THE COST OF LIVING by David Dorsey


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 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)

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-670-87471-X
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Viking
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 1997