Bank Shot (The Dortmunder Novels Book 2) by Donald Westlake


Reviewed by Allen Hott

This is a book from the 70s but is well worth reading because it is one of the funniest books that you will read. And it is all clean fun without sex or cussing. Just a great storyline that will keep your interest.

It all begins with Dortmunder (one of Westlake’s best characters) selling encyclopedias door to door. In fact he is just taking deposits and the books will never be delivered). However on this current attempt he manages to discover that the woman he is trying to “bamboozle” has called the cops on him. Out he goes as fast as he can and meets up with Kelp, one of his associates. They get away from the scene quickly and have no problems.

Little does he know that meeting Kelp is about to begin one of the biggest happenings of his life. Kelp introduced Dortmunder to his nephew, Victor, who was a former FBI agent. The two of them take Dortmunder to see a nearby bank that appears to be being torn down. Next to it sat a huge mobile home mounted on some type of foundation.

While they looked around Victor explained how the bank was using the trailer on Thursday nights to hold the money that was taken in from stores that were open after the regular bank closed its doors for the night. Victor and Kelp have come up with the idea of devising a plan to “steal” the bank/trailer with a truck and take it off someplace where they would then break in and rob it. At first Dortmunder is highly doubtful of the plan but then he begins to see the possibility and decides that he will get more people involved and work out the whole concept.

He gets a driver, Murch, and a safecracker, Herman, and they all work out the details to do this job. Little do they realize what all will be involved once they do begin their work. They have to figure out how to get the bank from its foundation and put it on wheels that can be used to pull it across town with a truck which Kelp can easily steal.

Actually they do pretty well manage to do what they plan but there are many other happenings when they begin moving the bank. They have all sorts of problems trying to keep control of the bank/mobile home and also to continue evading some cops who get involved in the entire event.

They probably never anticipated the possibility of having to swim as the bank does make it way to water as it travels. But the end result is a decent, though miniscule repayment for their work. The story however is a magnificent reward to the reader! One of Westlake’s best!