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The Delivery Man Paperback – 1 Jul 2008

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Product details

  • Paperback: 276 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Books (1 July 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1843547317
  • ISBN-13: 978-1843547310
  • Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 21.4 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 290,951 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Could The Delivery Man be this decade's Less Than Zero? -- Marie Claire (US)

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

The Delivery Man is one of the most powerful novels by a young writer I've read in years. -- Bret Easton Ellis

The Delivery Man offers unflinching glimpses at social mores in free fall... Searing... Memorable... Not for the faint of heart. -- New York Times

About the Author

Joe McGinniss Jr lives in Washington, DC. This is his first novel.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I read this on the back of a glowing appraisal uploaded from Bret Easton Ellis' Twitter account. Sure enough, Bret Easton Ellis was quoted on the blurb as well.

The book was okay. There are some memorable characters and the storyline is certainly engaging (sorry to use a cliche, burt definitely one to be filed under 'page-turner').

The book moves to an apocalyptic drumbeat, with an ever-closer sense of fear and dread growing throughout.

I even don't mind the style of writing, which on reading reviews on Amazon and other websites, seems to be the main collective gripe with the book. The flashbacks are interesting, the story is not clearly-lineated and the chronology is constantly shifting. What I did mind about this was the fact the author italicized any flashbacks.

The reason I can only give it three stars is from the first three words the book sounds like Bret Easton Ellis fan fiction. The book starts, "FIND YOURSELF HERE" which is a quite obvious doff of the hat to the mantra of Less Than Zero, "Disappear Here".

The protagonists share similar names to typical Ellis characters: Chase, Hunter, Bailey being similar to the names in Less than Zero such as Clay, Blair and Julian.

And there are even similarities in the writing. McGinniss will write something along the lines of: "And Hunter's looking at his phone while Brandi playfully laughs at him with her low-cut top and tight denim shorts and Chase can't avert his eyes and he stares at Brandi's tan legs and 50 Cent plays over the stereo system".

Overall, it's an okay effort for a first novel but McGinniss needs to find his own voice. If I wanted to read an Ellis novel I'd buy the real thing. I would recommens reading it as the story is certainly engaging.
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By Stephen Leith on 24 July 2013
Format: Paperback
Really, really loved this book. Everybody talks about how similar it is to Less Than Zero, which let's be honest, it is. But that's not such a bad thing. He takes the template of LTZ, but really makes it more contemporary and atmospheric. Chase is a great character, complex and interesting. Loved it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 30 reviews
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Does not deliver 3 Mar. 2008
By J. Grattan - Published on
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.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
The Addictions of the Vegas Sex World 9 Mar. 2008
By Doug - Published on
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.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Everyone loves watching the downward spiral 7 May 2008
By Lost High Guey - Published on
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. It has good twists and insight into a world that we all hear about but that most of us won't ever really know. It promises Nabokov but delivers Tarantino, which isn't so bad.

I will say this though, the book had one scene that I thought was amazing, the insult (read also truth) game! That Chase essentially gets one chance to tell Michelle how he feels about her and what he ACTUALLY tells her...WOW! I almost dropped the book. That kind of honesty will get Joe McGinniss somewhere and soon. The book is shallow, gritty and compelling which begs the question, who do you get to play Chase in the movie? Who do you get to play Bailey, Michelle, Julia and Carly? Personally, I can't wait for one of my friends to read this book so I can have this discussion with them.
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Life lesson: you might as well double cross your own posse before they double cross you 1 April 2008
By Jessica Lux - Published on
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.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
What Less than Zero was for LA in the 80s for Vegas now 23 April 2008
By J. Bender - Published on
Format: Paperback
Captures perfectly a sad emotionally desolate world of Vegas teenagers and 20-somethings who can't see the world outside their own. Fast short book, spare prose, an interesting and, for the most part, likable main character.

What I liked about the book: As Y. Jarrells pointed out in an earlier review, I just can't get certain scenes out of my mind. Days after finishing the book, I'm still reliving them. Plus McGinnis Jr has a real way with words. At certain points, I could actually feel the Vegas sun beating down on the pavement. Finally, I'm a big fan of the grittier non-traditional ending.

What I didn't like about the book: The ending was non-traditional but it also wasn't particularly "strong." I find myself thinking more of scenes from the beginning and middle of the book. The substory with the main character's sister is also a bit of a letdown, since it's a story that we've seen way too many times. Finally, the writing wasn't quite as polished as it could have been. Some of the dialogue was choppy making the plot confusing at times. I almost felt like I needed to read it again (and I hope it's not a slight on my intelligence!)

Finally, I can't review this book without comparing it to Less than Zero which is its closest counterpart. Less than Zero was more obvious in its bleakness. Its world of rich unloved LA characters was more depressing but also less relatable (despite the fact I grew up in the burbs of LA!). Whereas I feel like I've at least met all the characters in The Delivery Man at least once in my life. Of course, none of my acquaintances were 16 year old hookers but therein lays the reason why the book is such a pitch-perfect ode to the whole Vegas scene where the skin trade is so prevalent. However, Less than Zero is the better book by far and I think the reason is because Bret Easton Ellis actually was an LA rich kid who lived the life, whereas McGinnis never did (which is implied by his bio and acknowledgements). I have no doubt that McGinnis based his characters on morally destitute people he knew (similar to my own acquaintances) but there were times when it didn't ring 100% true.
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