Donald E. Westlake (1933-2008) was one of the most prolific and talented authors of American crime fiction. He began his career in the late 1950's, churning out novels for pulp houses—often writing as many as four novels a year under various pseudonyms such as Richard Stark
—but soon began publishing under his own name. His most well-known characters were John Dortmunder, an unlucky thief, and Parker, a ruthless criminal. His writing earned him three Edgar Awards: the 1968 Best Novel award for God Save the Mark
; the 1990 Best Short Story award for "Too Many Crooks"; and the 1991 Best Motion Picture Screenplay award for The Grifters
. In addition, Westlake also earned a Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America in 1993.
Westlake's cinematic prose and brisk dialogue made his novels attractive to Hollywood, and several motion pictures were made from his books, with stars such as Lee Marvin and Mel Gibson. Westlake wrote several screenplays himself, receiving an Academy Award nomination for his adaptation of The Grifters, Jim Thompson's noir classic.
Some of the pseudonyms he used include
• Richard Stark
• Timothy J. Culver
• Tucker Coe
• Curt Clark
• J. Morgan Cunningham
• Judson Jack Carmichael
• D.E. Westlake
• Donald I. Vestlejk
• Don Westlake