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Pity Him Afterwards [Paperback]

Carroll & Graf Publishers
2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Nov. 1 1996
Hiding in the darkness of the trees, he was waiting for the state police car to move on, but it would not. Red lights filled the road below, flashlights began to search the woods around him. But he would not go back to Doctor Chax. He could take no more shocks. No more dying, day after day, and coming to life in pain. Whatever it takes, he will be free.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Nimble Westlake Feb. 18 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Donald E. Westlake (aliases include: Tucker Coe, Richard Stark) is one of the most nimble, prolific, consistently enjoyable writers I've encountered. A quick tribute: I've knocked off an equal amount of Westlake and Wodehouse and, when reading the comic works of the former, consistently experience the same amused lightheadedness that comes over me when dipping into the latter. However, unlike P.G., Mr. Westlake regularly works out of the less sunny realms of his imagination, as this book demonstrates, and will, from time to time, forgo camouflaging the fact with a pseudonym (for instance, his brilliant "The Ax"). What I'm saying is: Donald E. Westlake is not simply a comic crime novelist, so if you're looking for a good laugh you may be disappointed (I was not) and end up writing a laughable online review (see below) of a very excellent entertainment, such as "Pity Him Afterwards".
Was this review helpful to you?
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
A story nobody needed. Mr. Westlake has a rare talent that he manages to hide completely in this production. Dull and dreary. I finished "Trust Me...", fun from c to c, picked up "Pity.." and decided to pity myself instead for being so desperate as to read it. Don't do this to us DW! Leave the psychos to Connelly. You don't need them. Be honest - was it just the money that made you do it? Or were you following the light of your muse? I certainly hope that it was the money. Really
Was this review helpful to you?
2.0 out of 5 stars Not Westlake's Best Oct. 3 1997
Format:Paperback
Donald Westlake is a wonderfully warm and funny author. His books Trust Me on This, Hot Rock, and Cops and Robbers are the epitome of his style and very much worth reading. This book isn't.
I hate to say that it wasn't only that this book wasn't what I expected, it just wasn't very good. If you're looking for a good starter Westlake, try just about any in the Dortmunder series, but don't try Pity.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Something Different from Donald...But still good April 13 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Westlake is a great comic dectective author. In Pity Him Afterward he takes a different turn and gives us a picture of a psychopathic maniac turned loose. The book was fast paced and interesting. The plot had some interesting twists and the ending was surprising.
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 2.8 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a Comic Caper but This 1965 Story Was Never Intended to Be Either July 23 2008
By James N Simpson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
There really isn't much information out there on some of Donald E Westlake's earlier novels so it is understandable that Pity Him Afterwards may have been bought by some with the misconception that it is another humorous comic caper. I guess the disappointment for those only after laughs and not understanding Westlake writes over a variety of genres (comedy crime, serious thriller crime, science fiction, he even wrote a Western) will be magnified by the fact that along with his comic capers and his other earlier work this novel is actually quite expensive.

Pity Him Afterwards was actually written before Westlake even published a comic caper, which incidentally was (Fugitive Pigeon published later in the same year (1965) this book was. Pity Him Afterwards (and I'm not claiming it's his best book by any means or even anywhere up there with his masterpieces) is a classic fugitive on the run, policeman determined to stop a killer adventure. Not working in this book's readability factor either, is the fact that Westlake has substantially long periods of text before he takes a break and gives the reader a break with a chapter.

Pity Him Afterwards follows brutal murderer Robert Ellington who has just escaped from a mental asylum that authorities previously believed to be inescapable. Robert or the madman as he is more often referred, has a gift for mimicry and can easily take on the persona of others around him, even believing for short periods of time that he is that person. He is also extremely paranoid and also determined to give those who wish to harm or mock him their comeuppance which unfortunately results in an ever increasing body count. The madman sees a solution to evading his pursuers in a small town theatre where even though he hadn't planned to, he unfortunately kills again. The madman however likes his temporary home and has no intention of moving on. Small town police officer Sondgrad has no idea the madman is in his district but is determined to solve the murder without bringing in the state police. Can the madman stay undetected? Can he stay without killing again? The reason for the title of this book, is that the doctor in the mental asylum as well as the police officers, and others, often tell those they are talking to that they feel pity for the madman.

Forensic tactics and the evidence collecting has changed a lot from 1965 so this story would not work today but it does work for a book set back then.

If you haven't already done so also check out Westlake's comic capers. The best three at an absolute masterpiece level are, Smoke, The Spy in the Ointment and a New York Dance (also published as Dancing Aztecs). Other comic capers also worth checking out are The Fugitive Pigeon, The Busy Body, God Save the Mark, Who Stole Sassi Manoon?, Help I am Being Held Prisoner, Castle in the Air, Enough, Up Your Banners and High Adventure.

Of course you've also got to read the Dortmunder series and the Parker series (written under the pen name Richard Stark) as well.

If you do nothing else thought, you've also got to read his greatest stand alone story novel of all time The Ax the ultimate solution to unemployment. Check out a Westlake novel today!
7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Another homicidal psychopath! Somebody tell Donald, puleeze Feb. 25 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
A story nobody needed. Mr. Westlake has a rare talent that he manages to hide completely in this production. Dull and dreary. I finished "Trust Me...", fun from c to c, picked up "Pity.." and decided to pity myself instead for being so desperate as to read it. Don't do this to us DW! Leave the psychos to Connelly. You don't need them. Be honest - was it just the money that made you do it? Or were you following the light of your muse? I certainly hope that it was the money. Really
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Something Different from Donald...But still good April 13 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Westlake is a great comic dectective author. In Pity Him Afterward he takes a different turn and gives us a picture of a psychopathic maniac turned loose. The book was fast paced and interesting. The plot had some interesting twists and the ending was surprising.
6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not Westlake's Best Oct. 3 1997
By megatech@ameritech.net - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Donald Westlake is a wonderfully warm and funny author. His books Trust Me on This, Hot Rock, and Cops and Robbers are the epitome of his style and very much worth reading. This book isn't.
I hate to say that it wasn't only that this book wasn't what I expected, it just wasn't very good. If you're looking for a good starter Westlake, try just about any in the Dortmunder series, but don't try Pity.
5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nimble Westlake Feb. 18 2004
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Donald E. Westlake (aliases include: Tucker Coe, Richard Stark) is one of the most nimble, prolific, consistently enjoyable writers I've encountered. A quick tribute: I've knocked off an equal amount of Westlake and Wodehouse and, when reading the comic works of the former, consistently experience the same amused lightheadedness that comes over me when dipping into the latter. However, unlike P.G., Mr. Westlake regularly works out of the less sunny realms of his imagination, as this book demonstrates, and will, from time to time, forgo camouflaging the fact with a pseudonym (for instance, his brilliant "The Ax"). What I'm saying is: Donald E. Westlake is not simply a comic crime novelist, so if you're looking for a good laugh you may be disappointed (I was not) and end up writing a laughable online review (see below) of a very excellent entertainment, such as "Pity Him Afterwards".
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