Books by David Dorsey

THE COST OF LIVING by David Dorsey
Released: Aug. 1, 1997

Dorsey's (The Force, 1994) fiction debut is a slick fable about the increasingly high cost of realizing the American dream. One typically hectic day, Rich Cahill (an overworked, underpaid account executive at a midsized ad agency in Rochester, New York) and his 12-year old son Alec are caught up in a holdup at their local McDonald's. While Rich (who's relieved of his wallet in the confusion) gets a good look at the all-black crew of bandits, he's curiously reluctant to cooperate with the police. A county cop nonetheless nabs one of the gang, a teenage athlete named Will Breedlove. The cop prevails on Rich to cooperate in an informal rehabilitation project that has Will tutoring an enthusiastic Alec on the finer points of basketball. Before long, Rich is being financially enticed by Eugene Price, the man who staged the fast- food robbery as a rite of passage for young hoods eager to work for his upstate drug dealership. At the same time, he's under round- the-clock pressure on a job that has yet to earn him rewards commensurate with his efforts. Nor is his crowded home a refuge for him (he's the product of a dysfunctional family from the wrong side of the tracks). Indeed, after ferrying their two kids about, he and Meg, his art-gallery-owner wife, scarcely have a moment for each other. Rich agrees to run a one-shot errand for Price, which nets him money enough to build his dream house in a tonier neighborhood. At the close, a confident and independent Rich is considering an offer from the savvy Price (now completely out of the narcotics trade) to join him in a legitimate, lucrative venture involving ethnic radio stations. A well-told tale that works both as a suspenseful and cautionary take on unfamiliar forms of white-collar crime and as an absorbing account of the suburban life and its discontents. (Author tour) Read full book review >
THE FORCE by David Dorsey
HISTORY
Released: May 18, 1994

Freelance journalist Dorsey offers an unsparingly detailed account of a year-long span in the professional lives of a four- man/three-woman group of high-caste hucksters who work out of Xerox Corp.'s district office in Cleveland. The author's thoroughly absorbing take suggests David Mamet and Arthur Miller may have pulled their punches. Dorsey's resonant title alludes not only to the seven-member major-accounts team headed by Fred Thomas, one of 67 regional sales operations, but also to the ultraconfident state of mind that can make a salesperson feel ``like an athlete playing in the zone.'' On the evidence of the author's anecdotal narrative—which follows Thomas and his crew as they attend staff meetings, take to heart the do-better lectures of superiors, call on clients, party among themselves, and entertain prospective machine buyers or lessors in carriage-trade watering holes—angst is the tie that binds sales reps at Xerox (and, in all likelihood, other major enterprises). Thomas, for example, worries constantly about meeting or exceeding budgeted revenue quotas, in large measure to win the approval of a manic boss he respects, while his materialistic subordinates fret about their commissions and such carrot/stick rewards as a three- day trip to Palm Springs. At a minimum, fear of failure appears to keep them focused, and they're obviously prepared to do whatever it takes to reach designated objectives. As it happens, a psyched-up Fred & Co. succeed in engineering enough consents to achieve virtually all individual and collective goals by year-end, albeit at no small cost to their personal relationships and peace of mind. At the close, most make the California cut, gain promotions, and otherwise get on with their rat-race careers. An acutely observed slice of commercial life that's consistently engrossing and ultimately depressing. Come May 18, Xerox Corp. could have second thoughts about the carte blanche given Dorsey. (First serial to Esquire; Fortune Book Club selection) Read full book review >