361 by Donald E. Westlake (Random House, 1962)

Westlake published this hardboiled crime noir when he was still doing Alan Marshall duty at Nightstand and Midwood.

A simple set-up: guy gets out of Navy, goes to see his dad, someone takes out a hit on his dad, plus his brother’s wife, and leaves him in the hospital.

Getting out of the hospital, he sets out, with his brother, to find out who killed his dad and why.  Seems his dad had connections with the mob, when he was a lawyer many years back, and was told to stay out of New York or else.

This is not the “funny” Westlake many of his fans know and love.  This is ultra hardboiled, stuff, cold, stoic, noir…more Richard Stark territory.

An interesting read when compared to the stuff he was writing at the same time for the softcores…

Hard Case Crime has a recent mass market edition.

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