The Comedy is Finished

Donald Westlake’s latest posthumous release, The Comedy is Finished, is a great way to spend 320 pages. I am not an obsessive fan of crime fiction, but I appreciate the sharp dialogue that good crime writers bring to the table; The Comedy is Finished excels in this area. The problem with writing comedic and dry humor is the fact that bad writing can’t be covered by a gifted comedian’s delivery. In this case the jokes are funny, and few fall flat. Better yet, we get vivid characters, creative motivations, and all the style that Westlake brings to the table when he wrote his most famous character, Parker, while using his pen name Richard Stark.

If you’re expecting all jokes, you’re in for a rude awakening. Westlake keeps the tensions high, and the book flies by at a dizzying pace. I was genuinely invested in Koo Davis, and felt emotionally engaged throughout/ I am sadly unaware of the vast majority of Westlake’s work. If The Comedy is Finished is indicative of the author’s back catalogue, I have a busy summer of reading ahead.

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