Getting rid of the competition
Hard Case Crime mastermind Charles Ardai memorializes Westlake for The Guardian:
In his widely acclaimed novel The Ax (filmed by Costa-Gavras as Le Couperet), Don imagined a serial killer unlike any other in fiction. A middle-aged man is downsized out of his job in the paper industry and has a hard time finding another because there aren't many jobs suitable for him, and there are a lot of middle-aged executives competing for the few that are. So he runs his own classified ad for a job that would be perfect for him, collects the résumés of the people who respond, and sets about killing them, one by one. So he can get a job, you see. Not because he's a maniacal super-villain playing a sly game of cat-and-mouse with a handsome police detective. Because he needs a paycheck. It's a stunning, frightening book, inhuman and so very human all at once.