I’ve been a fan of Westlake’s work for many years, but still haven’t caught up to past books. It’s an ongoing process as I come across them now and then, get a hint from some blog post, and such. I GAVE AT THE OFFICE was published in 1971 and has his trademark humor.

But it was a harder read than anything else I’ve read by him. The format is that of a newsman, Jay Fisher, recording a series of tapes telling his side of the mess that became the Ilha Pombo Affair. Sent to cover the invasion of the Caribbean island, things don’t go quite as well as planned. It was Fisher who had brought the idea to the Network(he never speaks of his bosses in any other word and he uses it quite frequently), brought to him by a couple of other fellows. He’s quickly put into a subordinate position and left out of the loop as such.

Fisher had thought it was his ticket up. Mostly he was stand-in interviewer for the Big Name. He’d meet the subject for lunch, armed with prepared questions, taping the whole interview, then the Big Name’s same questions would be inserted into the tape for broadcast over radio.

The Ilha Pombo Affair was supposed to be a U.S. financed insurgency to overthrow a dictatorship. It turned out to be a fizzle and the Network decides to “help” out a bit. I believe a similar plot was used in the film WAG THE DOG though I’ve never seen that one.

I enjoyed this one, though, as mentioned, it was harder to read than other Westlakes.

For more Forgotten books, check out PATTI Abbott\'s blog, PATTINASE.

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