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The Delivery Man: A Novelby Joe McGinniss Jr.
Synopses & Reviews
The Delivery Man is a thrilling and astonishing debut — a scary, fast-paced, and illuminating portrait of the MySpace generation. It is a love story set against the surreal excess of Las Vegas — and the artificial suburbs, gated communities, and freeways that surround it — where broken lives come to seek new beginnings and casinos feed the lust of tourists and residents alike. Ultrasophisticated local kids grow up fast and burn out early.
After attending college in New York, Chase returns to Vegas and is drawn into the lucrative but dangerous world of a teenage call-girl service with his childhood friend, Michele, a beautiful Salvadoran immigrant with whom he shares a tragic past. Over the course of one extraordinary summer they will confront the violence and emptiness at the heart of the city and their generation.
At once stark and electrically atmospheric, horrifying and hopeful, The Delivery Man is an ambitious literary novel as well as a fast and absorbing page-turner — and a powerful indictment of a society in which personal responsibility has been abandoned, lust is increasingly mistaken for love, and innocence is an anachronism.
"Sex, lies, crushed dreams and slot machines are paramount in McGinniss's flashy, fast-moving debut. Chase is a struggling artist who couldn't hack NYU and moves back to Vegas, where he is reunited with his adolescent flame, Michele. After being fired from his teaching job for beating up a student, Chase plans to hook up with his girlfriend, Julia, in California, but instead spends his summer as a chauffeur for Michele's call-girl business. Michele has plans for herself (buying a house, getting an advanced degree in women's studies), but for the time being is running the call-girl service out of a suite in the Versailles Palace Hotel and Casino with her boyfriend, Bailey. Girls too young for the job, readily available cocaine, untrustworthy business partners, memories of a family tragedy and glammed-out Vegas goons make Chase's summer more stressful than he had hoped for as he attempts to finish a few paintings for a group gallery show. The novel is action-packed, though the character development — particularly with the women — is sometimes superficial. McGinniss (son of another Joe McGinnis you may have heard of) successfully gambles with the notion that whatever happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but what does that mean for Chase and his plans to escape?" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Las Vegas seems the perfect setting for Joe McGinniss Jr.'s first novel: a portrait of teens and 20-somethings who value sheen over substance, sell out long-term potential for short-term perks, and gamble with their lives on hopes that are unlikely to materialize. An art school drop-out, 25-year-old Chase is biding time as a high-school teacher until he can meet up in California... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review) with girlfriend Julia, who is completing her MBA and already on the fast-track to success. But Chase is also hung-up on his childhood crush, Michele, now a Vegas call girl. When she and another childhood pal, Bailey, organize a teen prostitution ring in a Vegas suite, Chase finds himself the 'delivery man,' running girls to and from appointments — some of them the girls he's taught in art class. Though banally depraved, Chase's world isn't too far from everyday American culture, where sex and youth are major marketing commodities. These girls aspire to the glitz and glamour around them — Audi convertibles and bigger breasts. If sex sells, why not just sell it? In one scene, teens giving each other manicures discuss how one girl 'did it around the holidays so she could buy people really good presents.' But nothing is easy — and not just because of the bleak amorality of teens selling themselves. Michele is running tricks off the books, courting serious payback. Chase is dodging one hooker's ill-tempered boyfriend and also trying to outrun an anguished past — 'eight years ago, the gray early morning, July, Bailey's bedroom, the body on the lawn.' And his girlfriend choices carry high stakes. As a ubiquitous billboard reminds him: 'What Kind of Man Are You?' Remarkably, amid the schoolgirl sex and looming violence, the double-crossing and life-changing decisions, 'The Delivery Man' often feels static. McGinnis, who inherited not just the name but the skill of his father, a best-selling true crime writer, keeps tensions mounting in small ways: Julia and Michele squaring off on first meeting, Michele fumbling through business talk with the MBA crowd, and those heartbreaking flashbacks. But Chase is just going around in circles — his Mustang ferrying teens back and forth, his mind returning to that painful past and unpromising future — and it's sometimes hard to separate his inertia from the story's. Still, the novel is, after all, about a group of people destined to go nowhere. And McGinnis charts that aimlessness with insight and dexterity. Dare I say it? 'The Delivery Man' really delivers: grim, convincing and compelling. Art Taylor is a mystery writer whose work has appeared in many publications." Reviewed by Art Taylor, Washington Post Book World (Copyright 2006 Washington Post Book World Service/Washington Post Writers Group)
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"[Y]ou won't be able to get it out of your mind — McGinniss uses his fast-paced, B-movie plotline to explore how the flip side of the American dream can often be an inescapable nightmare....The Delivery Man is that rare first novel that could well become a classic." Peter Bloch, Penthouse
"[A] searing portrait of young wastrels adrift in a vacuous Las Vegas....McGinniss never wavers from his ruthless portrayal of the morally bankrupt, and some readers may be put off by the unlikable characters, but this atmospheric page-turner gains increasing depth as it barrels toward a gut-wrenching conclusion." Booklist
"A gripping literary thriller and an auspicious debut." George Pelecanos
"A dead-of-night story surehandedly told in a pared-down, teeth-bared style reminiscent of Joan Didion — nothing stated but everything implied. This is writing not so much about the what as much as the how in the ungracious space of lives taken as they come in a nightmare Las Vegas that is nevertheless someone's home." Janet Fitch, #1 New York Times bestselling author of White Oleander and Paint It Black
"With no likable characters, it's difficult to know who to root for, which makes the stream of parties, car rides and hotel rooms seem nearly endless." Kirkus Reviews
"Mentor Bret Easton Ellis's influence is apparent, although McGinniss's protagonists are modern members of the lower middle class rather than the affluent and bored of the 1980s. Despite Ellis's alleged hand in getting this work published, it stands on its own." Library Journal
An exhilarating and eye-opening debut novel about today's lost generation, set in Las Vegas amid a teenage call-girl service, with a powerful love story at its heart.
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