Donald E. Westlake

A one-man crime wave of some 48 years came to an end Dec. 31 with the passing of Donald E. Westlake, 75, who (under his own name and as Richard Stark) wrote some of the best-loved and most influential crime novels of the 20th century.

As Westlake, he chronicled the misadventures of hapless criminal John Dortmunder (played by Robert Redford in the film version of The Hot Rock); as Stark, he penned the Parker novels, about a ruthless professional thief, whose screen incarnations include Lee Marvin in Point Blank and Mel Gibson in Payback.

A screenwriter as well as a novelist,...

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