SOMETIMES WINNING FEELS AN AWFUL LOT LIKE LOSING.
Cab driver Chet Conway was hoping for a good tip from his latest fare, the sort he could spend. But what he got was a tip on a horse race. Which might have turned out okay, except that when he went to collect his winnings Chet found his bookie lying dead on the living room floor.
Chet knows he had nothing to do with it – but just try explaining that to the cops, to the two rival criminal gangs who each think Chet’s working for the other, and to the dead man’s beautiful sister, who has flown in from Las Vegas to avenge her brother’s murder…
From BooklistChet Conway, a New York City cabbie who calls himself eloquent, likes his job and can afford to be philosophical about tips—that is, until one passenger gives him a gratuity that may cost him his life. This tip isn’t spare change but inside dope on a long-shot horse. Chet, who likes both stud poker and horse racing, places a bet on the cuff, and the nag comes in big. But when he goes to collect, his bookie is bleeding. Even worse, everyone—from the bookie’s wife and sister, to the cops, to two warring gangs—thinks Chet pulled the trigger. All he wants is his cash, but he looks likely to be paid in lead. This 1969 comic caper may have fallen out of print, but it’s so agreeably engaging that it suggests that Westlake has never had a bad day at work. Chet’s doggedness in the face of absurd complications keeps us smiling along in the backseat. And, even as Westlake kids the conventions of mystery, the neatly knotted plot proves that he takes even fun seriously. --Keir Graff
About the AuthorDonald E. Westlake is widely regarded as one of the great crime writers of the 20th Century. He won three Edgar Awards and was named a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America Many of his books have been made into movies; Westlake also wrote the screenplay for The Grifters,for which he received an Academy Award nomination.