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The Deed: A Novel Paperback – July 1, 2004

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A missing 17th-century deed to the island of Manhattan has a young advertising executive, a pretty law student and a couple of mobsters in a tailspin in Blanchard's featherweight debut novel. Twenty-three-year-old Jason Hansvoort, a grunt at an advertising firm (he's currently working on a campaign for "Hair Peace," a toupee that's "supposed to soothe itchy scalps and provide an appetizing `wet look'"), is approached by a mysterious, sexy-voiced law student named Amanda. Her research has led her to believe that Jason is the last living descendant of a Dutch family that was deeded the island of Manhattan centuries ago-in other words, Jason stands to inherit the mother lode. The proof is in an ancient scroll, hidden somewhere in the city. Is all this for real? After much skepticism, Jason indulges the possibility of a potential windfall-but first, he has to find the document. Two stereotypically slapstick mobster goons with big casino plans are hot to find the deed as well. A treasure map, a graveyard, a charming if fairly tame romantic interlude and a showdown in the shadow of Lady Liberty drive the quest to its somewhat anticlimactic finale. The premise is silly and the resolution much sillier, but Maxim magazine editor-in-chief Blanchard is on solid ground depicting the worldly routine of contemporary New Yorkers and the inner life of a male in his early 20s. He keeps the pace fast and the dialogue light and mildly amusing, though not quite razor-sharp. The babe quota is relatively low, but Maxim readers should enjoy this literary confection anyway.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Jason Hansvoort lives an all-too-common 20-something existence: he has an unfulfilling job at an uncaring corporation, too many evenings spent in bars with friends, and a string of one-night stands to his credit, but very little direction in life. Then the beautiful Amanda, a Native American law student, finds him and tells him he may stand to inherit Manhattan Island if a 350-year-old deed can be found. Suddenly Jason finds himself with two goals worthy of pursuing. Despite the implausible premise, Blanchard's first novel does make for entertaining reading. The natural "what if" line of thought and the presence of scheming mobsters inspire a degree of suspense in the reader's mind; however, the story focuses on the search, the effort to connect the genealogical dots, and the unfolding relationship between the two main characters, leaving one with the feeling that parts of the novel were perhaps underdeveloped. While not destined to become an instant classic, it is nevertheless a respectable offering and a fairly quick read. Gavin Quinn
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Reprint edition (July 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 074325628X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743256285
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,228,802 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 3, 2003
Format: Hardcover
The most positive thing that can be said about Keith Blanchard's debut novel THE DEED is the fact that he hits one out of the park when it comes to writing about New York City. Although the novel seems a bit sophomoric at times, Blanchard, editor-in-chief of Maxim magazine, also does a solid job in bringing to life his story's protagonist, Jason Hansvort.
Set in 1999 in Manhattan, before the horrific terrorist attacks of September 11th, Jason is struggling with his career in a top ad agency. He doubts himself, he doubts his career choice and he especially doubts the current product he's supposed to be peddling. But Jason, fortunately, is a direct descendent of Pieter Hansvoort. And so Blanchard's novel tries to convince the reader that somewhere there is a deed that, after over 400 years since the Manahatas sold the city that never sleeps to Dutch settlers, will rightfully allow Jason to claim his long lost inheritance.
The deed becomes known to Jason after he receives a mysterious phone call from Amanda, a gorgeous Native American lawyer who is determined to find the Hansvoort descendent, even though his name has been shortened throughout the centuries. Jason is skeptical at first, but after his boss gets removed from the ad agency, Jason walks after a hilarious spat with his autocratic supervisor Diana and the cat-and-mouse chase for the deed really heats up.
Blanchard not only possesses the fine ability to translate the history behind the discovery of Manhattan, he also does yeoman's work in describing the sale of the island and the effect it had after the Manahata people sold it to the Dutch. The novel's prologue begins in New Netherland (New York City) in 1643.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By R. Spell VINE VOICE on April 4, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a very light mystery novel built around different type characters than the normal police, detective or CIA agent. A young struggling ad exec is approached by a Native American, attractive attorney-to-be with very mysterious questions. While trying to overcome his attraction to her he learns her secret. Her heritage and legal background puts her in the unique position of knowing that he may be the rightful heir to all Manhattan.

Now, isn't this the type fantasy we would all like to dream about? Well, except if you are in the title insurance business of course. The novel becomes a light trip through this fantasy, the past history of Manhattan, and the growing relationship between the two main characters.

This is an enjoyable, light read for the beach or a plane trip across country. Not really breaking new ground but an excellent idea for a first time novelist.
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By Hoot on June 27, 2003
Format: Hardcover
After reading this I was reminded of both, "The Nanny Diaries" and Jack Finney's New York time travel book, "Time and Again." The Deed is a snarky read and the idea of a young ad exec becoming the sole owner of Manhattan is intriguing. It will keep you amused for a couple of days. I'll be interested to see what Blanchard comes up with next.
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