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Wet Work ()

    'In 1986, Architectural Digest asked me to do a piece on Malcolm Forbes's yacht, the Highlander,'
    the 38-year-old writer said in a telephone interview from his New York City office. Mr. Buckley
    said he learned that Forbes was planning a journey from Manaus, Brazil, to Iquitos, Peru, with the
    billionaire John Kluge. 'I was casting around for a book idea and thought, "There's one -- a comedy
    of manners about two billionaires going up the Amazon to the heart of darkness."'
        -Interview with Andrew Yarrow, NY Times Book Review

I suppose there's some sense in which it's unfair to hold an author's successes against him, but Christopher Buckley's other books are so good, that this one, though adequate, seems terribly disappointing.  He's taken the scenario above and turned it into a kind of cross between A Man in Full and Death Wish.  When billionaire industrialist Charlie Becker's beloved granddaughter Natasha dies of a drug overdose, he sets out to wreak his terrible revenge on the entire drug apparatus responsible for her death.  By the end of the novel, he's, you guessed it, on board his yacht in the Amazon on pursuing a Peruvian cocaine kingpin.

There are many funny lines and the action is thrilling enough, though it does go on longer than it needs to.  I suppose that if this was the first novel I'd read by Christopher Buckley I might be more lenient, but knowing how much better he's capable of, this one just gets the slightest of recommendations.  Try Little Green Men or The White House Mess instead.


Grade: (C)


See also:

Christopher Buckley (3 books reviewed)
Christopher Buckley Links:

    -ESSAY: Another March of Folly? (CHRISTOPHER BUCKLEY, February 19, 2003, NY Times)
    -REVIEW: of No Way to Treat a First Lady by Christopher Buckley (Robin Vidimos, The Denver Post)

Book-related and General Links:
    -BOOKNOTES : Author: Christopher Buckley Title: Wry Martinis Air Date: May 4, 1997 (CSPAN)
    -Forbes FYI
    -EXCERPT : First Chapter of Little Green Men
    -EXCERPT : First Chapter of God is My Broker
    -ESSAY : All-Terrain Zealotry (Christopher Buckley, 11/26/01, NY Times)
    -ESSAY : Now and Then : What if today's media covered World War II?  (CHRISTOPHER BUCKLEY, November 10, 2001, Wall Street Journal)
    -ESSAY : Barbara Streisand's Other Letters (Chris Buckley, Wall Street Journal, April 6, 2001)
    -ESSAY : Blind (Drunk) Wine Tasting (Christopher Buckley and P.J. O'Rourke, Forbes FYI, 10.30.99)
    -ESSAY : Wireless Shrugged : How it was in the days of the downtime annihilators (CHRISTOPHER BUCKLEY, May 2000, TIME)
    -ESSAY : WASHINGTON MEMOIRS: BOMBSHELL OR BUST (Christopher Buckley , NY Times Book Review, October 1, 1989)
    -ESSAY : Hillary: The Op-Ed  By Hillary Rodham Clinton (as told to Christopher Buckley, Wall Street Journal)
    -ESSAY : Death of the Prince : John F. Kennedy Jr lived his life in a becoming and graceful manner and handled his celebrity well. However, he was not a hero and does not deserve the... (Christopher Buckley, National Review, August 09 1999)
    -ESSAY : Big night for Bush :   Christopher Buckley, Norman Lear, Al Franken, Joe Eszterhas and other critics review Debate 2 (Salon)
    -ESSAY : CONVERSATION : Doing the dragon dance : Welcome to our Internet chat room: Chinese President Jiang  Zemin will now answer the questions of all concerned Hong Kong residents (CHRISTOPHER BUCKLEY, US News)
    -ESSAY : Memo  From  Coach (Christopher Buckley, The New Yorker, Jan 1998)
    -ESSAY : The Highest Crime (Christopher Buckley, National Review, Feb 8, 1999)
    -INTERVIEW : A TALK WITH MARK HELPRIN: 'I MAY BE AN ANOMALY' (Christopher Buckley, NY Times, March 25, 1984)
    -REVIEW : of Up in the Air by Walter Kirn (Christopher Buckley, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of THE INFORMATION By Martin Amis (Christopher Buckley , NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of THE LOVES OF FAUSTYNA By Nina FitzPatrick (Christopher Buckley , NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of QUOTATIONS FROM SPEAKER NEWT The Little Red, White and Blue Book of the Republican Revolution. Edited by Amy D. Bernstein  and Peter W. Bernstein  (Christopher Buckley , NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of DEBT OF HONOR By Tom Clancy (Christopher Buckley , NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of THE RUSSIAN GIRL By Kingsley Amis (Christopher Buckley , NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of THE LITERARY COMPANION TO SEX An Anthology of Prose and Poetry. Edited by Fiona Pitt-Kethley  (Christopher Buckley , NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of BAD Or, the Dumbing of America. By Paul Fussell (Christopher Buckley , NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of IN ALL HIS GLORY The Life of William S. Paley: The Legendary Tycoon and His Brilliant Circle  By Sally Bedell Smith (Christopher Buckley , NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of FIRST HUBBY  By Roy Blount Jr.  (Christopher Buckley , NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of FROM: THE PRESIDENT Richard Nixon's Secret Files. Edited by Bruce Oudes (Christopher Buckley , NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of ZERO GRAVITY By Richard Lourie (Christopher Buckley , NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of THE COMPLETE YES MINISTER The Diaries of a Cabinet Minister. By the Right Hon. James Hacker MP. Edited by Jonathan Lynn and Antony Jay (Christopher Buckley , NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of Felix in the Underworld By John Mortimer (Christopher Buckley , NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of The End of the Age By Pat Robertson (Christopher Buckley , NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of THE COLLECTED SHORT FICTION OF BRUCE JAY FRIEDMAN (Christopher Buckley , NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of ATLANTIC CIRCLE By Kathryn Lasky Knight (Christopher Buckley , NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of FEAR AND LOATHING IN AMERICA The Brutal Odyssey of an Outlaw Journalist, 1968-1976 By Hunter S. Thompson (Christopher Buckley , NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of THE WATER IN BETWEEN A Journey at Sea. By Kevin Patterson (Christopher Buckley , NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of The Gun Seller By Hugh Laurie (Christopher Buckley , NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of It's My Party by Peter Robinson (Christopher Buckley , Washington Monthly)
    -REVIEW : of Monday Morning Quarterback by Jonathan Yardley (Christopher Buckley, Washington Monthly)
    -INTERVIEW : 'God Is My Broker': An Interview with Christopher Buckley (DEBORAH STEAD, NY Times)
    -INTERVIEW : with Christopher Buckley (Joe Hartlaub, Book Reporter)
    -INTERVIEW : with Christopher Buckley (at random magazine)
    -INTERVIEW : with Chris Buckley  (JOEL STEIN, TIME)
    -DIALOGUE : When Is It OK To Betray a Friend? (Slate)
    -PROFILE : TRYING TO SMOKE WITH Christopher Buckley; More Huffing Than Puffing (ALEX WITCHEL, NY Times, June 30, 1994)
    -BRIEF PROFILE : What Did You Do in the '60s (Fred Barnes, AEI)
    -ESSAY : Washington Talk; Fiction Mirrors the Loss of Majesty  (E. J. DIONNE Jr., NY Times, April 17, 1989)
    -ARCHIVES : "christopher buckley" (NY Review of Books)
    -ARCHIVES : "Christopher Buckley" (Find Articles)
    -ARCHIVES : "Christopher Buckley" (Mag Portal)
    -REVIEW : of Wry Martinis by Christopher Buckley (Ben Macintyre, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of Wry Martinis ( Mark Bazer, Boston Phoenix)
    -REVIEW : of Wry Martinis (Gene Alexeyev, The Indicator)
    -REVIEW : of LITTLE GREEN MEN By Christopher Buckley (1999) (Mordechai Richler, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of Little Green Men (National Review)
    -REVIEW : of Little Green Men (AJ Jacobs,  Entertainment Weekly, April 9, 1999)
    -REVIEW : of Little Green Men (Justin Torres, The Crisis)
    -REVIEW : of Little Green Men (Robin Vidimos, The Denver Post )
    -REVIEW :  of Little Green Men (Deirdre Donoghue, USA Today)
    -REVIEW : of Little Green Men (Scott O'Callaghan,
    -REVIEW : of Little Green Men (Erik Spanberg, Creative Loafing)
    -REVIEW : of Little Green Men (Book Browser)
    -REVIEW : of Little Green Men (Josh London, American Partisan)
    -REVIEW :  of Little Green Men (Joe Hartlaub, Book Reporter)
    -REVIEW : of Little Green Men  (Seattle Times, Adam Woog)
    -REVIEW : of Little Green Men  (Bob Hoover, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
    -REVIEW : of Little Green Men  (Peter D. Tillman, SF Site)
    -REVIEW : of Little Green Men  (Steven E. Alford, Houston Chronicle)
    -REVIEW : of Little Green Men  (Craig Offman, Salon)
    -REVIEW : of Little Green Men  (Terry Peters, North Shore News)
    -REVIEW : of Little Green Men (FLORENCE GILKESON, The
    -REVIEW : of GOD IS MY BROKER A Monk-Tycoon Reveals the 7 Laws of Spiritual and Financial Growth. By Brother Ty with Christopher Buckley  (1998) (Dwight Garner, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of God is My Broken by Brother Ty and Christopher Buckley (Alix Madrigal, SF Chronicle)
    -REVIEW : of Thank You for Smoking By Christopher Buckley (Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, NY Times)
    -REVIEW : of THANK YOU FOR SMOKING By Christopher Buckley (1994) (Larry Gelbart, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of Thank You for Smoking (R.Z. Sheppard, TIME)
    -REVIEW : of Wet Work by Christopher Buckley (CHRISTOPHER LEHMANN-HAUPT, NY Times)
    -REVIEW : of  WET WORK By Christopher Buckley (1991) (Robert Stuart Nathan, NY Times Book Review)
   -REVIEW : of THE WHITE HOUSE MESS. By Christopher Buckley (Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, NY Times)
    -REVIEW : of THE WHITE HOUSE MESS By Christopher Buckley (1986) (NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of "Backward and Upward: The New Conservative Writing," edited by David Brooks (GARY KAMIYA, Salon)
    -REVIEW : of Backward and Upward : Prose & Cons : Pens at the ready, conservative writers march forward into the past in a new anthology (Richard von Busack, MetroActive Books)