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Extended Audio Sample The Cutie Audiobook, by Donald E. Westlake Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (266 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Donald E. Westlake Narrator: Stephen R. Thorne Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2009 ISBN: 9781482978445
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Some people will do anything for money.

Mavis St. Paul had been a rich man’s mistress. Now she was a corpse. And every cop in New York City was hunting for the two-bit punk accused of putting a knife in her. 

But the punk was innocent. He’d been set up to take the fall by some cutie who was too clever by half. My job? Find that cutie—before the cutie found me.

Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “This dandy little thriller was first published in 1960 as The Mercenaries, and it’s Westlake at his best. Like the majority of his crime dramas, The Cutie takes place in New York City, a territory Westlake was highly familiar with and used to color his stories with deft, literary strokes…The plot is straightforward and moves at a good clip, allowing readers ample opportunity to collect the clues along with Clay and in the end come to the logical, well set up denouement. Westlake’s characters all come to life quickly in short, skillful paragraphs, and he cleverly layers their personalities with every-day moral issues. Clay is not a mindless thug. He’s an intelligent guy; yet he willfully chose a career of crime. Was it the right choice? By the last chapter of this book, his reassessment brings forth some startling revelations that end the book on the perfect pitch note.”

    PulpFictionReviews.com

  • “Narrator Thorne brings a youthful confidence to the part. But, it’s still strange how Clay is really a cold blooded and murderous thug – Westlake gives him an excellent backstory…The Cutie is fully utterly engaging…[with] Westlake’s masterful storytelling. The Cutie is a gritty, fast paced, and well plotted murder mystery with a highly unusual criminal/detective lead.”

    SFFaudio.com

  • “George ‘Clay’ Clayton is a self-described ‘nanny’ for a New York City crime syndicate. His duties involve ‘putting the kiddies in line’ and occasionally arranging an ‘accident.’ And when some smart aleck commits a murder, bringing the organization too much attention from the law, it’s Clay’s job to track down that ‘cutie.’ Stephen Thorne delivers the noir-style dialogue at a gutsy pace, though in his excitement he occasionally overdoes the tough-guy shtick. Thorne understands the topsy-turvy nature of the story, with criminals in the roles of detectives, and gets the listener to sympathize with the plight of the villains. The Cutie is a crafty little crime story, and Thorne ensures that it’s a suspenseful, speedy listen.”

    AudioFile

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jeff | 2/16/2014

    " It's hard to go wrong with a writer like Westlake, or Block for that matter, or Whittington or Williams. Westlake is consistent. The only thing negative I can say about him is that he seems to write exclusively about the mob. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jim | 2/15/2014

    " 3.5 stars, but I rounded up. This is one of the best HCC books that I've read. The flawed hero is very well done as are his circumstances & the mystery. The writing is fast paced with just enough detail to really draw me in, but not so much as to slow the story down. The characters are well drawn & very believable. The ending was excellent. I'll be looking for other books by Westlake to read. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Greg | 2/11/2014

    " This is one of the weaker offerings from Hard Case Crime. The cover art was fantastic prompting the purchase, however, the story development was not up to par. Incidents were too predictable, yet at the same time, not enough information was given to the reader of the mystery to attempt to solve it nor was there enough misdirection with false leads to keep the reader enticed. What it does have going for it, was great New York in the late 50's and early 60's atmosphere. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Randall | 2/10/2014

    " You pretty much can't go wrong with Donald Westlake (or any of his aliases). "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alice | 1/29/2014

    " Since the book is set in the early 60s (and that's when it was published), it reminds you of what detective work was like before cell phones and computers. The protagonist is the right-hand man of a mob boss in Manhattan. Great characters and dialogue--classic Westlake. "

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

    " My first Westlake book. What a genius. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Andrew | 1/15/2014

    " This one makes you feel dirty.... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Zvi | 12/14/2013

    " A pretty cute (ha ha) little noir thriller. Originally published in 1960. My first Donald E. Westlake. I liked it, although I guessed at some of the plot machinations in advanced. I enjoyed the anti-hero and the tight, atmospheric plotting, along with the terse and evocative prose. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Leona | 12/2/2013

    " Hard Case Crimes - old fashioned; love the gangster dialogue. Plot is not much. Who really cares for Metro reading? "

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

    " Donald Westlake's debut novel "The Mercenaries" of 1970 is brought back as the Hard Case Crime book #53. It's got gangsters, murder and some humor, with that unmistakable Westlake touch, even in his first novel, published under a pseudonym and nominated for an Edgar. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ron | 5/5/2013

    " A potboiler by a master of hard-edged crime is still a good read. Nothing is particularly memorable here, just the craft and sure-footedness of Westlake's writing. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jim | 2/3/2013

    " as always Westlake writes real characters and real plots "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jim | 6/1/2012

    " True noir fiction; unsettling yet intriguing. The structure towards the end is a bit odd with a long passage that interrupts the flow of the mystery. It turns out it's a needed passage, I just thought it could have been handled better. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Michael | 8/5/2011

    " I'm not as fond of Westlake's hard-boiled stories as his comic capers, but he's so good that even his "lesser" stuff is highly readable. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Andy | 5/7/2011

    " A passed out junkie is set up to take the fall for a murder he's pretty sure he didn't commit and a crime-syndicate enforcer tries to find the real murderer. Good read, could have used some more violence to spice it up. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Spiros | 4/16/2011

    " Early Westlake, much more Richard Stark than Dortmunder: suspensful, with a satisfying twist in the tail, and not without a humorous tone. All in all, not unlike Jim Thompson. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Book Concierge | 3/19/2011

    " Westlake is just a master of the double cross. This work leaves us with more questions than answers. Gripping. Exciting. Character we care about. Great writing. Practically perfect. 4.5 stars "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alice | 1/13/2011

    " Since the book is set in the early 60s (and that's when it was published), it reminds you of what detective work was like before cell phones and computers. The protagonist is the right-hand man of a mob boss in Manhattan. Great characters and dialogue--classic Westlake. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Steve | 11/11/2010

    " written in first person. i like that style.
    Mavis St. Paul had been a rich man’s mistress. Now she was a corpse. And every cop in New York City was hunting for the two-bit punk accused of putting a knife in her.
    hero Clay is right hand to crime boss Ed ganolese.
    "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 F Tessa | 3/30/2010

    " Westlake is just a master of the double cross. This work leaves us with more questions than answers. Gripping. Exciting. Character we care about. Great writing. Practically perfect. 4.5 stars "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Andrew | 3/20/2010

    " This one makes you feel dirty.... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Spiros | 3/11/2010

    " Early Westlake, much more Richard Stark than Dortmunder: suspensful, with a satisfying twist in the tail, and not without a humorous tone. All in all, not unlike Jim Thompson. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Andy | 2/15/2010

    " A passed out junkie is set up to take the fall for a murder he's pretty sure he didn't commit and a crime-syndicate enforcer tries to find the real murderer. Good read, could have used some more violence to spice it up. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bradley | 2/6/2010

    " Donald Westlake's debut novel "The Mercenaries" of 1970 is brought back as the Hard Case Crime book #53. It's got gangsters, murder and some humor, with that unmistakable Westlake touch, even in his first novel, published under a pseudonym and nominated for an Edgar. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Patty | 11/13/2009

    " Another funny Donald Westlake crime caper. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 jim | 11/9/2009

    " True noir fiction; unsettling yet intriguing. The structure towards the end is a bit odd with a long passage that interrupts the flow of the mystery. It turns out it's a needed passage, I just thought it could have been handled better. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Michael | 10/5/2009

    " I'm not as fond of Westlake's hard-boiled stories as his comic capers, but he's so good that even his "lesser" stuff is highly readable. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jeff | 9/14/2009

    " It's hard to go wrong with a writer like Westlake, or Block for that matter, or Whittington or Williams. Westlake is consistent. The only thing negative I can say about him is that he seems to write exclusively about the mob. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ron | 7/7/2009

    " A potboiler by a master of hard-edged crime is still a good read. Nothing is particularly memorable here, just the craft and sure-footedness of Westlake's writing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Randall | 6/3/2009

    " You pretty much can't go wrong with Donald Westlake (or any of his aliases). "

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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

Stephen R. Thorne is a member of the resident acting company at Providence’s esteemed Trinity Repertory Company, where his favorite productions include Hamlet, Henry V, and The Cider House Rules. He lives with his family in Lincoln, Rhode Island.