donald Westlake

Hard Case Crime will bring out Donald Westlake's Memory, written in the '60s and never published. Charles Ardai says that Lawrence Block had the manuscript. Ardai explains: The book is called MEMORY, and it's outstanding. Don wrote it in the early 1960s but set it aside when his literary agent advised him that it was too literary and encouraged him to concentrate on more commercial sorts of crime fiction. And despite Larry's urging him to publish it over the decades that followed, Don never did.

He should have. It's a beautifully written, heartbreaking story about a man who suffers an assault (after being caught in bed with another man's wife) and wakes up in a hospital bed suffering from a peculiar sort of brain damage that doesn't make him unable to function but does make it hard for him to form new memories or retain old ones. Stuck far from home (and struggling even to remember where home used to be), paranoid about the attentions of the police, and desperate to reconstruct his lost life, Paul Cole sets out on an extraordinary private investigation: a missing persons case in which he himself is the missing person.

8 comments:

Kent said...

I'm really looking forward to this one. A great Westlake reprint is a fine thing, but a previously unpublished novel? I am stoked.

Anonymous said...

Sounds good.

That is a real thing - brain damage where you can't form new memories - but I'm surprised it was known that long ago as the 1960's, unless Westlake made it up.

The description also makes it sound a little like Memento.

Will definitely read this one.

Jeff

Donna said...

Nice to know there's another Westlake book to look forward to. I don't even mind it won't be until next April. I have the last Dortmunder this year.

Gerard Saylor said...

I left an interesting and relevant comment earlier today. But the internet is stupid and the comment did not work.

Bill Crider said...

Stupid Internets.

todd mason said...

Not nearly as stupid as pretending that "literay" and "commercial" are antithetical. What fine decisions so many have made.

Gerard Saylor said...

My earlier comment was regarding "Retirement Homes are Murder" by Mike Befeler. An old dude has a medical condition where forgets everything whenever he falls asleep. Well, not everything, but everything up until 1998 or so. Murder is involved.

Howard said...

wow...i've just recently (last couple of years) started to read Westlake...it'll be cool to read a book new not only to me but to everyone else also