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Bad News Audiobook, by Donald E. Westlake Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Donald E. Westlake Narrator: Michael Kramer Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Series: The Dortmunder Series Release Date: April 2001 ISBN: 9781415911228
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (484 ratings) (rate this audio book)
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“I’m a robber,” John Dortmunder says, “not a grave robber.” Yet he soon finds himself in a Long Island cemetery with dirt up to his knees. His old friend Andy Kelp is to blame—Andy and the Internet. For it was while ambling on the Net that Kelp met up with master manipulator Fitzroy Guilderpost and his nefarious companions, the flunked teacher Irwin Gabel and the Las Vegas showgirl Little Feather Redcorn. What these three have in mind is the takeover of an upstate casino, and what they also envision is that Dortmunder and Kelp will not share in the ill-gotten gains. Shovel in hand, Dortmunder wonders whose grave this is. If he isn’t careful, it could be his.
“Westlake has a genius for comic strategy, and Bad News has a lunatic brilliance worthy of Abbott and Costello.”—New York Times Download and start listening now!


Quotes & Awards

  • “Westlake is a card with characters, and he flashes that talent to terrific effect here.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Very funny. Admirably plotted.”

    Philadelphia Inquirer

  • “Intricately plotted…Its crisp writing keeps you moving…A delightful addiction to the long-running Dortmunder saga.”

    USA Today

  • “Hilarious…When’s the last time you read a book that made you laugh on every page? If there’s a more wryly convoluted mind out there than Westlake’s, it has yet to show itself, and it does make the five-year wait between Dortmunder’s lunatic capers seem excruciatingly long…The best workout your sense of humor will get this millennium.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “Is any mystery writer more adept at turning murder into mirth or conjuring more hilarious hokum than Westlake in his Dortmunder series? I doubt it…[The narrative is] jumping and joyous.”

    Chicago Sunday Sun-Times

  • “For the whole package—laughs, imagination, weirdoes in comic action—Bad News is the unqualified champ!”

    Toronto Sunday Star

  • “Superior!…Dortmunder and friends are back in an exciting caper…The funniest mystery series on the market today. The story line is amusing and entertaining as John and his team engage in a battle of wits.”

    Midwest Book Review

  • Bad News is good news for Westlake’s devoted fans…Vintage Westlake and vintage Dortmunder—clever, whimsical, charming, and, above all, funny.”


  • “Very good…Westlake provides us with some hysterical justice system characters. Escapade follows escapade in rapid succession…This is just the sort of delightful book to take on a cross-country plane ride, as long as you don’t mind the occasional odd stare from fellow passengers who are wondering what could possibly be so funny.”

    Winston-Salem Journal

  • “Perhaps the best Dortmunder novel so far…This latest carries on the Dortmunder tradition and raises it to new standards.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Petty criminals have never been so engaging…The central caper is downright ingenious and the various subplots swirling around the scam showcase Westlake’s wonderful characters and outrageous sense of humor…Highly recommended.”

    Mystery News

  • “A timeless plot that combines the best elements of the Three Stooges and a Damon Runyon story. That should be good enough for anybody looking for a finely oiled…romp through the graveyards of upper New York State.”

    Library Journal

  • “I’m always glad to see John Dortmunder and his crew again…It’s a kinder, gentler underworld we visit when we ride with Donald Westlake.”

    Charlotte Observer

  • “Another welcome addition to Westlake’s collection of must-read and must-reread books.”

    Harrisburg Patriot-News

  • “[Dortmunder is] crime’s funniest reoffender…and this is his best adventure yet.”

    Globe and Mail (Toronto)

  • “A classic Dortmunder!…The latest and perhaps funniest comic novel featuring criminal John Dortmunder.”

    New York Post

  • “Plenty of hilarity…Donald Westlake digs up another comic caper.”


  • Finalist for the 2002 Barry Award for Best Novel

Listener Reviews

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  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chris | 1/16/2014

    " I just love the characters in the Dortmunder books. This was a really fun read! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kester | 1/2/2014

    " another fun dortmunder. good audiobook reading. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bill | 12/15/2013

    " This was my first Westlake and I rather enjoyed it. Never read anything quite like this before, a darkly comic crime novel. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 M | 12/11/2013

    " Classic Dortmunder, funny and clever. I enjoyed this book all the way through and found it a page turner. If you like capers, this is for you. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Michelle | 11/26/2013

    " This Dortmunder book wasn't as good as his others. In this one, they're hired to dig up a dead Indian from a cemetary, and switch it with another one. It's all part of a scam that involves a casino owned by an Indian tribe. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Loel | 11/15/2013

    " Just a fun read...the "hero" is a crook, something of a bumbler. It's all about a scam gone wrong, but some of the characters are delightful. This reminds me a bit of Carl Hiassin's books, though not nearly as complex, and missing the social commentary. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Isis | 11/8/2013

    " Oh, so much fun. The plot got a bit wacky (even considering, this is a Westlake!) and the very ending fell a little flat, but otherwise I really enjoyed this one. Ah, Dortmunder Gang, how I adore you. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jeanne | 8/19/2013

    " The writing is sharp and witty and really enjoyable. But the clever writing slows down the action. At 75 pages in the only thing that had happened was digging up a grave. I just can't get excited about the story, although the writing is great. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Steve | 8/7/2013

    " not a bad book but not great either. The characters in the Dortmunder books always seem a bit flat to me. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Corky | 8/6/2013

    " Dortmunder series is the best comic mystery out there. Great characters.Read them in order "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Matthew | 7/30/2013

    " Interesting read. I had to keep from laughing in order to finish the book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Stuart | 3/26/2013

    " Thanks for the recommendation, Dad! I enjoyed the wit and twists in the plot very much. I wish the characters were ones you could really root for. But it was a lot of fun. I look forward to reading others in the series. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Margaret | 2/1/2013

    " Does anyone else think it's a bit too much like "the hot rock"? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carolyn | 12/24/2012

    " One of Westlake's better Dortmunder books. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Derk | 9/26/2012

    " Another perfect gem by the master. It turned out that I had read this one before, but forgot most of the twists and turns so got to enjoy it all over again! Of all of the many authors and books I have read, I believe I have enjoyed the Dortmunder series the most. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Missmath144 | 9/3/2012

    " Welcome back, Dortmunder and crew! Fun as usual! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Karen | 6/10/2012

    " Little Feather, casino "

About the Author

Author Donald E. Westlake

Donald E. Westlake (1933–2008) wrote dozens of novels under his own name and numerous pseudonyms, including Richard Stark and Alan Marshall. Many of his books have been adapted for film, most notably The Hunter, which became the 1967 noir Point Blank and the 1999 smash hit Payback.

About the Narrator

Michael Kramer is an AudioFile Earphones Award winner, a finalist for the prestigious Audie Award for Best Narration, and recipient of a Publishers Weekly Listen-Up Award. He is also an actor and director in the Washington, DC, area, where he is active in the area’s theater scene and has appeared in productions at the Shakespeare Theatre, the Kennedy Center, and Theater J.