Download The Comedy is Finished Audiobook

The Comedy is Finished Audiobook, by Donald E. Westlake Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Donald E. Westlake Narrator: Peter Berkrot Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2012 ISBN: 9781609987671
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (136 ratings) (rate this audio book)
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The year is 1977, and America is finally getting over the nightmares of Watergate and Vietnam and the national hangover that was the 1960s. But not everyone is ready to let it go. Not aging comedian Koo Davis, friend to generals and presidents and veteran of countless USO tours to buck up American troops in the field. And not the five remaining members of the self-proclaimed People’s Revolutionary Army, who’ve decided that kidnapping Koo Davis would be the perfect way to bring their cause back to life.

This is the final, previously unpublished novel from the legendary author Donald Westlake.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “One of the best Westlake novels I’ve read.”

    Washington Post

  • “A terrifying sprint for redemption and rescue with the reader kept in agonizing suspense until the literal last page. Not to be missed.”

    Mystery Scene

  • “We’re all in the presence of the master one last time.”

    Open Letters Review

  • “Halfway into January and we already have the first great book of 2012…some of the finest work of the author’s career. And that is truly saying something.”

    Vince Keenan, author and critic 

  • “MWA Grand Master Westlake shows his skill and versatility as an author in this posthumous crime novel…Sharply written and insightful, this ‘lost’ novel is a worthy addition to Westlake’s lengthy catalogue.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “The characters are well drawn, the dialog flows, and the chapters speed by, making for a breezy, solid read. This late discovery is a welcomed treat for Westlake’s many fans. A natural for all mystery collections.”

    Library Journal

  • The Comedy Is Finished is a tense, compelling story of captive, captors, and an FBI agent, but it’s also a painfully insightful portrait of a very dark period in US history. All the main characters’ lives have been affected by the war or Watergate, and Westlake, who wrote the novel in the late 1970s, gives each plenty of opportunity to lament what happened to them and relive some of this country’s darkest years. It’s very different from Westlake’s beloved comic crime capers, and although readers old enough to remember those years may find the memories dredged up to be unpleasant, they will probably be hard-pressed to put the book down.”


  • “The story is fascinating and compelling as can certainly be expected from Westlake. Narrator Peter Berkrot’s flat California accent is well suited to the action. His pacing moves the story along, and his characterizations are terrific—especially his voice for the kidnapped comic. Verdict: Although the 1970s setting seems dated, the writing is crisp and the story moves quickly. Westlake’s numerous fans will be thrilled to have this final novel. A fine addition to twenieth-century mystery collections.”

    Library Journal (audio review)

  • “Peter Berkrot’s narration is compelling, and he doesn’t let the story lag…His voices are suited to the well-drawn characters…An absorbing narration.”


Listener Reviews

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  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rupert | 1/27/2014

    " Truly an odd gem. It was finished in 1979, but then not published because Westlake or his publishers thought its plot coincidentally was too close to Scorsese's "The King of Comedy" that came out around then. Once again, there is a kidnapped shmaltzy comedian, this one obviously based on Jerry Lewis and perhaps a few of his cohorts, but in this book he is kidnapped by a fragmented washed up far left extremist group who are losing focus with the end of the '70s. Westlake deals with the politics intelligently and the shmaltzy comedian is fully realized, not one dimensional. It's also a heck of a suspense thriller while giving you some of those nice dark acid vibes of a 2:00 am movie on tv in the '70s. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Christopher | 1/9/2014

    " Posthumous books have no chance for rewrites and as such can only be reflections of what could have been. Hints, with little editing. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Steve | 1/9/2014

    " Written and set in the mid 70s, this is the story of an SLA-type group who kidnaps Koo Davis, a well-known comedian based loosely on Bob Hope. The manuscript was found & published after Westlake's death. It has lots of his touches -- good characterization, good plot. It was enjoyable to read, but nothing really special; I like funny Westlake much better. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Alex | 1/3/2014

    " Good fun, fine kidnapping caper, some laughs, some brutality, good solid Westlake. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lynn | 12/22/2013

    " This is an early Donald Westlake and I don't think it's very good, at least compared to his wonderful later efforts. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Melissa | 12/12/2013

    " My first Westlake! And also his last. This is an absorbing read with an okay ending. I read this yesterday & had a funny feeling in my stomach today; upon examining this feeling, it turns out I am still creeped out by Liz & the guy who chews the inside of his face. So that's got to be a good thing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joel | 12/7/2013

    " Excellent, if lengthy, crime story that gives equal weight to protagonists and antagonists alike. Suspenseful and griping action; minimal sex, but lots of explicit violence. Sensitive readers should be cautious with this one. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Glennie | 11/17/2013

    " A bit grittier than the Dortmunder series and more sex, but a great read, full of Westlake humor. Glad that this "lost" novel was found. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 John | 11/14/2013

    " A real flashback to the radical politics of the '70s. An interesting read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kevin | 11/3/2013

    " An early Westlake, but by no means an unpolished one. Much darker than his romps, though. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Terry | 8/3/2013

    " This was found after Westlake's death -- which meant it didn't have the final rewrite. Even so, mid-level Westlake is so much better than most other's best. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Elliot | 7/26/2013

    " The first 20 pages were excruciating. That's about as far as I got. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kris | 3/30/2013

    " A small group of revolutionists kidnap a famous American comedian and hold him for ransom. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Richard | 1/9/2013

    " Just getting into the Hard case crime series just like Fifty to One this one I just couldn't put down. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Anita | 11/9/2012

    " Poor Koo, life has come back to bite him--big time. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Squeaky | 5/12/2012

    " Radicals kidnap a popular comedian so as to get prisoners released from, uh, prison. Things go wrong. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Scottlmoritz | 3/31/2012

    " OK but not as good as many of his other books. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tom | 3/3/2012

    " Very good thriller. I can see why Westlake shelved it indefinitely (besides the superficial similarity with The King of Comedy it was finished after it was topical and before it could've been retrospective). This is about what happens when Bob Hope gets into a Dan Mitrione situation, ostensibly. "

About the Author

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

Peter Berkrot, winner of Audie and Earphones Awards for narration, is a stage, screen, and television actor and acting coach. He has narrated over three hundred works that span a range of genres, including fiction, nonfiction, thriller, and children’s titles. His audiobook credits include works of Alan Glynn, Eric Van Lustbader, Nora Roberts and Dean Koontz. In film and television, he appeared in Caddyshack, America’s Most Wanted, and Unsolved Mysteries. He performs in regional and New York theaters and directs the New Voices acting school.