The Hot Rock by Donald E. Westlake


I think I saw this movie about a million years ago. I liked it then. The book? Quite frankly, even better!! This was unexpected. The book, in the Nook edition anyway, only runs 154 pages. But the writing is absolutely superb. It’s taut, it has a ton of great detail, it’s funny and it’s a damn good heist story.

A group of professional criminals is hired by an African Major in a nation torn apart by civil war, to steal an emerald which is spiritually and religiously important to both sides. The group assembles and creates a plan to get the rock. Think Ocean’s Eleven type of thing here.

What follows is a series of problems. One caper, turns into six capers because each time they get that hot rock, something happens in which the success of the heist is foiled. Each time, they have to go back to the Major to secure more funding and more resources in order to pull off the job.

Twists and turns right to the last page and not one minute of dull reading. It is really difficult to write like this. It’s a real art form to cram so much into a relatively short story. There is not a wasted word in this little gem of a book. And, as an added bonus, it’s pretty inexpensive as an ebook. It was a great read. Loved it!


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