Trust Me On This

Trust Me On This by Donald E. Westlake

I haven’t read enough Donald E. Westlake. I plan to rectify that soon by getting on a first name basis with Dortmunder, one of the funniest anti-heroes in the mystery world and probably Westlake’s most popular creation.

But I do have a favorite Westlake novel, Trust Me On This. It’s one of Westlake’s stand-alones from the early 90s. I picked it up because I was fascinated with the setting. First, it was NOT Westlake’s favored New York City. It was Florida. And the workplace backdrop for the heroine was a tabloid. One of those lurid broadsheets we all sneak surreptitious peaks at while waiting to pay for our yogurt and cauliflower and Atlantic Monthly.

C’mon. Who doesn’t want to turn the page and read about Marilyn’s alien baby or a potato chip and beer diet? I always wondered at the folks who wrote those stories. Do you have to be a good wordsmith or a failed hack? Where do the ideas come from?

Westlake did the research and put it all in his comic caper, Trust Me On This. I don’t really remember the mystery very much. The young heroine has been lured from a respectable newspaper where she was paid peanuts to this fact-devoid rag that will pay her an eye-rolling salary (but she doesn’t get any byline). On her way to her first day on the job, she passes a corpse on the highway that later disappears. Hijinks and mayhem ensue as she tries to find the body and the body’s killer and crash the wedding of a rock star for photos of the high profile guests falling into the cake or fighting over cater-waiters.

I remember one character’s perfect delineation between a gossip-and-alien ‘loid and “The Grey Lady,” The New York Times. If a reader calls the NYT and says, “I saw Elvis at the Burger King,” a first-string reporter will scoff and hang up the phone. At the Galaxy, the reporter will perk up and ask, “Which Burger King?”

It all comes down to fact checking. Check your book groups’ seriousness and offer up a Westlake novel. Don’t answer “why” but “which.”

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About the Author:

Kaite Mediatore Stover refuses to give up her day job as director of readers' services for The Kansas City Public Library to read tarot cards professionally or be the merch girl/roadie for her husband's numerous bands. Follow her on Twitter at @MarianLiberryan.

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