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  • Mystic River

    Three friends who grew up in working-class Boston drift apart after a terrible tragedy. Years later, brutal events reconnect them.

  • The Bone Collector

    He takes his victims' lives and leaves behind mysterious pieces of a bizarre puzzle. And the only person who may be able to make s

  • Basic

    Academy Award(r) nominees John Travolta (Best Actor in a Leading Role, Pulp Fiction, 1994) and SamuelL. Jackson (Best Actor in a S

  • The Butterfly Effect (Infinifilm Edition)

    Butterfly Effect, The (DVD)Ashton Kutcher stars as a man who has lost track of time. From an early age, crucial

  • Shutter Island

    Academy Award® winning director Martin Scorses once again teams up with Leonardo DiCaprio in this spine-chilling thriller that cr

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Mystery Authors

Book reviews - God Save The Mark

God Save The Mark


Author: Donald Westlake

* mark n. An easy victim; a ready subject for the practices of a confidence man, thief, beggar, etc.; a sucker.-Dictionary of American Slang, Thomas Y. Crowell Co., 1960

That's the long definition of a mark. But there's a shorter one. It goes:

* mark n. Fred Fitch

What, you ask, is a Fred Fitch? Well, for one thing, Fred Fitch is the man with the most extensive collection of fake receipts, phony bills of sale, and counterfeit sweepstakes tickets in the Western Hemisphere, and possibly in the entire world. For another thing, Fred Fitch may be the only New York City resident in the twentieth century to buy a money machine. When Barnum said, "There's one born every minute, and two to take him," he didn't know about Fred Fitch; when Fred Fitch was born, there were two million to take him.
Every itinerant grifter, hypester, bunk artist, short-conner, amuser, shearer, short-changer, green-goods worker, pennyweighter, ring dropper, and yentzer to hit New York City considers his trip incomplete until he's also hit Fred Fitch. He's sort of the con-man's version of Go: Pass Fred Fitch, collect two hundred dollars, and move on.
What happens to Fred Fitch when his long-lost Uncle Matt dies and leaves Fred three hundred thousand dollars shouldn't happen to the ball in a pinball machine. Fred Fitch with three hundred thousand dollars is like a mouse with a sack of catnip: He's likely to attract the wrong kind of attention.
Add to this the fact that Uncle Matt was murdered, by person or persons unknown, and that someone now seems determined to murder Fred as well, mix in two daffily charming beauties of totally different types, and you have a perfect setup for the busiest fictional hero since the well-known one-armed paperhanger. As Fred Fitch careers across the New York City landscape-and sometimes skyline-in his meetings with cops, con men, beautiful girls, and (maybe) murderers, he takes on some of the loonier aspects of a Dante without a Virgil. Take one part comedy and one part suspense and shake well-mostly with laughter.



US publication: 1968
Detective: n/a
Genre: n/a