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The Delivery Man: A Novel [Kindle Edition]

Joe McGinniss Jr.
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)

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Kindle Edition, January 15, 2008 $8.80  
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Book Description

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.


Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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? (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

“A dead-of-night story surehandedly told in a pared-down, teeth-bared style reminiscent of Joan Didion.” –Janet Fitch, author of White Oleander

“[A] flashy, fast-moving debut . . . McGinniss successfully gambles with the notion that whatever happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” —Publishers Weekly

“[A] brisk, bleak debut novel…McGinniss manages to whip the yearning and confusion of the woefully inarticulate Chase into dramatic, even gripping fare….The Delivery Man offers unflinching glimpses at mores in free fall….Searing…Memorable…Not for the faint of heart.” –Ed Park, The New York Times Book Review

“McGinniss offers a fresh take on the seamy side of Vegas by focusing on the wasted lives of burned-out teens hooked on drugs and money. Even CSI doesn’t dig this deep.” —Carol Memmott, USA Today

“It’s sex, drugs, and a slew of lost souls in this engrossing story of a twenty-five-year-old known only as Chase. An out-of-luck wannabe artist, he retreats to his hometown—that being Vegas, a downward spiral ensues, thanks to madams and more….Could The Delivery Man be this decade’s Less Than Zero?” –Marie Claire

“Grim, convincing, and compelling…McGinniss charts [his characters’] aimlessness with insight and dexterity. Dare I say it? The Delivery Man really delivers.” –Art Taylor, The Washington Post

“An insider’s guide to the dark underbelly of twenty-first-century Las Vegas, brimming with brand names, hard bodies, hard drugs, and heavy doses of sex and violence. If that’s all you’re looking for, The Delivery Man won’t disappoint….But once you finish it, you won’t be able to get it out of your mind….The Delivery Man is that rare first novel that could well become a classic.” –Peter Bloch, Penthouse

The Delivery Man is balls-out scary….It’s a world where everyone’s too young and too high, and no one expects to live ‘til thirty….A fast-paced read [that] packs a wallop.” –Courtney Ferguson, Portland Mercury

“A novel of nonstop tension in a landscape so modern, so up to the minute, that you can set your watch by it.” —Craig Nova

“A gripping literary thriller and an auspicious debut.” —George Pelecanos

“Traveling through a Las Vegas no tourist ever sees, The Delivery Man vibrates with heat and fear, sex and heartbreak. This is a fast and terrifying novel—definitely not a ride for the squeamish.” —Jill Eisenstadt, author of From Rockaway

“The Delivery Man is a brutally clear-eyed and beautifully built story that shines a light on Las Vegas’ dark underbelly. In its unforgettable characters, its unflinching examination of a piece of America most of us would like to pretend does not exist, and its probing of the darkest urges of the human psyche, this novel has all the force and authority of top-shelf fiction, and marks the arrival of an important new voice on the American literary scene.” —Roland Merullo, author of In Revere, in Those Days and A Little Love Story

“A brutal portrait of today’s lost generation.” —Publishers Weekly

“Poor Chase: he feels like God’s Lonely Man, all longing and disillusionment, and no one disappoints him more than he disappoints himself. He’s part of a longstanding American tradition of hard guys with soft centers, guys with an exquisitely calibrated sense of their own self-degradation, like one of Bret Easton Ellis’s heroes refracted through Raymond Chandler. The Delivery Man is arresting on the way, in the face of our undoing, we’re inadequate but still culpable, and idealistic but still paralyzed.” —Jim Shepard, author of Love and Hydrogen and Project X

“This is a thrilling debut—a novel about youth wasting itself knowingly against the laid-back, glossy, trademark amorality of Las Vegas, told in a voice that sounds like that of a slightly older, hipper Holden Caulfield, coming of age in a place which has no past or future—only the cool, gleaming, terrifying present. Sexy, touching, always shrewdly observed, and with a killer ending, The Delivery Man is the Less Than Zero of the early 2000s—and the first step in what I am sure will be a remarkable career.” —Michael Korda, author of Another Life and Charmed Lives

“McGinniss never wavers from his ruthless portrayal of the morally bankrupt . . . this atmospheric page-turner gains increasing depth as it barrels toward a gut-wrenching conclusion.” —Booklist

“Impressive . . . What is most striking about this novel is McGinniss’s sense of place. He captures the bright bleakness of the Las Vegas beyond the Strip—the Las Vegas people actually have to live in—with an unpitying eye, a Las Vegas most of the characters loathe but seem incapable of leaving, like chips that can’t be cashed in.” —Robert Cremins, Houston Chronicle

Product Details

  • File Size: 1606 KB
  • Print Length: 287 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0802170420
  • Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Black Cat (January 15, 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001RNP5X6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #475,424 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Does not deliver March 3, 2008
Format:Paperback
Just as Chase, twenty-five year old stymied artist and now teacher at a Las Vegas high school, tells his class, "None of you are going anywhere," so is the case with this book. With his childhood friends, Michele, a sultry Latino, and rich kid Bailey, trying to run a prostitution service out a Las Vegas hotel, even involving high school girls, one would expect an edgy, exotic novel. Or perhaps a highly thoughtful examination of Las Vegas-like culture.

The book has a matter-of-factness feel throughout. Nothing is important. Chase's artistic trials and his failing relationship with his black, MBA girlfriend are not compelling. A high school kid starts a fight with Chase and gets him fired. That barely gets a rise. It the characters don't care, why should the reader.

The book does not flow well; it is more an assemblage of scenes. It is not gritty reality as some would have it. It's more formula than anything. Las Vegas sex - wow - and teenagers, too. The characters are bored and boring.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Addictions of the Vegas Sex World March 8, 2008
By Doug
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a gritty and realistic novel about what it must be like to be young and hooked on the "easy" money of the Vegas sex worker's world of young girls and their male pimp partners. The main character has moved into a more legitimate world of education, art and business, classy future wife, etc., but is pulled into the shallow lifestyle of some of his previous high school girlfriends and friends, to temporarily get by and have somewhere to hang out. But like people who get hooked on drugs, he is pulled into this world gradually, fighting it, and yet it is always clear that he will be unable to pull out of his descent into this hellish world. The sex and drugs are never glamorized. It is clear that they all fall gradually into the pit and then can't get out because the money is good, their lives are clouded by drugs and alcohol and it is the world that they are given.

It would have been a better book if we were left with any hope for any of the characters. Perhaps he's telling us it's like having hope for heroin addicts. Once addicted, it's pretty hard to get out.

The book is pretty compelling, it moved well, had interesting characters and painted a realistic world. In the end, it was a bit too lugubrious for me.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Everyone loves watching the downward spiral May 6, 2008
Format:Paperback
First of all, this book is filthy, pulpy, trashy, voyeuristic, morally ambiguous, violent, and sleazy. The characters are ruthless, unscrupulous, sex-addicted, drug popping, money hungry, reprehensible, irresponsible, dangerous and unpredictable. Yet, we love them because they have the two characteristics that make all sin eminently forgivable. They have youth. They have beauty.

And not one thing else matters. Oh yeah, except for the money.

Add in a character who is supposed to be the moral center of the book's universe and you can just see where this is going to go. But getting there with him is half the fun. Like watching Nicholas Cage drink himself to death, we get to see a talented artist who is in love with a beautiful prostitute try unsuccessfully to get past a tragedy in his life. We get to bear witness to the swath of destruction that he hacks across multiple lives by agreeing to be a part of her savage plans to make big money fast. It doesn't matter that his intentions are good, the fact that he can't quit this poisonous girl will be his destruction. That he is supposed to be the moral center means that his downfall will be swift and terrible.

Only at the end do you see a glimmer of hope, of recreation in the name of hate and revenge. He is finally transformed into something else, a monster with an eye for payback, his youth and his beauty gone but maybe a lesson learned and a hint of the coming revenge...but now I'm getting too close to writing a spoiler, so I'd better stop.

The plot is fast and the book isn't a towering force of literature. It is however a provocative read that will get you through a couple of airport stops or a boring vacation back home.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Joe McGinnis Jr.'s debut novel follows a trio of childhood friends living fast in metropolitan Las Vegas. Narrator Chase is a young high school art teacher clinging to the last vestiges of respectability while a whirlwind of easy money and fast living lures him from the sidelines. Not surprisingly, in the opening chapters of the novel, Chase loses his day job after a fight with a student. He drifts aimlessly, refusing to officially commit to working for his pals Bailey and Michelle in their hotel suite prostitution operation. Nevertheless, he quickly falls into a role as a delivery man, ferrying around high school drop-out call girls in low-slung skinny jeans.

The world created by McGinnis is full of bright lights, easy money, and the temptation of double crossing your posse before they double cross you. The money available in internet escort prostitution is an irresistible temptation to the young girls in Chase's circle. The young adults in The Delivery Man are an exaggeration of a modern celebrity-obsessed MySpace-centric generation. Suburban kids might not form internet prostitution rings, but they share the same aspirations for a life of luxury and leisure.

This is a book about fallen angels and the pull between childhood habits and the potential for a new life. Chase is frustratingly distant as a narrator, which is representative of his own emotional reservations in life. The story is told as a montage of scenes interspersed with flashbacks to an adolescent tragedy. Author Joe McGinnis Jr. has crafted an unflinchingly gritty tale that captures a slice of modern drug-fueled youth culture.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Not quite the inside story it promises to be
Poor! Did not grab my attention and the blurb prmised a look inside Las Vegas. This didn't do it for me.
Published 1 month ago by Simon Burrow
4.0 out of 5 stars So far, so good...
I went to grade school with Joe and wanted to support his writing. Although I'm not thru it yet -- it is a good read.
Published on January 10, 2013 by John R. Cline
2.0 out of 5 stars Catchy Prose yet complete fail
Yet another writer attempts to capture the mystique behind life in Las Vegas. This writer's prose reminds me of Ellis, terse, brutal with a staying quality. Read more
Published on July 18, 2012 by BeatnikBallet
2.0 out of 5 stars This would have been a very strong & exciting novella of 80 pages.
This is clearly the first novel of a graduate writing student. How it got published by a major publishing house is beyond my ken. Read more
Published on April 24, 2012 by R. A. Frauenglas
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping and Gut Wrenching. Very like Bret Easton Ellis
THIS IS NOT A FEEL-GOOD BOOK.

Do not read this if you are feeling depressed or lonely; it will just make you feel worse. It will make you want to cut your wrists. Read more
Published on December 26, 2011 by Penny Swears
4.0 out of 5 stars A Definite Page-Turner
This book is definitely in my top 10 favorites. If you like Ellen Hopkins, you'll absolutely love it. It's an easy read that keeps the reader interested until the very last page. Read more
Published on January 5, 2011 by CarlyQuePasa
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping first novel you will enjoy
What a great first novel; This book was a great read, depressing material for sure as the young people are already so hopeless. but i could NOT put this book down. Read more
Published on August 15, 2010 by D. H. Bowe
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing Read
I picked up this book based on reviews, synopsis, and just basic interest. I struggled to get through the book in its entirety, varying my reading sessions from brief to 1-2 hours. Read more
Published on August 4, 2010 by L. Reedy
5.0 out of 5 stars Spicy. Gripping. Can't wait for more novels from the author.
The story pulled me in immediately. When I had to put it down to go to work I found it difficult to stop thinking about the characters. I couldn't wait to pick it back up. Read more
Published on May 12, 2010 by C. H.
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Raw-- good read though!
The cover of this book initially caught my eye, there was just something about it...

This book is very raw, raunchy, sexual, disturbing, and extremely engrossing. Read more
Published on June 25, 2009 by Megan O'Toole
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