2010: The year in Westlake

Note: New content will be light to non-existent for the next week or two, as I travel to celebrate a belated Christmas and an on-time New Year with my family back home.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this (very) hurriedly-written summary of 2010.

I hope that your holidays have been and will be filled with as much comfort and joy as mine have been and will be. I may have more New Year-related thoughts later, but just in case I don’t, thanks to all of you for reading and for another great year!

Donald Westlake may be gone, but 2010 demonstrated that he is unlikely to be forgotten. This was a banner year for his fans, with so much great stuff being released that probably only the hardcore could keep up with it all.

My personal pick for the Westlake release of the year is Memory, which was written in the early 1960s and then dug up by Abby Westlake at the urging of Lawrence Block after Don’s death. I haven’t reviewed this yet, because it’s a daunting task–I may need a second reading before I can properly write it up. I can tell you that Memory is a stunner of a novel and a major discovery. (If you’d like a more in-depth review, Sarah Weinman’s is a good one.)

The University of Chicago Press’ Parker reprint project continued apace, with six titles taking us up through Plunder Squad. This is the first time in a long time that a few of these titles have been available at reasonable prices. The project has been a big success to date, thanks in part to you.

The second volume of Darwyn Cooke’s comic book series of Parker adaptations was also released in 2010. The Outfit received rave reviews, with many proclaiming it even better than predecessor The Hunter. That’s the good news. The bad news is, we won’t see volume three until 2012.

Speaking of The Outfit, 2010 also saw an official DVD release of the 1970s film adaptation starring Robert Duvall, something that Parker fans had been waiting for for a decade or more. I hope some of you have availed yourselves of the opportunity to check it out! If not, you should give it a whirl.

Surprisingly, it was also a banner year for Westlake sleaze titles, with no less than five getting a re-release. Subterranean Press released the absolutely gorgeous omnibus Hellcats and Honeygirls, featuring three novels co-written by Westlake and Lawrence Block. It’s selling fast (so fast, in fact, that if you want it you’d better order it right this second), so maybe we can expect more of these rare titles in the future.

Two other Westlake sleaze titles, Campus Doll and Young and Innocent, were released via e-book (at very low prices) by Wonder Publishing Group. I haven’t had a chance to check these out as I don’t have an e-book contraption yet. Guess I need to get one, as I expect a lot more out-of-print Westlake to make its way back into circulation electronically over the next few years.

So that’s 2010! I hope yours was wonderful, and 2011 is even better.

(What do you think was the Westlake-related release of the year? Did I miss anything? Share with us in the comments!)

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