Final(?) Donald Westlake novel to be published: Call Me a Cab

Cover of Call Me a Cab by Donald Westlake

Big news from Hard Case Crime (via Facebook):

Now it can be told: Donald E. Westlake’s final unpublished novel — a real gem, sweet and sharp and touching and funny — is coming in February.

This is exciting news. As it happens, the unpublished Call Me a Cab was briefly touched upon here eleven years ago:

[Quoting from the Rara-Avis forum]: I know of two Westlake novels that have not seen the light of day. One an expanded version of his Redbook novella CALL ME A CAB and another entitled ICE about two brothers who inherit an ice factory from their dead father.

Everything in that post, which pulled from two different sources and also covered the novel that would be later published as The Comedy is Finished, has since come to light…except Ice. So it appears the sources knew what they were talking about.

What’s the story, then, with Ice? I do not know and will try to find out. However, I wanted to get this great news up about the bird in the hand before obsessing over the bird in the bush.

So what is Call Me a Cab? Like the excellent and similarly posthumous Memory, it is not a crime novel even though it is being published by Hard Case Crime.

In 1977, one of the world’s finest crime novelists turned his pen to suspense of a very different sort—and the results have never been published, until now.

Fans of mystery fiction have often pondered whether it would be possible to write a suspense novel without any crime at all, and in CALL ME A CAB the masterful Donald E. Westlake answered the question in his inimitable style. You won’t find any crime in these pages—but what you will find is a wonderful suspense story, about a New York City taxi driver hired to drive a beautiful woman all the way across America, from Manhattan to Los Angeles, where the biggest decision of her life is waiting to be made. It’s Westlake at his witty, thought-provoking best, and it proves that a page-turner doesn’t need to have a bomb set to go off at the end of it in order to keep sparks flying every step of the way.

I haven’t read the novella yet, so this material will be all new to me. Sounds like fun!