The Delivery Manby Joe McGinniss, Jr.
“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.” –—USA Today
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.
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. Ultra-sophisticated 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.
“The Madonna-whore complex is seldom as well defined as in The Delivery Man, Joe McGinniss Jr.’s 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. . . . Who is to blame for such destructive behavior? The finger pointing leads, unsurprisingly, to the older men who come to Vegas to indulge nightmarishly elaborate desires, accommodated by a surreal environment in which teenagers are marketed on MySpace. . . . Searing . . . Memorable . . . Not for the faint of heart.” —Ed Park, New York Times Book Review
“[A] flashy, fast-moving debut . . . McGinniss successfully gambles with the notion that whatever happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” —Publishers Weekly
“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
“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.” —USA Today
“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
“A gripping literary thriller and an auspicious debut.” —George Pelecanos
“That rare first novel that could well become a classic.” —Penthouse Magazine
“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
“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
“Powerful and compelling, a novel of nonstop tension in a landscape so modern, so up to the minute, that you can set your watch by it. And while it reminds me of Hunter Thompson and Robert Stone, it is also a book by a young writer whose talent is at once fierce and entirely new. Fresh, haunting, the kind of book that keeps you up at night to turn the pages.” —Craig Nova, author of Cruisers and The Good Son
“A brutal portrait of today’s lost generation.” —Publishers Weekly
“The Delivery Man is a brutally clear-eyed and beautifully built story that shines a light on Las Vegas’s 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 dead-of-night story sure-handedly 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
“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
“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
Library Journal‘s Best First Novels of 2007
Chase leans back against the wall and watches a man he’s never seen before come out of the bathroom, a white towel around his waist, clutching a large plastic tube. The man stares at Chase and gives him an uneasy nod. A slap followed by fake laughter comes from the other bedroom as the man with the white towel around his waist slides the door closed behind him. And in the bathroom Chase’s skin is slick and cool and everything is spinning and the shrill ring in his ears that the neurologist says will never go away seems louder than it ever has and when Chase peels the gauze off to change it, the bandage pulls at the stitches and there’s a slight yellowish discharge from his eye socket. When he’s finished replacing the gauze, he slowly shuffles his way past the room where the men and the girls are making fucking sounds and then he’s back in his room in the suite. He leans heavily against the sweeping window. The sky is painfully clear and bright. It’s a late summer sky, Chase thinks to himself, noticing the brown haze creeping into view.
But how can that be when it’s only July? Soon cell phones will start ringing and the men will be calling and then the girls will be fighting for the shower and slathering themselves in body glitter and asking Michele for condoms, extra cash, a ride. And Chase is unemployed and trapped in the suite on the twenty-second floor of the Palace with a girl he just may be in love with even though there had always been a line between them. It was a line Chase drew for a reason. Two months ago, in the spring, crossing that line was unimaginable.