PUSH, MEET SHOVE by Peter Barthelme


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When push comes to shove, Houston adman Beaumont (no first name) is nobody's fool. But for most of this uninspired thriller by newcomer Barthelme (brother of Donald and Frederick), Beaumont's something of a class-A jerk--he endures lots of pushing in order to save his failing agency. All of Beaumont's financial difficulties seem solved when Clay Thomas, a precocious oil tycoon and CEO of Wellamation Oil, commissions a six-figure campaign designed to boost his company's stock. But unfortunately for Beaumont, once he's committed to ad-reps nationwide, his client disappears, and Wellamation has no record of the deal. This elaborate deception is Thomas' way of luring Beaumont, also owner of a much-fussed-over boat, into a scheme involving late-night rendezvous in the Gulf with mysterious Latin-Americans. What appears to be a complex oil scam is in fact a simple cocaine deal, engineered by a ruthless Nicaraguan drug-runner. This seductive Sandinista is not only supported by her evil government, but is a lesbian to boot!--she's even tricked the haplessly hetero adman into the sack. Lots of gratuitous plot twists (especially the secret identity of Beaumont's pretty assistant) and extraneous details about Beaumont's disordered life help distract from the dull intrigue at the core: an adman trapped by his ""fiduciary responsibility."" An adman himself, Barthelme also writes convincingly about boating. Otherwise: an unshapely mix of the predictable and implausible.

Pub Date: Nov. 23rd, 1987
Publisher: St. Martin's