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Donald E. Westlake, justly named a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America, has written everything from comic capers (the Dortmunder series) to the darker adventures of ace criminal Parker during his long career. But he's never come up with anything scarier or more timely than this story about a downsized executive who decides to kill off the competition. Burke Devore could be your neighbor: a laid-off paper company manager watching his life and family fall apart as he tries desperately to get a job. The plan he finally comes up with involves murdering seven men very much like himself, and Westlake's most impressive achievement is to make the serial killings understandable if in no way justified. Selected titles from Westlake's vast list of books available in paperback include: Baby, Would I Lie?, The Fugitive Pigeon, Pity Him Afterwards, and Trust Me on This. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Burke Devore, 52, laid off from his middle-management position at a paper mill two years before, decides to eliminate competitors for a dream job at a mill in New York. He places dummy ads in trade journals to attract them, then stalks and kills them (at first with a pistol, later in a variety of disgusting ways?most in broad daylight, with no witnesses). That's about all there is to this strange novel from the author of the John Dortmunder mystery series, e.g., What's the Worst That Could Happen? (LJ 9/15/96). 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. Devore's wife and children are sketchy, and humorous situations are underdeveloped. The point of all this is buried deep. Not recommended.?Laurel A. Wilson, Alexandrian P.L., Mount Vernon, Ind.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Westlake creates great suspense through one of the creepiest narratives ever written. Great structure and a justfied ending give this book some real punch. Read morePublished on May 16 2004 by Maxwell Mattord
I really enjoyed this book! It's unlike anything I've ever read before. I found it intruiging to hear the story as though I was in the mind of this killer. Read morePublished on May 12 2004
Burke Devore was a paper company manager for twenty-five years until the day he loses his job through corporate downsizing. Read morePublished on Oct. 10 2003 by Mr James N Simpson
The Ax is the kind of book that you could read in a single setting. It is not especially long(at just under 300 pages) and is written in an engaging first-person narrative. Read morePublished on May 23 2003 by Matthew King
I actually read this book. Now that I'm done, I really don't want to admit that, but the writing was too good to put it down, even though I grew to thoroughly hate the lead... Read morePublished on Jan. 8 2003 by Anna Klein
Having read hundreds of crime novels and thrillers over the years, I've become pretty jaded, yet this book blew me away. Read morePublished on Dec 6 2002 by David Group
The premise of this books seems so bizzare that one could never find it plausible. However placed in the context of the reality of life we see played out each day (flying planes... Read morePublished on Nov. 26 2002 by D. C Washington
The Ax is the story of Burke Devore, a middle manager, recently laid off from his job where he worked for over 20 years. Read morePublished on Sept. 3 2002 by Elizabeth Hendry
It's a lot easier to empathize with the protagonist of this story if you've had trouble finding work. Read morePublished on May 19 2002 by LanPB01