Westlake, Donald E. Trust Me on This (1988)
Mysterious Press, 292 pages, $5.50 paperback
ISBN 0 445 40807 3
This send-up of tabloid journalism is the precursor to Baby, Would I Lie?. Young reporter Sara Joslyn has just lost her job when the small New England newspaper she worked for was bought out, then discontinued, by a giant corporation. With the lure of a huge salary, she goes to Florida to work for the Weekly Galaxy, the most notorious supermarket tabloid, whose stock in trade is alien abductions and entertainment industry gossip.
On the way to work her first day at the Galaxy, Sara discovers a corpse in a Buick Riviera on the side of the highway. She begins to realize she’s entered the nether world of journalism when no one at the Galaxy cares about her discovery. Was it a movie star’s body, her editor, Jack Ingersoll, wants to know. “On what TV series does he appear?” Jack asks.
So Sara immerses herself in the kind of stories the Galaxy features: the staged birthday party for 100-year-old twins in a nursing home that must go on even though one of the twins dies the day before, the race for photos of a big TV star and his bride on their honeymoon.
Trust Me on This displays Westlake’s comic genius at its best. Read it the next time you’re in the mood for a laugh-out-loud funny book.
© 1999 by Mary Daniels Brown