Forever and a Death by Donald Westlake

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: Forever and a Death -- Donald E. Westlake

Forever and a Death was originally a treatment by Westlake for a new Bond movie in the mid 90’s to follow Goldeneye. Although the movie was not made, Westlake turned the treatment into a novelization. Now finally Hard Case Crime has posthumously published Westlake’s novel as one of its infamous lost novels.

Westlake put a lot of different elements into this story starting with a Bond-type mega-villain who runs a corporate empire and has hundreds of guys working to bring his mad schemes to fruition. It is probably a bit light on the Bond girls with the only female character being a young environmentalist and diver, Kim. There’s mad scientist schemes, revenge schemes, man on the run themes, a sardonic sense of humor, and a race against time to the climax at the end.

It is quite readable although it suffers from unnecessary length. A shorter, more terse, compact story would probably have been more satisfying. Part of the length though is the circumstances of it having been developed out of a movie treatment rather than having been conceived as a novel in the first place.

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