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Forever and a Death (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

It’s billed as his last novel, as well as his “lost thriller”. I hesitate to believe it is his last. Who knows what may be found in a closet or desk. But “lost thriller” – that is fair.

The author in question is Donald E. Westlake. The book is Forever and a Death and it began its life as a James Bond screenplay. I recommend you to read it as it is great fun, but I would also urge you to read the afterword by Jeff Kleeman first. From his early years, Kleeman was a fan of Bond and Westlake. Eventually he became involved with the people who did the Bond movies and he convinced them to let Westlake take a crack at a 007 screenplay. Obviously, nothing came of it but his afterward is an interesting telling of how it all happened. It gives nothing away about the plot or end of the story.

Forever and a Death is about a wealthy developer who felt wronged by the Chinese during their takeover of Hong Kong from the British. His solution is to destroy the city using a new technology. See? In the tradition of the Bond movies, an evil rich genius plots great destruction. And what a great plan it is! Who will thwart his dastardly plan? Well I’m not going to give you that much detail. It is from here that the book moves away from a 007 story to something uniquely Westlakian.

This is serious Westlake, not funny Westlake. The book is told in alternating chapters, those of the plotter and those of who don’t know exactly what he’s up to, but know it will be something terrible if he cannot be stopped.

The book is fun and engrossing, and was perfect for a round-trip flight to the Great Plains. It’s got glitz and grime, really bad bad guys and really good good guys. It uses Southeast Asia well, moving from open ocean to islands, Australia to Hong Kong, it doesn’t shy away from killing off significant characters – that adds to the suspense – and it’s fun watching the heroes put the pieces together to stop the disaster.

Is it the final Westlake? Who knows? Clearly it does qualify as a lost novel and thank heaven it was found!

Forever and a Death will be a Hard Case hardcover, released on June 13th, $22.99.

Great Summer reading!

Let’s hope there are more to be found and we’ve not yet seen the “last Westlake”.


The Bond That Never Was

Two decades ago, the producers of the James Bond movies hired legendary crime novelist Donald E. Westlake to come up with a story for the next Bond film. The plot Westlake dreamed up - about a Western businessman seeking revenge after being kicked out of Hong Kong when the island was returned to Chinese rule - had all the elements of a classic Bond adventure, but political concerns kept it from being made. Never one to let a good story go to waste, Westlake wrote an original novel based on the premise instead - a novel he never published while he was alive.

Now, nearly a decade after Westlake's death, Hard Case Crime is proud to give that novel its first publication ever, together with a brand new afterword by one of the movie producers describing the project's genesis, and to give fans their first taste of the Westlake-scripted Bond that might have been.

About the Author

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 Grandmaster 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.
Product Details
ISBN: 9781785654237
ISBN-10: 1785654233
Publisher: Hard Case Crime
Publication Date: June 13th, 2017
Pages: 240
Language: English