Too many heavyweight writers have passed away in the last year, including Sir Arthur C. Clarke and a score of sci-fi godfathers, Michael Crichton, and John Updike. I was very saddened to learn in the last few weeks that Donald E. Westlake joined that list, on New Year's Eve 2008. I came across the news by accident, whist looking at David Morrell's website, since I am a drifter in the world of news (I rarely watch the news on television since it is way too graphic for my 4-year old to view, so I rely on the Internet and newspapers).
I'm deeply saddened by the man's passing. I've really been getting my claws into Westlake's work (it started when I read 'The Hook' to make sure it was nothing like my crime novel). Many will also know him under the pseudonym Richard Stark. Westlake had the wonderful ability to inject humour, darkness and intelligence into all his mysteries. I encourage you all to look at his work - I only wish I could have met the master before it was too late.