"Well, remember how many times it took the Dortmunder gang to get close to the Hot Rock? One night I started thinking of taking that novel and rewriting it with all the humor taken out. It didn't go beyond theoretical speculation, but I think it could be done. The danger is that it might become a standard "thriller"!"
I am pretty sure that Westlake said that THE HOT ROCK started out as a serious heist novel, but kept turning comic as he was writing it, so he decided to make it a funny book. It is quite funny--but am pretty sure it does not shed any light on the "silly noir" question. (By the way, in all the discussion of "silly noir," nobody has mentioned the work of Garth Ennis, who is surely one of the best examples I know of for "over the top"--PREACHER, anyone?)
Incidentally, I just finished THE BLACK ICE SCORE--I have been reading the "Parker" novels in publication order (slowly), and I have to believe that BLACK ICE was a major influence on HOT ROCK, as it has many of the same elements (African nation and embassy, precious gems to be recovered, etc.). To be honest, I found BLACK ICE the weakest of the Parker novels thus far, and I'm now actually wondering if Westlake was being a little deceitful in describing the origin of THE HOT ROCK: I'm not sure that HOT ROCK started as a serious novel, but rather I wonder if, having finished BLACK ICE, Westlake felt it was not a great success and, several years later, "rewrote" it as HOT ROCK.
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