Donald Westlake is an amazing writer. In this book, a middle manager in a factory loses his job and can't seem to find another one. In total desperation, he hits upon an idea that will result in murder most foul. This is a clever, frightening, believable story.
Story of a good man with twenty-five loyal service to a local paper mill who suddenly finds himself unemployed, and slips over a bad edge...
In The Ax, Donald Westlake's protagonist Burke Devore philosophizes thusly: Every era and every nation has its own characteristic morality. There was the Age of Reason, the Work Ethic, and so on. Honor and even Grace have taken the forefront in society's moral code in their time. Currently government leaders and corporate CEOs, he points out, have invoked the principle of the end justifying the means, and so Devore takes this ethic to heart. He calmly, deliberately, and quite rationally details for us the means he feels he must employ to take care of his family, be a productive part of society, put his skills to use without being a burden to the taxpayers. Westlake's genius is that the reader will have a very difficult time, in spite of the means he employs, disagreeing with Devore. The NYT book review nailed it when they dubbed this tale "engrossing and relentless and all too plausible".
Wonderfull black humor on the curren job market
Donald Westlake is one of the all-time best, hands down!
It got may attention. The casualness of how he carries out his plans.His desparateness.
Kind of a different story ... man laid off from work ... and how he takes care of his competition gives new meaning to 'going postal'.
I've read several of the author's books over the years, and enjoyed them all, but none as much as this one. Very original plot-line, and plenty of suspense.
Westlake is one of my favorite crime novelists. He was a prolific author writing over 100 novels dating from the 1950s up to his death in 2008 and beyond (several of his works have been published posthumously). He wrote novels under his own name and under several pseudonyms including Richard Stark that he used for the gritty Parker novels. He also wrote the humorous Dortmunder series which I really enjoy.
The Ax is a stand-alone novel about a man, Burke Devore, who was laid off from his middle management job at a paper company. He has been out of work for two years and finds that there is always someone with a little better experience or a better resume that gets the jobs ahead of him. So what does he do? He comes up with an idea to eliminate the competition by systematically killing better qualified candidates! But can he do this? He is just an ordinary man who had never killed anyone before but he decides that this is his only recourse to get his life and marriage back on track.
This is a very well written noir novel that makes you wonder how far someone can go to achieve his goals. Does the end justify the means? Overall a high recommendation for this one and I would also recommend most anything else written by Westlake if you are into crime fiction.