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The Cutie (Hard Case Crime Novels)


The Cutie (Hard Case Crime Novels)

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    Available in PDF Format | The Cutie (Hard Case Crime Novels).pdf | English
    Donald E. Westlake(Author) Stephen R. Thorne(Narrator)

Mavis St. Paul had been a rich man's mistress. Now she was a corpse. And every cop in New York City was hunting for the two-bit punk accused of putting a knife in her.

But the punk was innocent. He'd been set up to take the fall by some cutie who was too clever by half. My job? Find that cutie - before the cutie found me.

Donald 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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Review Text

  • By Colin Mayo on 2 June 2011

    I've just got into reading these "noir" thrillers (disparagingly described as "pulp fiction") from Hard Case and have read a few Spillane. This is the second Westlake I've read and what a book! A real page turner with so many twists and turns you think you are on a roller coaster. Unbelievable to think the book was first published in 1960 - seems incredibly fresh. Pleased Hard Case has republished these classics - thrillers as thrillers should be - tight, terse and tense.

  • By Noir Fan on 7 February 2010

    this is a great book to buy for those not familiar with Westlake. It has everything, but the writing will stay with you, long after you've put the book down.

  • By Simon Peters on 17 October 2012

    Donald Westlake's debut novel is a good enough read, but the master hasn't reached the heights of excellence that for me he attained with the novels he later wrote under the name Richard Stark about the criminal Parker. Worth reading, and ingenious enough.

  • By Jana L.Perskie on 6 May 2009

    Billy-Billy Cantrell is involved in narcotics, as a junkie and as a retailer on New York City's Lower East Side. Heroin is his thing...Bigtime!. He's a "meek, nervous, quiet little guy whose only offense is dope." One evening he shoots up and falls asleep in a doorway. When he wakes up, in a drug induced stupor, he finds himself in the apartment of Mavis St. Paul, who until very recently was a would-be actress and singer. Now, Ms. St. Paul is a fresh corpse. Cantrell is no killer. He doesn't ever carry a weapon and has no memory of leaving his doorway, let alone making his way to the Upper East Side apartment. As he flees the scene in terror, he sees a police car pull up in front of the St. Paul residence. Someone had called in the crime and set him up. Unfortunately, he left behind his fingerprints and his hat.Cantrell knocks on George "Clay" Clayton's door in the early morning hours and tells him he's been "patsied." Clay, our narrator, is the "right-hand man and trouble shooter for crime czar Ed Ganolese." His appearance doesn't fit his job description, however. He looks more like a respectable insurance salesman than a hit man. But then, the organization he works for is run like a top-notch business enterprise and Clay would fit right in as a junior executive.Usually, in a situation like this, Ganolese would tell Clay to make Billy-Billy disappear. The addict knows too much about the narcotics business and all the police would have to do to get him talking is put him in a cell and deprive him of a fix. When Clay contacts Ganolese, the boss tells him that Billy-Billy has some powerful friends in the European organization - people he met while soldiering during WII. ("The Cutie" was published for the first time in 1960 as "The Mercenaries"). These friends want Cantrell to remain alive and well...or as well as possible, given his line of work and favorite pastime. But the police want to close the case. The victim also has some powerful friends who are pressuring the commissioner to arrest Cantrell and throw away the key. The solution: to find the "cutie" who murdered Ms. St. Paul and set-up Billy-Billy, who must leave town ASAP. Clay is supposed to drive him to a safe house in New England. When the police knock on Clay's door, Cantrell escapes through the bathroom window. Will Clay be able to find him before the cops do?As Clay investigates he finds out more and more about Mavis St. Paul, aka Mary Komak, her shady past and long list of lovers. Apparently, she had a most mercenary attitude toward men. When the cutie murders again and then tries to kill Clay, the situation becomes desperate, with the wise guy always just a step ahead of him.Complicating Clay's life further is his dancer girlfriend Ella, who loves him but is reasonably ambivalent about his career. Although he is wedded to his work, he thinks about the morality of his lifestyle throughout this very noir crime novel.The author's writing is tight and the narrative's pace is fast. The humor is wry. The ending is a wowser!!!This is Donald E. Westlake's debut novel and, although not my favorite, I really liked the book and found myself riveted on many occasions. To the author's credit, "The Cutie" stands up well after 49 years. Mr. Westlake, who recently died, was a three-time Edgar Award winner, one of only two writers to win Edgars in three different categories: 1968, Best Novel, "God Save the Mark"; 1990, Best Short Story, "Too Many Crooks"; and 1991, Best Motion Picture Screenplay,"The Grifters." The Mystery Writers of America named Westlake a Grand Master in 1993, the highest honor bestowed by the society. Once again, kudos to Hard Case Crime for paying tribute to the author and publishing this book.Jana PerskieSomebody Owes ME MoneyThe Hot Rock (Dortmunder Novels)Kahawa: the African Novel

  • By Guest on 22 July 2013

    Decent thriller which starts with a murder and ends sort of unfinished.'Clay' (George Clayton) is visited in the early hours of the morning by Billy-Billy Cantell who tells him the police are after him for the murder of Mavis St.Paul.From that point the tale takes many twists and turns and I very much doubt anyone reading this will figure the killer out before the author reveals who it is.Well constructed story with believable characters, if you like these Hard Crime Series novels you won't go wrong with this one.

  • By J. Shurin on 29 August 2011

    Clay, the hero of Donald Westlake's The Cutie (1960, reprinted 2009), is having a classically bad day - one that starts in the early hours of the morning. Clay's enjoying a little bit of special squashy time with his ladyfriend, Ella, when he's interrupted by a freaked out junkie, Billy-Billy. Billy-Billy has been framed for the murder of Mavis St. Paul, professional mistress. He knows he's screwed, and needs Clay to sort him out. Clay, as the right-hand man to mob boss Ed Ganolese, is sadly used to this sort of situation.Ed, oddly, doesn't ask Clay to "clean the problem up" (that is, shoot Billy-Billy twice in the head). It turns out that the neighborhood junkie has important connections. Clay puts Billy-Billy into hiding and heads off on his own. However, Mavis St. Paul had some connections of her own. As well as a host of ex-lovers, she was currently boinking the head of the city's political machine. In a misguided attempt to avenge her murder, the grieving political chieftan has unleashed the police with instructions to take down Ed Ganolese.Clay is at the center of the storm as Ganolese orders him to sort the situation out. The only way to get the cops to go away is to solve the murder. Clay, cold-hearted bastard and seasoned killer that he is, finds himself on the side of the angels, making him a very unlikely hero.The book's original title was The Mercenaries, and Clay is, ostensibly, a shining example of the breed. He's well-paid and well-appointed, moving with shark-like smoothness through the city's corrupt waters. But nothing's ever that simple with Donald Westlake. Clay's a creature of deep loyalties. His connection with Ganolese is based on an emotional debt, not a monetary one. He's also loyal to Ella, who patiently applies pressure on her lover to quit his criminal life.The combination of tricky detective work and ever-increasing tension makes The Cutie another Westlake masterpiece. The ambiguous ending leaves the reader wondering. Clay's lifestyle is unsustainable. Sooner or later, Ella or Ganolese will win his soul wholly, and until then, he's living hour by hour.

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