The Many Lives of Donald Westlake

Michael Weinreb at Grantland:

In his nearly five-decade career, Westlake, who died in 2008, created a diverse and surprising catalogue that encompasses crime — from both sides of the law — and science fiction and satire and adventure and enjoyable little oddities that don't really fit into any category. He was astoundingly prolific and eminently readable; he had a loyal fan base and respect among his peers but never made a New York Times best-seller list; and he is known by many not for Parker, but for his comic novels, the most popular of which featured a curmudgeonly literary cousin of Parker named Dortmunder. "Comic literature of any kind is the hardest thing to write," says Otto Penzler, Westlake's friend, sometime editor, and the proprietor of the Mysterious Bookshop in Manhattan. "It's also very subjective."