The Pequod Review:
The Mercenaries is Donald Westlake’s first novel published under his own name (his prior books had been mostly pulp romance novels under various pseudonyms) and already his style is nearly fully-formed. The book is narrated by Clay, an intelligent young man who through a series of odd events gets pulled into organized crime and finds he doesn’t mind it. And while he’s a minor hood, he has shown enough competence to become the boss’s right hand man, to the point that he gets tasked with investigating a murder. The Mercenaries contains a number of trademark Westlake elements — pitch-perfect scene descriptions, lots of humor and absurdity, and a deep amorality throughout. Hard Case Crime reissued The Mercenaries in 2011 as The Cutie, Westlake’s original title.