Westlake, one of the grandmasters of crime fiction, originally published this short comedic crime story in 1974, but Hard Case has unearthed it from its secret tomb and republished it. Westlake must have been watching a lot of Hogan’s Heroes when he wrote this, only here it’s not a POW camp in Germany, but a prison in the northeast. Westlake wrote two dozen Parker novels about a tough criminal who committed capers and four Grofield caper novels, all under the pseudonym Richard Stark. Help I Am Being Held Prisoner is clearly a close cousin to the Parker and Grofield novels. This is a caper novel – about gathering he crew and planning the caper and everything that could go wrong. It’s just that Harry Künt was not the rock-solid customer that Parker was. He was a practical joker who couldn’t stop – not even behind bars. It’s a book that doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s a fairly short, quick read. And it’s lots of fun.