High Adventure

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Donald Westlake, a master of the comic crime caper, constructs a modern comedy of manners set primarily south of the border, as the novel’s wonderfully realized characters converge on a piece of land in the Central American country Belize. Crafty Deputy Director Innocent St. Michael knew that the land was without value when he sold it two years ago to Kirby Galway, an American charter pilot and smuggler of marijuana.

If the property is worthless, however, why is Galway taking two New York antiques dealers out there? Why is a museum official showing an interest in Galway’s land? Can the newly arrived--and attractive--UCLA archeology student be correct when she states that computers have located a lost Mayan temple on that land? To add to the intrigue, St. Michael’s deputy is meeting with a Guatemalan Colonel. Once the cast is assembled in Belize, the reader is off on a wild chase.

Westlake enriches the action by changing the narrative focus of each chapter, now making the reader privy to what is happening to one of the players at the moment, now serving up dollops of Belizean history.

The novel is highly visual; the impact is one of having seen a well-written, well-directed, and well-acted film. Indeed, HIGH ADVENTURE is high jinks in high style: a first-rate entertainment.