Friday, June 16, 2017

Friday's Forgotten Books, June 16, 2017



LEVINE, by Donald Westlake (reviewed by Dana King, archives)


Donald Westlake is best known for humorous crime fiction under his own name, and for the dark Parker stories published under the Richard Stark pseudonym. Levine, a 1984 collection of short stories originally published in mystery magazines between 1959 and 1984, is something else entirely.

Abe Levine is a detective in New York's 43rd Precinct. A gentle man, Levine is morbidly aware of his entry into what were then referred to as "the heart attack years." A common thread through all the stories is the frequency with which Levine's heart skips a beat, and how conscious this makes him of the fragility of life. His distaste for artificially hastened death, and his almost humanitarian desire to see those responsible brought to justice, must always be weighed against the effects of his efforts on his own deteriorating heart.

Few literary cops combine Levine's gentle and fragile nature with his passion for justice. The introduction to the collection contains Westlake's explanation for Levine's creation: "It has become the convention that policemen, professional detectives, are 'hardened' to death, 'immune' to life untimely nipped…It was the idea of a cop, a police detective, who was so intensely aware of his own inevitable death that he wound up hating people who took the idea of death frivolously that led me to Abe Levine."

LEVINE is, unfortunately, out of print, so the public library or a used bookstore will be required. While Abe Levine stands apart from Westlake's better known characters, the careful plotting and mastery of craft present in all of his work is not lacking. Anyone looking for something different from a familiar hand could hardly do better than to hunt up a copy of LEVI

Sergio Angelini, FAT OLLIE'S BOOK, Ed McBain
Mark Baker, BLOOD WORK, Michael Connelly
Yvette Banek, A BLUNT INSTRUMENT, Georgette Heyer
Joe Barone, BLOOD HOLLOW, William Kent Kruger
Les Blatt, THE RELIGIOUS BODY, Catherine Aird
Bill Crider, THE CRITIC'S CHOICE: THE BEST OF CRIME AND DETECTIVE TV, Max Allan Collins and Allan Javna
Scott Cupp, THE DEEP BLUE GOODBYE, John D. MacDonald
Martin Edwards, THE LYTTLETON CASE, R.A.V. Morris
Curt Evans,  Kindertotenlieder: A Question of Inheritance  and Easy Prey  by Josephine Bell
Richard Horton,  Space Captain by Murray Leinster/The Mad Metropolib by Philip E. High
Jerry House, TOM SWIFT AND HIS BIG TUNNEL, Howard. R..Garris
George Kelley, THE STAR TREK READER, James Blish
Margot Kinberg, RED INK, Angela Makholwa
B.V. Lawson, THE PUZZLE OF THE BLUE BANDERILLO, Stuart Palmer
Evan Lewis,  BIG RED'S DAUGHTER and TOKYO DOLL, John McPartland
Steve Lewis, DREAMING OF BABYLON, Richard Brautigan
Todd Mason, ALIEN CARGO, Theodore Sturgeon
J.F. Norris, THE OTHER SIDE OF THE GREEN HILLS, John Keir Cross
Matt Paust, DEAD MAN'S GUN AND OTHER WESTERN STORIES, Ed Gorman
James Reasoner, LATIGO, Frank O'Rourke
Richard Robinson, ORBITAL DECAY, Allen Steele
TomCat, THE LEGENDARY SNOW DEMONS MURDER
TracyK, BADGE OF EVIL, Whit Masterson
Westlake Review, THIEVE'S DOZEN, Donald Westlake

12 comments:

Todd Mason said...

Welcome back to duty, Patti! Thanks for putting the list together.

Now to get back to my endlessly interrupted "Tuesday" list-making...

Jerry House said...

I'm also glad to have you back, Patti. Todd always does a great job in your absence but he's just not as pretty as you.

Also mine's up now: a 1916 boy's book by 'Victor Appleton," Tom Swift and His Big Tunnel.

J F Norris said...

Mine's up now, Patti.

The Other Side of Green Hills by John Keir Cross

Mathew Paust said...

Enjoyed the review of Levine, a character I'd not know of. I just check at Amazon to see if there's a Kindle version. There isn't, but hard and paper copies are available: https://www.amazon.com/Levine-Donald-E-Westlake/dp/0892960639/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1497625067&sr=1-1&keywords=westlake+levine

Mathew Paust said...

Here's the cyber version: https://www.amazon.com/Levine-Donald-E-Westlake/dp/0892960639/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1497625067&sr=1-1&keywords=westlake+levine

Mathew Paust said...

(Daunted by the typos in my first comment, my apologies!)

Jerry House said...

I suppose at one time or another Tom Swift also invented a Big Funnel.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Gotta get these eyes checked but it was worth the laugh I got.

Todd Mason said...

Meanwhile, Jerry, while I have to agree with your first comment, I can't help but feeling a bit hurt....

Graham Powell said...

I actually had a copy of the magazine (either AHMM or EQMM) that the last Levine story appeared in. I later read them all, and they're very good.

Margot Kinberg said...

Really good to have you back, Patti, and thanks for including my post!

pattinase (abbott) said...

Thanks for writing it, Margot!