The Pequod Review:
Ray Kelly is discharged from the Air Force, and is preparing to enter civilian life when a car pulls up next to him on the highway and opens fire. Kelly loses his eye, his father is killed, and thus begins a revenge story that winds up with Kelly in the middle of a New York City Mafia war. Donald Westlake’s book 361 takes sharp and unexpected turns, with more hard-edged violence than his prior books, and he uses a spare writing style to describe moments of extraordinary violence. Here is Westlake on the original shooting:
Thirty-eight miles outside New York City, when we had the road to ourselves, a tan-and-cream Chrysler pulled up next to us, and the guy on our side stuck his hand out with a gun in it and started shooting. Dad looked at me, and his eyes were huge and terrified. He opened his mouth and said, “Cap” in a high strange voice. Then blood gushed out of his mouth like red vomit. He fell staring in my lap, and the car swung off the road into a bridge support.
In many ways, 361 is a predecessor to Westlake's hard-boiled Parker novels (published under the pen name Richard Stark). Highly recommended.