RIP Donald Westlake

The Black Ice Score

A Gold Medal Books original by Westlake under the name Stark.

Donald Edwin Westlake (12 July 1933 in Brooklyn, New York31 December 2008 in Mexico) was an American writer, with over a hundred novels and non-fiction books to his credit. He specialized in crime fiction, especially comic capers with an occasional foray into science fiction. He created the psychopathic fictional character Parker.

lee marvin - ‘point blank’ by mr. diazzler

Film still from Point Blank

Outside of the world of literature he is perhaps best-known for the film adaptation of his novel The Hunter as Point Blank in 1967 with Lee Marvin. The Hunter was written by Donald E. Westlake under the pseudonym Richard Stark. The plot concerns a criminal, Parker (or Walker in Point Blank), who is himself betrayed, shot, and left for dead by his partner, and his relentless pursuit to retrieve his money and wreak revenge.
Jean-Luc Godard‘s Made in USA (1966) which was an extremely loose adaptation of “The Jugger,” a novel by Westlake. Neither the film’s producer nor Godard purchased the rights to the novel, so Westlake successfully sued to prevent the film’s commercial distribution in the United States.

7 thoughts on “RIP Donald Westlake

  1. lichanos

    I look to you to remind me of those films I always wanted to see but never did. Point Blank is one of them. I just reserved it at our public library. Who needs Netflicks? Comfort of Strangers is another – I’d rather that one had remained missed…

  2. jahsonic

    I’d rather that one had remained missed… I know what you mean … I wrote about the film a while back. I have very vivid memories of the film and do not agree with your remarks on unprobability of the script regarding the stomach punch. I used to read serial killer reports and you’d be surprised on the stupidity of many victims. Which reminds me of Kathy Acker quote

    “If you didn’t come back to release me, well, that was only to be expected: for there are never enough sadists for the masochists we mostly are.”

  3. lichanos

    I used to read serial killer reports… I thought my taste in reading was odd…

    Well, the characters didn’t seem believable to me. You can say that many victims are stupid in fact, but to me these people seemed motivated by nothing at all…just the author’s hand pushing them along.

  4. John Coulthart

    I’d also give a shout to a minor 70s crime classic, The Outfit, another hardboiled Richard Stark drama. Owes much to film noir by including Robert Ryan in the cast and has some great performances by Robert Duvall and Joe Don Baker.

  5. nursemyra

    I really liked The Comfort of Strangers. Though i have to agree with you about Ninth Gate – what a load of codswollop.

    That’s a great clip of Marianne Faithfull

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