Robert Redford, George C. Scott, Teo Teocoli, Paul Le Mat, Christopher Lambert, Herbert Knaup et Martin Lawrence all played Dortmunder…
What is the Dortmunder series about?
Written by American writer Donald E. Westlake also known as Richard Stark, this series is about John Dortmunder, a master criminal in New York City.
He is a career criminal and a “planner.” In fact, no one plans a caper better than Dortmunder. He is the best at creating schemes for burglaries and each of his plans calls for a team that often include his “best friend” Andy Kelp and the driver Stan Murch.
Dortmunder Books in Order:
- The Hot Rock – John Dortmunder leaves jail with ten dollars, a train ticket, and nothing to make money on but his good name. Thankfully, his reputation goes far. No one plans a caper better than Dortmunder. His friend Kelp picks him up in a stolen Cadillac and drives him away from Sing-Sing, telling a story of a $500,000 emerald that they just have to steal. Dortmunder doesn’t hesitate to agree.
- Bank Shot – John Dortmunder has been working an encyclopedia-selling scam while waiting for his next big heist. Unfortunately, his latest mark seems to be wise to the con. But opportunity awaits: Main Street bank has temporarily relocated to a mobile home. All Dortmunder has to do is get past seven security guards, put the bank-on-wheels in gear, and drive away. It’s a simple plan, until it all goes wrong…
- Jimmy The Kid – When his “friend” Andy Kelp has a plan, John Dortmunder knows that means trouble. Kelp’s schemes, no matter how well intentioned, tend to spiral quickly out of control. But this one, Kelp swears, is airtight. He read it in a book! The novel featured a kidnapping so brilliant there’s no way it wouldn’t work in real life. Though offended that his usual role as heist planner has been usurped, Dortmunder reluctantly agrees to the scheme.
- Nobody’s Perfect – It would take a miracle to keep Dortmunder out of jail. The cops surprised him, turning up in the alley just as he was walking out the back door, a television in each hand. Then God sends J. Radcliffe Stonewiler, a celebrity lawyer who gets Dortmunder off with hardly any effort at all. Stonewiler was sent by Arnold Chauncey, an art lover with a cash flow problem. He asks the thief to break into his house and make off with a valuable painting in exchange for a quarter of the insurance money.
- Why Me? – The Byzantine Fire is much more than a ninety-carat ruby. The US has agreed to return it to Turkey, but it’s about to be stolen twice more. A gang of Greeks armed with Sten guns burst into the security room at JFK Airport and escape with the priceless stone, which they deposit in the safe at a small jeweler’s shop in Queens. A few hours later, unlucky thief John Dortmunder, expecting a routine robbery, steals it again…
- Good Behavior – It was supposed to be a simple caviar heist. Dortmunder is almost in the building when the alarm sounds, forcing him up the fire escape and onto the roof. He leaps onto the next building, smashing his ankle and landing in the den of nuns. They bandage his wound, let him rest, and don’t call the cops—for a price. The father of the youngest member of their order has kidnapped his daughter. The nuns ask Dortmunder to rescue the girl.
- Drowned Hopes – In his day, Tom was a hard man. He came up with Dillinger in the 1930s, and pulled a lot of high-profile jobs before the state put him away. They meant it to be for good, but after twenty-three years the prisons are too crowded for seventy-year-old bank robbers, and so they let the old man go. Finally free, he heads straight for John Dortmunder’s house. Long ago, Tom buried $700,000, and now he needs help digging it up.
- Don’t Ask – Dortmunder has a job offer. It is the 800 year old femur of a 16-year-old girl who, having been killed and eaten by her own family, was made a saint by the Church. Now two European countries and the Catholic church are fighting like dogs over it. This bone, the femur of St Ferghana, is a holy relic claimed by two newly-created European nations, Tsergovia and Votskojek. The relic will be awarded to one of the two countries, which will then be admitted to the United Nations. Dortmunder and his gang are working for the Tersgovians.
- What’s The Worst That Could Happen? – It started with a ring. A cheap ring. But the ring belonged to May’s horseplaying uncle, who swore it brought good luck. Dortmunder puts it to the test when he goes to burglarize Long Island billionaire Max Fairbanks. As luck would have it, Dortmunder is greeted by Fairbanks himself – and a loaded gun – as soon as he strolls through the door. When the cops arrive, the mogul adds insult to injury by claiming that Dortmunder’s lucky ring is actually his. Big mistake, big guy.
- Bad News – John Dortmunder doesn’t like manual labor. So when he gets the offer of money to dig up a grave, he balks . . . then he wonders why Fitzroy Guilderpost, criminal mastermind, wants to pull a switcheroo of two 70-years-dead Indians.
- The Road To Ruin – The con is on. the mark is Monroe Hall, a corrupt CEO. The loot? A fleet of vintage automobiles. The catch? Trying to outsmart a collection of angry union men who’ve been taken for a ride and blue-blooded suckers who’ve been taken for their family fortunes. But if Dortmunder and his merry band of crooks are to drive off with the loot, they’ll have to act fast.
- Thieves’ Dozen – A collection of ten Dortmunder short stories and one related story that ties in “The Road to Ruin.”
- Watch Your Back! – New York fence Arnie Albright comes home to New York with a whole new attitude and a proposition for his associate John Dortmunder: a can’t miss, million-dollar robbery-of Preston Fareweather’s nearly unguarded, art-filled Fifth Avenue penthouse. But when Dortmunder and his clean-up crew get together to plan the heist, they quickly get distracted and suddenly a billionaire from Fifth Avenue and a would-be Tony Soprano from New Jersey have one thing in common: John Dortmunder is after them both at the same time…
- What’s So Funny? – John Dortmunder, finds himself involved an impossible crime…but a little blackmail goes a long way. All it takes is a few underhanded moves by a tough ex-cop named Eppick to pull Dortmunder into a game he never wanted to play. With no choice, he musters his always-game gang and they set out on a perilous treasure hunt for a long-lost gold and jewel-studded chess set once intended as a birthday gift for the last Romanov czar.
- Get Real – When a TV producer convinces our roguish crook Dortmunder and his gang to star in a reality TV show that captures their next heist, being caught red-handed seems inevitable. It will take an ingenious plan to outwit viewers glued to their TV sets, but Dortmunder rises to the challenge.