The Hot Rock

by Donald E Westlake

Saturday, February 2, 2002

Featured image for The Hot Rock

[These comments are taken from a mailing list discussion and contain spoilers]

[casting the film?]

I won’t even attempt Q1 as one of my great skills (to give it a positive twist) is never recognising actors from one movie to the next and there’s no way I could begin to figure out who would be good at playing the characters from the book. Also I don’t really visualise characters in books much, though occassionally I get thrown by references to hair colour or clothing and only then realise that I do have an idea of my own about what the characters look like.

[fave characters]

I found Chefwick with his model trains to be the character who stuck in my memory best. He was the most unlikely criminal of the lot of them and the part where he drove the locomotive and imagined that he had been shrunk down to fit into his model was one of the most amusing bits. I think I probably know too many real life Chefwicks and that’s why he struck a chord with me.

[fave scenes]

I enjoyed seeing how they managed to pull off each separate crime. As Donna mentioned I started off being all cynical and saying to myself “Oh yeah, right, a locomotive, like they’re easy to get hold of…” but then I saw Westlake explain with a relatively high degree of realism how they got hold of a locomotive and so on. After that I kind of settled back into the plot and enjoyed watching the explanations rather than whinging to myself about how silly it all was. On the whole I enjoyed the book as it’s different from the kind of thing I’d pick up by myself and made a pleasant change. I did think the scene with the helicopter was just too silly and couldn’t believe that Murch would be able to fly it that well. I think they should have had more close shaves in that phase.