John Dortmunder, deadpan burglar extraordinaire, leads a cast of marvelously twisted supporting characters in his stellar 12th outing from MWA Grandmaster Westlake (after 2004's The Road to Ruin). Arnie Albright, a fence so obnoxious his family intervened and sent him to Club Med in hopes he'd become more likable, has returned from the resort minimally improved, but having met the man of his dreams Preston Fareweather, a millionaire who's as comically distasteful as Arnie and who, more importantly, plans to be away from his art-filled New York penthouse indefinitely, on the run from hordes of furious ex-wives. Albright calls in Dortmunder and his pals to take advantage of Fareweather's absence. Meanwhile, Dortmunder has discovered that a New Jersey branch of the mob has been systematically taking over O.J. Bar & Grill, which traditionally hosts Dortmunder's business meetings. While Dortmunder plans the penthouse burglary and tracks down Raphael Medrick, failed manager of the O.J. and compulsive creator of crummy music, Fareweather uses women and lolls on the beach. Events unfold in a delicious sequence, and every step is complemented by great writing, right down to the hilarious exchanges between the regulars hanging out at the O.J. (Apr. 18) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Begin laughing right now. Offensive fence Arnie Albright's been sent to a Caribbean Club Med by his family in hopes that, once there, he'll develop charm and social skills. Instead, he finds a mark, Preston Fareweather, who's spent the past three years there hiding out from the subpoenas of his four ex-wives. (Fareweather: "To have ex-wives is normal. It's merely the end product of lust.") So his multimillion-dollar New York penthouse with its Picassos and Ming vases is empty, as Arnie explains to Dortmunder, Tiny, Kelp and Stan when he returns. But there are some snags. The gang can't reconnoiter as usual at the O.J. Bar & Grill because Mikey the mobster has taken it over. Will Dortmunder (The Road to Ruin, 2004, etc.) ever get another house bourbon-and-ice again? Even once Mikey's out, he doesn't go quietly but puts a tail on Dortmunder that leads directly to the Fareweather penthouse and the moving van that Stan has confiscated from undercover feds to haul the loot away. By this time, however, Fareweather, gulled by yet another beauty, has retreated to the empty penthouse, which now plays headquarters to: our gang; young Judson Blint, who is being trained, sort of, to join our gang; the mobsters' gang; and Fareweather. Can the cops be far behind? Can the laughs? A top-flight caper from Westlake, who can outconnive anyone in the writing business.