From Roberto Bolaño to Salman Rushdie
Chase, a 25-year-old art school graduate, returns from college to his hometown and through a series of elaborate self-defeating moves finds himself hopelessly embroiled in a job as a “delivery man” (driver and protector) for a ring of teenage outcall hookers working from the Versailles Palace Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Chase’s childhood friend, Michele, a beautiful Salvadoran immigrant with whom he shares an extraordinarily tragic past, runs the business for mutual friend Bailey, another foolish underachiever whose business skills are too limited even for the sex trade. A harrowing journey set in the suburbs and exurbs of Las Vegas, this debut novel by Joe McGinniss, Jr. provides a snapshot from hell of a contemporary youth culture in full cardiac arrest, children forced to become adults all too soon, compelled to absorb childhood traumas and adolescent catastrophes in a quiet and understated way until the whole bloody mess comes boiling to the surface in anarchic, anti-social behavior. Stephen King has nothing on Joe McGinniss, Jr. with this single line of dialogue on page 265 guaranteed to send chills up the spine of any warm-blooded mammal: “Oh, dude, you’re so fucked.” Rodger Jacobs
The Delivery Man
Joe McGinniss, Jr.
There is a sub-genre that is on the upswing in the world of book publishing. That would be the superhero novel. The themes and concepts typically found in the four-colored world of comic books have made their way in the decidedly un-graphic pages of books. Now, the superhero novel has received its standard bearer, the one novel all others in the sub-genre will be compared to. That novel is Devil’s Cape by Rob Rogers. The key to success in any novel, but especially genre fiction, is to create a believable world with realistic characters. The situations can be fantastic, but there has to be an element of truth there. Devil’s Cape is a town in Louisiana, just a few miles away from New Orleans. The town was founded by pirates and, today, the bad guys rule in Devil’s Cape. Pity any superhero who dares try to fight them. If they can’t kill you, they’ll kill your family. If you don’t have a family, they’ll find someone close to you to kill, whatever it takes for them to keep their power over you – and the city. Rogers creates a vivid and vibrant world from whole cloth which seems like it truly can exist right outside your window. And that is what makes this book so successful. Devil’s Cape is a quick read in the best sense of the word. It is truly difficult to put down. It proudly deserves a place next to Tom Clancy and Stephen King as a sterling example of the best of genre fiction. Even if you don’t like superheroes, you are bound to be captivated by Devil’s Cape. William Gatevackes
(Wizards of the Coast Discoveries)
Mary Doria Russell’s briskly-paced novel gets itself past a rather elaborate and hard-to-believe setup with aplomb, and everything that follows after that is worth that initial vault of suspending disbelief. Agnes Shanklin is an Ohio teacher of calm and modest bearing (bordering on spinsterhood) whose existence is upended when she loses her entire family to the 1919 flu epidemic. Shorn of much of her care about the old life, and newly possessed of monies and introductions to important people in the Middle East (via her sister’s missionary work), Agnes ends up traveling to Egypt. This just so happens to be the perfect setting for Russell to have her character get chummy with the likes of Winston Churchill (funny and rude, obsessed with painting) and T. E. Lawrence (mysterious and droll) just as the British are getting set to reshape the entire region for the coming century. Between the cocktail parties, spies, and the momentous backdrop of events, Russell’s novel almost tilts into a pastiche of historical fiction, but is saved by her crystal-clear writing and a shocking denouement that turns everything upside down. Prescient, sharp-tongued, and funny, with a tart warning for the future. Chris Barsanti
Dreamers of the Day
Mary Doria Russell
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"Osmon lights the oil lamps on the process of Molina’s creative wonder, from toddling on the shores of Lake Erie to the indie folk pedestal he so deservedly sits upon today.READ the article