The Ax

By Donald E. Westlake,

Book cover of The Ax

Book description

The multi-award-winning, widely-acclaimed mystery master Donald E. Westlake delivers a masterpiece with this brilliant, laser-sharp tale of the deadly consequences of corporate downsizing.

Burke Devore is a middle-aged manager at a paper company when the cost-cutting ax falls, and he is laid off. Eighteen months later and still unemployed, he…

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission

Why read it?

2 authors picked The Ax as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Donald Westlake was the consummate professional, a writer’s writer with more than a hundred novels to his credit. 

Specializing in crime fiction, he created the blockbuster Parker series and was so prolific he needed a half a dozen pseudonyms just to avoid competing with himself in the marketplace. This book is his masterpiece. Period. Full stop. And if the first sentence doesn’t grab you, nothing will:

I’ve never actually killed anybody before, murdered another person, snuffed out another human being.

So let the games begin!

From Jay's list on thrillers that begin with a bang.

It's the 1990s. Not exactly morning in America for Burke Devore.

Getting the ax from his mid-level executive job, in middle age, with a house and cars and two kids to put through college, has rendered Burke a desperate man. And very bitter about the new capitalist logic.

Even "healthy companies, firmly in the black," downsize people like Burke to pander to "stockholders' drive for return on investment."

In this pitch black, gruesomely funny thriller, Burke decides to literally kill off the competition for a coveted job at a paper mill.

Westlake, an absolute master, has the reader both sickened…

Want books like The Ax?

Our community of 9,000+ authors has personally recommended 10 books like The Ax.

Browse books like The Ax

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in a middle age man, serial killers, and murder?

9,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about a middle age man, serial killers, and murder.

A Middle Age Man Explore 10 books about a middle age man
Serial Killers Explore 227 books about serial killers
Murder Explore 728 books about murder