Donald Westlake’s 11th John Dortmunder mystery The Road to Ruin should have been titled The Road to Nowhere. This is where this particular effort goes and it does so in a car with no spark plugs and that almost immediately runs out of gas. You really, really have to be a Donald E. Westlake and John Dortmunder fan to enjoy The Road to Ruin.
Here, Dortmunder and his pals scheme to get hired by Monroe Hall, a Bernie Madoff type millionaire, so they can steal his car collection and a few other things. Other people are scheming to get Hall’s hidden money. These include two businessmen who are a bit shady and four regular working Joes who want Hall’s money to make up for their lost benefits and that of their union brothers.
All of these people scheme to figure out a way to get on Hall’s vast estate, past his security guards and devices, to kidnap him or whatever. Two thirds of this Westlake John Dortmunder novel is about the various groups following each other or trying to think of a way to get to Hall. A lot of this is extraordinarily boring, repetitive, and a waste of time.
If you are a Westlake fan, read the first two chapters and skip to page 227 where Dortmunder and his pals are in Hall’s home. It will be easy after that to figure out the other two groups of conspirators.
To say the plot development and ending to The Road to Ruin is a disappointment is akin to noticing people drive on the right side of the road in America.
Even if you were stranded for days on end in an airport with nothing to do, you will want to put down this Westlake novel even before you start reading it.
Other Donald E. Westlake Reviews
Somebody Owes Me Money: Everybody thinks the cabbie did it in this comic Westlake mystery novel.