Dortmunder Books

John Archibald Dortmund is the protagonist in more than 14 novels by renowned author Donald E. Westlake as well as 11 short stories that were published in the year 1970 and the year 2009. Dortmund was first featured in the novel, the Hot Rock that was published in the year, 1970.

Order of Dortmunder Series

# Read Title Published Details
1 The Hot Rock 1970 Description / Buy
2 Bank Shot 1972 Description / Buy
3 Jimmy The Kid 1974 Description / Buy
4 Nobody's Perfect 1977 Description / Buy
5 Why Me? 1983 Description / Buy
6 Good Behavior 1985 Description / Buy
7 Drowned Hopes 1990 Description / Buy
8 Don't Ask 1993 Description / Buy
9 What's The Worst That Could Happen? 1996 Description / Buy
10 Bad News 2001 Description / Buy
11 The Road To Ruin 2004 Description / Buy
12 Watch Your Back! 2005 Description / Buy
13 What's So Funny? 2007 Description / Buy
14 Get Real 2009 Description / Buy
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Originally, author Westlake had intended to feature Parker, one of his creations and then publish the novel under the name of Richard Stark. However, the plot of the novel revolved around a precious gem that was stolen, required, stolen again and lost again, which appeared to be
too rib-tickling a situation for a hard-boiled character like Parker. Westlake, therefore, decided to rewrite the novel with more likable and bumbling characters, who were led by a hard-luck and pessimist thief. In many ways the character, Dortmunder is much similar to Parker. He is not only a thief, but he is also a planner, who loves to create schemes for burglary and also assigning responsibilities to his teammates.

Dortmunder Awards

Despite the fact that the Dortmunder has not received any literary awards, the first installment, the Hot Rock received an Oscar nomination

Dortmunder Books into Movies

The first installment the Hot Rock was adapted into a feature film that performed extremely well.

Dortmunder Series Best Books

The Hot Rock: The first installment in the Dortmunder book series, by author Donald E. Westlake. This hugely satisfying novel features a hapless thief, John Dortmunder, whose wonderful capers always tend to hit the unforeseeable snags.

Despite having x-ray vision and a GPS device, Dortmunder is not able to locate an ounce of luck. After Dortmunder is released from the penitentiary, he has recruited friend Kelp, to assist him in pulling an exceedingly complicated grand burglary. The Dortmunder and Kelp are supposed to steal a gem that is known as the Balabomo Emerald that is worth 500,000 dollars.

The two are expected to steal the gem from a neighbor to the United States ambassador and hand it to the ambassador, Talabwo. Once the job is perfectly executed, the two will be paid 15,000 dollars in cash. Dortmunder, who is normally short on morals and cash, accepts this risky job and begins to assemble a highly engaging and eclectic group of accomplished and like-minded cohorts.

Thus, what initially began as an exceedingly delicate and straight forward operation eventually turns into a series of betrayal, breaks, and setbacks that were so expensive and elusive. With that said, this story is not only lighter but also less violent and humorous when compared to the Parker series, by David E. Westlake. Despite being a master thief, the Dortmunder never carries a gun and neither does the members of his crew. The Dortmunder is a tactician, an artist but not a thug.

Bank Shot: In Bank Shot we meet once again with the Dortmunder, the criminal mastermind, and planner. Dortmunder is short of luck and has been reduced to selling encyclopedias to the homemakers who reside in Long Island. However, it does not take long before Kelp comes up with a sure deal. Victor, Kelp’s nephew, works with the FBI, and while working, he noticed a perfect opportunity. One of the major local banks
was undergoing some renovations, and thus the day to day operations of the bank had been moved to a mobile home, located just a few meters from the bank.

All the trio have to do is to hitch the trailer to a truck, and they will have just stolen an entire bank. Author, Donald E. Westlake has just created an exceedingly wonderful character in the Dortmunder. Dortmunder is a master planner of elaborate schemes and is stuck with a gang that is made up of incompetent accomplices. With that said, Bank Shot is a satisfying read that has a fantastic end.

Other Book Series You May Like

Just like the Dortmunder, “Inspector Porfiry” is yet another entertaining series by Stuart M. Kaminsky. Black Knight is Red Square is the first book in the Inspector Porfiry book series. The Metropole Hotel in Moscow is a poignant reminder of the debauchery of the last regime. Despite being one of the best hotels in Moscow, the corridors of the Metropole Hotel are dusty, its rooms are exceedingly dank, while its restaurant is now the scene of multiple killings.

The four men who were killed were from different countries and had shared a meal the previous night before being brutally murdered. To ensure that the investigation is done quietly, the Kremlin decides to give the investigation to one Porfiry Rostiknov. To embarrass the Soviet state, a terrorist is targeting foreigners.

What Is The Next Book in The Dortmunder Series?

There doesn't seem to be an upcoming book in The Dortmunder Series. The newest book is Get Real and was released on November, 30th 2008.

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