The Ax

The Ax

Donald E. Westlake / Jan 25, 2020
The Ax For 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 beha
  • Title: The Ax
  • Author: Donald E. Westlake
  • ISBN: 9780446606080
  • Page: 411
  • Format: Paperback
  • For 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 outFor 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.
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      Published :2019-04-07T09:42:18+00:00

    About "Donald E. Westlake"

      • Donald E. Westlake

        Donald E Westlake 1933 2008 was one of the most prolific and talented authors of American crime fiction He began his career in the late 1950 s, churning out novels for pulp houses often writing as many as four novels a year under various pseudonyms such as Richard Stark but soon began publishing under his own name His most well known characters were John Dortmunder, an unlucky thief, and a ruthless criminal named Parker His writing earned him three Edgar Awards the 1968 Best Novel award for God Save the Mark the 1990 Best Short Story award for Too Many Crooks and the 1991 Best Motion Picture Screenplay award for The Grifters In addition, Westlake also earned a Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America in 1993 Westlake s cinematic prose and brisk dialogue made his novels attractive to Hollywood, and several motion pictures were made from his books, with stars such as Lee Marvin and Mel Gibson Westlake wrote several screenplays himself, receiving an Academy Award nomination for his adaptation of The Grifters, Jim Thompson s noir classic.


    348 Comments

    1. When asked by a student what it takes to be enlightened, a great spiritual teacher replied You must want God as much as a drowning man wants air Once, as a teenager, swimming in the rough waves of the ocean, a panic stricken white haired geezer grabbed my arm and cried out for help In that instant I knew what it meant for someone to want air so badly he would have pulled me under so he could continue breathing.The narrator of Westlake s tale, Burke Devore, is one such drowning man gasping for ai [...]


    2. Burke Devore, line manager at a paper mill, gets laid off and is unemployed for two years Then one day he gets the idea of a lifetime start killing the people he s competing for job withWow This thing is a damn masterpiece Westlake takes an ordinary Joe in a situation we can all relate to in these uncertain economic times, and sends him on a killing spree What separates Burke Devore from other killers on the paperback racks is that he s almost just like us The way Westlake tells the story of Bur [...]


    3. The Ax starts strong with a great plot that is irresistible and tailor made for a modern noir tale Burke Devore has been laid off from his job as a manager at a paper manufacturer and has been jobless for two years In a desperate attempt to land a job, he gathers together resumes of men that could be seen as his competition, and proceeds to take the steps that would guarantee his resume would be at the top of the pile killing his competition one by one What it comes down to is, the CEOs, and the [...]


    4. Wanted Middle management for the oversight of an assembly line in an industrial paper factory College degree and experience a must Homicidal maniacs welcome to apply.Burke Devore was a typical middle aged guy with a steady job, a wife and two college aged kids However, when he gets laid off, he spends two years looking for new employment and realizes that there are far too many people with education and experience looking for similar work After Burke reads an article in a trade journal about a [...]


    5. 1.My dad told me a story about something he used to do Back in the dark ages, when people didn t use the internet they relied on other means for doing things that we now do with just a few keystrokes.For example, if you re in the construction industry today, and you are a salesman you can log on to a website and see all the projects that are being worked on, being bid on and use that website to place your own bid to do work.Back then they had clunky big blue books that served this purpose.I m no [...]


    6. This is a really good story revolving a downsized middle manager in corporate America faced with the possibility of losing everything What s to do Keep sending our resumes month after month Or, maybe he could take control of situation My first Donald E Westlake novel I have already checked out another title from this author.


    7. About 20% of the way through this one, I wasn t sure it was going to be so great It s written in the 1st person, and with a fun concept a 51 year old man who has been unemployed for 2 years decides to start killing off the competition for a job he wants.The reason I was losing my enthusiasm early on was that it seemed the novel was becoming redundant Well, that changed about a third of the way in I got hooked big time.Like the human train wrecks of A Simple Plan and The Big Picture, we ride alon [...]


    8. This book is about a dark time in American history A large financial bubble had burst, corporations were laying off people in droves in a valiant effort to protect the lavish lifestyles of corporate leaders, jobs were hard to come by for the recently displaced and, as unemployment benefits started to run out, these displaced workers felt increasing, massive pressure to find a new job soon, or risk losing everything they have worked for their whole lives So nothing like today cough.Anyway, it is [...]


    9. Bill MacDonald s review piqued my interest in this book I was not even aware of Donald E Westlake s works a few days back, so I thought this would be a good chance to change that.And tell you what, I am already a fan The plot of this book is simple enough A man in his early fifties gets laid off from his job and remains jobless for a couple of years due to severe competition What to do Remove the competition Permanently, of course There was not even a single dull moment in the entire book and to [...]


    10. Loved this book Now one of my all time favorites A brilliant noir that also includes in character commentary on the layoff economy, which gives it a scope beyond the usual crime novel Burke Devore has been out of work for two years after being laid off from his management job at a paper mill following a merger As the novel begins he has decided to start taking out the competition other men just like himself who are slightly qualified than him for the jobs he is seeking Seven men to kill and the [...]


    11. The Ax Well, forget about the one with the handle which you chop wood with Get this book Read it How, oh how, did Westlake come up with his idea for one of the best books I ve read in six months 0


    12. A very entertaining book To adequately describe it, I d have to put in some plot spoilers and I don t want to do that Suffice to say I found it a fascinating look at what downsizing might, under certain circumstances, do Perfect ending as well Gave me a big grin Highly recommended.


    13. The conceit a middle manager is laid off from his job, and is increasingly desperate to get another He hits upon the idea of simply murdering competition for one good position.On the one hand The Ax is a clever crime novel Westlake builds tension expertly, making each incident plausible yet filled with ways to go wrong which means he also leads you into cheering on our homicidal hero Burke is also plausible in his crime spree, an innocent man who turns to crime with a certain ironclad logic.On t [...]


    14. Donald E Westlake updates the Gold Medal Everyman formula for 1997 Not much has changed for honest, hardworking guys since the Frustrating Fifties They still chase the American Dream like dogs chasing cars, and, when they can t stand the frustration any longer, they cross over to the noir side Westlake s Everyman antihero is Burke Devore, a middle manger in the paper industry who has been downsized out of his birthright to the middle class Though Westlake s narrative is flabbier than your typica [...]


    15. Can there be any doubt that Donald Westlake was a genius The premise of this book which has nothing to do with an actual ax or an ax murder is so outrageous that only a master like Westlake could make it so real and compelling No spoilers here Just read it, and you will be hanging on to every word until the incredible and unexpected ending What an amazing legacy Westlake left us Over 100 books He s best known for his comic caper novels, but I think his serious stuff is his best work After readin [...]


    16. Ha ha ha.is book was hilarious, not in the roll on the floor laughing way but kept a sly smile on my face by the sheer absurdity of the whole bookThis book made me actually cheer and root for a serial killer, a crazy man who kills people and then goes home for dinner like nothingThis book is deranged and psychotic but oh so enjoyable I think there may be something wrong with me for liking it so much, this author is absolutely brillant and the only reason I didnt give it five stars is because its [...]


    17. To quote Louise Penny There is a killer in every village In every home In every heart All anyone needs is the right reason Burke Devore has reason he has been down sized from the paper company where he worked as a line manager That was two years ago Now he has his heart set on eliminating the competition He puts a fake ad in the papers, receives lots of cv s, sorts them according to how dangerous they are and begins to cross them off He wasn t a cold blooded killer to start with, so he has some [...]


    18. Westlake just kills me I started reading this and was a little disappointed that it wasn t as fast paced as other novels I ve read by Donald E Westlake.Then around about page 27 it becomes a pretty gripping tale of a guy who is laid off from a nice, comfortable job he s had in management at a paper company for 25 years.What would you do if you were fired from a position you d held for 25 years Why you d become a maniac Or at least that s exactly what Westlake s protagonist, Burke Devore, does.An [...]


    19. First line fever I ve never actually killed anybody before, murdered another person, snuffed out another human being.


    20. Westlake is one of my favorite crime novelists He was a prolific author writing over 100 novels dating from the 1950s up to his death in 2008 and beyond several of his works have been published posthumously He wrote novels under his own name and under several pseudonyms including Richard Stark that he used for the gritty Parker novels He also wrote the humorous Dortmunder series which I really enjoy.The Ax is a stand alone novel about a man, Burke Devore, who was laid off from his middle managem [...]


    21. Lately I ve read a lot of think pieces about the decline of the working class, the quality of life diminishment in small town America, and the damage that decades of downsizing and outsourcing have done to the collective psyche of the American worker That is, explanations of how Trump happened None of them have been as sharp or as astute as this pulpy crime novel, which tells the story of a paper company manager who loses his job, suffers an irrecoverable blow to his masculinity, and sees violen [...]


    22. I think Donald E Westlake is rather like Lawrence Block, whose novel Grifter s Game I read recently Until his death in 2008, Westlake, an American, was a consummate and prolific writer of crime novels and short stories Yet I suspect his work is not as well known as it deserves to be That is such a shame He is a writer of great variety and ingenuity His novels about Parker, a ruthless hitman written under the pseudonym Richard Stark , are very good So, too, is his Burglar series of novels Those s [...]


    23. Having recently seen the film and having read several Donald E Westlake books, I became interested I actually bought it a year ago so I finally got around to it.Westlake is a prolific writer, having written at least fifty books under his own name and the same again under pseudonyms Some of his characters are cold blooded killer types some are ridiculous inefficient criminals, really funny.Maybe I haven t read enough of his, but this book seems unusual, almost a comment on the nineties as much as [...]


    24. When are downsizing and unemployment funny Well, they are in the hands of Donald Westlake, whose protagonist Burke Devore loses his job in the paper industry and loses the affections of his wife at least temporarily to another man Burke would kill for a job literally He sets out to eliminate his biggest employment rivals and regain the affections of his wife Along the way, he skewers the parasites who feed on folks who ve gotten the ax employment counselors, feel good retraining experts, downsiz [...]


    25. A man makes a good living working in a specialized part of a small industry After he s let off, he finds there aren t many opportunities for that sort of work and the opportunities that are available are quickly taken by the other people with his skill set, that are a little experienced, educated, and better suited for the jobs What does he do Why, start to kill them off, of course.This is a pretty short novel that I read in a few days It tells the story well I only wish it was longer during a [...]


    26. I picked up this book because a friend told me it is the subject for Park Chan Wook next film It was fun reading it, while sort of imagining what he might do to it in a film Regardless of this tidbit, this is a well written thriller, that had me sort of guessing to the end It sort of reminded me of the Dutch film Vanishing in that it is a study of a psychopath killer who leads what seems like a perfectly normal life It was interesting to see the world from the protagonist point of view, and I co [...]


    27. This book is a mystery, a satire, a documentary of what it s like to be downsized, a documentary about survival in America Not since I read Lolita have I read a novel like this It s told from the murderer s perspective and, also like Lolita and Bellow s Seize the Day , Westlake s book details a love affair with America grown cold The Ax is superb Even if you don t like mysteries, give Westlake a shot.


    28. Very well done, with one glaring error in the mpb mass market paperback edition, pg 243, an interview states 1970 1973 U.S Marine Corps, instructor, Fort Bragg which is wrong Fort Bragg North Caroline is totally U.S Army The closest Marine training site would be Paris Island, SC.Other than that, a well done book.


    29. Loved this book Westlake s skill as a writer turns a character that is murdering the competition into a sympathetic person that one, against all odds, roots for to pull off his audacious scheme I shook my head when I realized I was pulling for a serial killer.Magnificent



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