Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Comedy is Finished

The Comedy Is FinishedThe Comedy Is Finished by Donald E. Westlake

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Aging comedian Koo Davis is kidnapped and held for ransom by the People's Revolution Army. But will the PRA let Koo live even if their demands are met?

Donald E. Westlake wrote The Comedy is Finished sometime during the 1970's but decided not to publish it for a couple reasons. I'll be completely honest. From the first half of the book, I wasn't completely sold on The Comedy is Finished and was planning on giving it a 2. Then Westlake worked his magic.

My reasons for not loving The Comedy is Finished at the beginning are two: the first is that the story is very dated and full of references to the 1960's and Watergate. Westlake's Parker books have an almost timeless quality while this one is very, very much a product of the time it was written. The second reason I wasn't in love with this book is that I found Koo Davis to be more obnoxious than funny.

The story really started clicking for me when the complications began arising and the wheels fell off the kidnappers' plans. Without spoiling too much, there were three plot twists I didn't see coming until it was too late. I actually caught myself getting behind Koo even though I wasn't a big fan of most of his jokes.

The writing is vintage Westlake and does a lot toward earning back the book some points. There were a lot of good similes, some even Chandler-esque. There's a decent amount of violence and a fair amount of smut as well.

For once, there's a posthumously published book I fully approve of. The Comedy is Finished is ultimately an enjoyable read and a worth addition to the Hard Case Crime Series.

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