Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Ax

by Donald E. Westlake

I've dissed "thrillers" before, and been chagrined after liking one, and I did read quite a bit of Stephen King in high school. This book was decently amusing, if predictable, and the reading was smooth and fast. Still, I'm not sure how much I'd've enjoyed it if I hadn't been sick on the couch and bored of watching TV. Does have some funny bits, maybe like a Carl Hiaasen book (though I've never read him).

Although the book was written a bit over a decade ago, during the workforce "downsizing" of the mid-to-late '90s, it's interesting to read now during our current economic "downturn." The story is about a guy, unemployed for nearly two years after being laid off from a job he had for 30 years. As an older dude with a rather specialized set of skills, his options are quite limited. In a trade journal he finds an article about some other guy who has exactly the job he wants and for which he is qualified, but he knows he's not the only unemployed polymerized paper production manager in the Northeast. So he hatches a plan: he places a fake help-wanted ad, receives a bunch of résumés, then sets out to kill the five guys who are as qualified or more qualified than he, before killing the guy who has the job he wants. But will everything go according to plan?

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