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Dancing Aztecs
Dancing Aztecs
Author: Donald E. Westlake, Richard Stark
Jerry Manelli is a hustler. A specialist in the scam, the con, and the rip-off. Right now Jerry Manelli is on the move around Greater New York City, hot on the trail of a priest. — A very special sort of priest. A thousand-year-old, two-foot-tall, ugly, misshapen, dancing Aztec priest. He's solid gold, his eyes are pure emeralds, and he's worth a...  more »
ISBN-13: 9780445407176
ISBN-10: 0445407174
Publication Date: 8/1/1989
Pages: 320
Rating:
  • Currently 4.8/5 Stars.
 4

4.8 stars, based on 4 ratings
Publisher: Mysterious Press
Book Type: Paperback
Members Wishing: 0
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reviewed Dancing Aztecs on + 70 more book reviews
Oh, my. It's Donald E Westlake. How much more do I need to add to describe the wonderful-ness of this book? The back-cover description is only a start.

Omniscient narrator describes action and also addresses the reader. Example: at the end of section 1: "In their homes, in their beds, Ben Cohen and Mrs. Dorothy Moorwood are peacefully asleep, neither of them guessing what's coming their way on the morrow. Everybody is settling down now. Everybody is going to sleep. You, too."

Westlake uses separate (mostly short) chapters, each describing the activities of one set of characters at the moment. Can be a little hard to follow sometimes -- as is often the case with good farce. Consecutive chapter titles: In The Beginning; Prior To Which; That Night; Some Time Earlier; And Some Time Before That; The Next Morning; Later That Morning; But; Which Meant That; However; Unfortunately; Whereupon; ... you get the drift.

Great characters. Has some ethnic slurs that are as offensive as they were in 1976 (copyright date). Has some happy endings. Ultimate resolution was a surprise. Had to re-read some segments to see what I missed/mis-interpreted.

Best laugh-out-loud segment occurs on p.268 of 318:
"Where are you from, anyway?"
"Descalzo." [a small, poor, fictional country in South America]
"Never heard of it. That the way they dress down there?"
Pedro looked down at himself, slowly aware that his clothing consisted of faded dungarees raggedly cut off at the knee, and a kind of scoop-necked white peasant blouse with puffy long sleeves. The dungarees, which were too big in the torso, were cinched in around his waist with a white plastic belt, and on his feet were red four-inch wedges. "Oh," he said. "No, I got these on the plane."
"That must have been a hell of a flight," said the fellow.


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