Synopses & Reviews
Bryce Proctorr has a multimillion-dollar contract for his next novel, a trophy wife raking him over the coals of a protracted divorce, a bad case of writer's block, and an impending deadline.
Wayne Prentice is a fading author in a world that no longer values his work. He's gone through two pseudonyms, watched his book sales shrivel, and is contemplating leaving the writing life. Proctorr has a proposition: If Prentice will hand over his unsold manuscript to publish under Proctorr's name, the two will split the book advance fifty-fifty. There's just one small rider to the deal...
In the history of literary collaborations there has never been one as fiendishly fascinating, and exquisitely explosive, as the one that Donald E. Westlake has cooked up in his new novel. The tale of two men who live in a world of fiction, words, scenes, characters, and the tyranny of the New York Times bestseller list, The Hook brilliantly unveils a literary deception fueled by envy, fury, guilt, anger, and admiration. When Wayne Prentice sells his soul to his old friend, he begins a Hitchcockian journey to all the things he has ever wanted at a price far to great too pay...
Once again, Donald E. Westlake proves that on the landscape of American letters he is a unique force of his own. From his hilarious Dortmunder comic capers to his novels written under the name of Richard Stark and his psychologically galvanizing The Ax, Westlake has delivered one agonizing twist and turn after another. In The Hook, he is at his best. And for the reader, there is no getting away.
"[T]rust Westlake to out-think you for a chilling, remorseless ending....The set-up borrows a bit from Strangers on a Train, but the insider's view of the writer's life and the publishing industry are Westlake at his most trenchantand several of those failed Bryce plots sound suspiciously like the work of Robert Ludlum." Kirkus Reviews
"Westlake salts the stew with lots of fascinating publishing shoptalk, and his portrayal of the psychological unraveling of a writer is made all the more chilling by the quiet realism of its presentation. A fine thriller." Bill Ott, Booklist
"[Credibility] issues are skillfully dealt with in Westlake's super-clean, unfussy narration....In the end, though, he cannot quite bring his story to an unexpected conclusion, and his last scene, though effective enough, seems to have strayed in from a much less subtly told story." Publishers Weekly
"Westlake once again proves himself a master storytelling craftsman....Instead of romanticizing or sensationalizing the murder itself, Westlake brilliantly examines the psychological toll that takes on every aspect of both men's lives. This is not a comfortable read there are no heroes to cheer for, and the characters evoke little sympathy. It's a testament to Westlake's ability that, despite this, this reader was unable to put the book down." Library Journal
Critically acclaimed for his recent bestseller, "The Ax, " Westlake returns with a tale of twisted psychological suspense involving two cunning authors--and one deadly proposition.