Monday, February 23, 2009

The Cutie; The Long Silence After

Donald E. Westlake's The Cutie, previously known as The Mercenaries, works very well as a both first novel and a glimpse into the Westlakian future. The new Hardcase edition is welcome indeed.

Clay is the bought-and-paid for fixer of mob boss Ed Ganolese. If he dresses better than the others who work for Ganolese and is a little cleverer with the patter and is attempting to woo a woman who has serious doubts about the state of his soul , he is nonetheles a pretty typical foot soldier at heart. He does what the boss says and that occasionally means killing somebody.

Billy-Billy is a sad junkie-dealer who gets framed for a murder he claims he didn't commit. He turns to Clay for help because he too is a member of the Ganolese family albeit not an important one. Clay would just as soon give him an "accident." But for some reason this nobody junkie is important to the boss and the police alike. The city is being torn apart by people searching for Billy. But why? The plot twists back on itself beautifully at several points and the mystery becomes all the more mysterious.

All this will become familiar to Westlake readers not to mention Stark readers. Mobsters, civic corruption, paid murder, merciless cops and a man like Clay who doesn't question the morality of what he's doing--he just does it. The only difference between The Cutie and later Westlake is the style. It's more garrulous than even the two novels that would soon follow it. But this isn't to suggest that it's weak in any way. It isn't. It's a strong, tough, original approach by a man who would soon make the crime novel all his own.

------------The Long Silence After

John Shane is a young Chicago filmmaker who asked if he could turn my short story The Long Silence After into a short film to take to festivals. I think he did a good job. Thanks go to Ben Springer at Gravetapping who alerted me to it being on the net.

Take a look:


Anonymous said...

Nice film, Ed!

What's the status of The Poker Club? Looking forward to seeing it.


PokerBen said...

Speaking of "The Poker Club" I just got the novel, can't wait to dive into it.

Also, is your website down Ed? It takes me to currently.


Anonymous said...

I just watched the film version of your story. They did a terrific job. It doesn't quite capture the mood that your story does (which is one of my favorites, by the way), but, wow, it's a shocker no matter what.

I don't know if you'd be interested in this, but I have a friend who runs a film festival a few times a year featuring short pieces like Shane's, and I forwarded it to him to see if he might be able to add it. Not only good exposure for the filmmakers but for you, too. --Brian

Ed Gorman said...

Sure Brian. If h's interested have him write me at I'll pass it on to John. I assume he'd be very interested.

Ben-I haven't heard from anybody else who's had trouble reaching the site. But since I live at the mercy of computers I know never to knock them in public. They get you back.