By Ken Tucker
Updated March 17, 2010 at 04:00 AM EDT

Donald E. Westlake, who died in 2008, is renowned for his superb, often comic thrillers, as well as the hard-boiled Parker novels he wrote under the name Richard Stark. In Memory, ?a more mainstream novel that Westlake wrote in the early 1960s and never published, Paul Cole suffers from partial amnesia — his past is just beyond the reach of his mind. He keeps moving, like a fugitive, through a succession of working-class jobs; he falls in love; he gets in trouble with the law. Westlake never again dabbled in social realism, which is a shame: Memory is terse and bleak and low-?key emotional, and as indelible as Westlake’s other books. B+

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