Saturday, October 22, 2005

32. Killy by Donald E. Westlake

Killy book pictureI actually read this almost a month ago, but since I'm getting back on the book-reading wagon, I realize I'd better start keeping track.

This is an early Westlake, about a young man who gets an intern job at a union headquarters. He works for a man named Walter Killy. Their job is to encourage unionization. At first it's all presented as business-like and professional, creating PR and publicity and talking with people who are interested. But when they go to a single-factory town where some of the men want to unionize, things get ugly really fast.

Most of the book is an interesting look at how the unions operate in situations like this. As it moves forward, it becomes more about the narrator and his growing confidence in the position. It foreshadows Westlake's study of the psychology of jobs and workers which we see more of in The Axe and is always an undercurrent in most of his books.

Watching the union respond to the locked-down town, the corrupt cops and the plant owners is really cool and worth the read alone. The ending is a bit abrupt and not totally satisfying, mostly because the protaganist is a bit soulless. Enjoyable, though.

1 comment:

Crumbolst said...

I might look into this stuff. I've alwasy been interested in how our identitiess are tied to our work.

"So, what do you do?"