Watch Your Back!

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Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 270

Donald E. Westlake's highly ingenious criminal, John Dortmunder, is back for another comic adventure in Watch Your Back! as he plots with his friends in the back room of New York City's O.J. Bar and Grill. Trouble erupts, though, as the twenty-six-year-old nephew of New Jersey mobster Ottavian Siciliano Carbine takes over this back room to make the bar a bustout joint, forcing longtime bartender Rollo to sign his good name on credit slips to load up the joint with merchandise, which Michael Carbine will sell off before clearing out, leaving Rollo bankrupt. Dortmunder takes the notion that the O.J. is not going down without a fight. After all, where else would he and his buddies meet to plan their next escapade?

Thus ensue sidesplitting episodes entwining the plots of the local criminals, the encroaching mobsters, and a billionaire trying to evade process servers employed by his ex-wives who want to take him to the cleaners. Wealthy Preston Fareweather has been evading these policy servers by vacationing at Club Med for several years, while his Fifth Avenue apartment filled with expensive art lies empty except for cleaning and security checks. The multi-layered conspiracy includes Dortmunder and friends relieving Fareweather's apartment of its costliest goods, a teenaged scam artist getting some lucky breaks when he applies for a job with crooks, the mob getting into more than they bargained for, Fareweather being out-connived by a gold-digger and barely escaping alive to his apartment just in time to be burglarized, and an unexpected denouement for rollicking delight. If you have never met Dortmunder, now is the time to do so.

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