SINS OF SOUTH BEACH

THE TRUE STORY OF CORRUPTION, VIOLENCE, MURDER, AND THE MAKING OF MIAMI BEACH

A young mayor is pivotal in the revival of boomtown Miami Beach in the 1980s, all the while indulging his large appetites for money, power and sex.

In this compelling, well-written tell-all novel detailing his own political rise and fall, three-time Mayor of Miami Beach Daoud delivers a steamy story that reads like a cross between Hollywood Babylon and All the King’s Men. Undefeated through 12 years of elections in Miami Beach, Daoud became the city’s first mayor to gain re-election in 20 years and then became the city’s first three-term mayor. His job was officially part-time and certainly small potatoes, as he barely earned a five-figure salary for 60-hour weeks. While overseeing the revitalization of South Beach, lawyer Daoud realized that he possessed a couple valuable commodities: his vote and his influence. He began to sell these assets to local bankers, developers and union bosses. As his first marriage began to dissolve when his wife moved to North Carolina to attend dental school, Daoud discovered that money and power could attract women. Though an adulterer during two marriages, Daoud pushed himself to provide financial support for his mother and his young son. As federal agents closed in on him, he learned that most of his “friends” were only using him, and he eventually faced a 41-count indictment by himself, not wanting to snitch on his co-conspirators. Daoud fought the government in court, where he was ably defended by his attorney, Roy Black. When Daoud could no longer afford the best attorney available, his case began to crumble. Eventually he was found guilty on a handful of counts and sentenced to 63 months in a federal prison, of which he served 18 in various locations due to death threats against him. This compelling story may remind the reader of a Greek tragedy, as the protagonist’s own vices lead to his demise.

 

Pub Date: Nov. 16, 2006

ISBN: 978-1424310784

Page Count: 513

Publisher: Pegasus

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2012

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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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A LITTLE LIFE

Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.

Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.  

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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