Synopses & Reviews
The multi-award-winning, widely-acclaimed mystery master Donald E. Westlake delivers a masterpiece with this brilliant, laser-sharp tale of the deadly consequences of corporate downsizing.
Burke Devore is a middle-aged manager at a paper company when the cost-cutting ax falls, and he is laid off. Eighteen months later and still unemployed, he puts a new spin on his job search -- with agonizing care, Devore finds the seven men in the surrounding area who could take the job that rightfully should be his, and systematically kills them. Transforming himself from mild-mannered middle manager to ruthless murderer, he discovers skills ne never knew ne had -- and that come to him far too easily.
"[A] mesmerizing chiller....Writing with deadpan style, Westlake makes Devore's rage utterly believable....[T]he suspense is tight as a steel coil, the background sociology is impeccably developed, and the book should have upper-level downsizers trembling in their Guccis at the thought of the hideous anguish they are unleashing on the land." Publishers Weekly
"A novel of excruciating brilliance....The Ax will gut your soul: it is engrossing and relentless and all too plausible." New York Times Book Review
"Eerily gripping....The Ax will hold you; you can't forgo finding out how it ends." Jeff Brown, People
"Satirical, savage, fast-paced....An expertly entertaining suspense thriller [and] a complex morality tale." The Washington Post Book World
"Westlake...rises effortlessly to the challenge of varying these executions, keeping up the tension...by interspersing them with vignettes of Devore's quietly ruined home life..." Kirkus Reviews
"A potentially compelling look at the effects of long-term unemployment on the psyche of a man of limited prospects and intellect, the result is merely a step-by-step guide to executing innocent people, generally lacking in conflict, irony, and farcical elements." Library Journal
Fro 25 years, Burke Devore has provided for his family and played by the rules. Until now. Downsized from his job, Devore is slipping away: from his wife, his family, and from all civilized norms of behavior. He wants his life back, and will do anything to get it. In this relentlessly fascinating novel, the masterful Westlake takes readers on a journey of obsession and outrage inside a quiet man's desperate world.
About the Author
Donald Edwin Westlake, is a prolific American writer and novelist, with over a hundred books to his credit. He specializes in crime fiction, especially comic capers with an occasional foray into science fiction. He is a three-time Edgar award winner, and was made a Grand Master of the Mystery Writers of America in 1993, the highest honor bestowed by the society.