Tough-guy memoir reveals what drives an archetypal New York lawyer. It’s also a primer on the machinery that makes Manhattan go.
With some artful help from journalist Lehman, Hayes writes of his rise from “neighborhood white guy” in Queens to prototype for the street-smart lawyer in Bonfire of the Vanities. (Pal Tom Wolfe dubs Hayes “the go-to guy” in his effusive introduction.) Hayes’s academic credits include St. Joan of Arc School, the University of Virginia and Columbia Law; his real-world education came from his despised, drunken father and a job with the Bronx DA. So he was well prepared for a criminal practice where there is “a set of rules outside the rules.” His book-length monologue includes much talk of sexy women and about inflicting hurt on various troublemakers. A knock-around guy with a blue-collar work ethic, Hayes wore Savile Row garments and bespoke shoes while reveling in chaos and danger. His posse included the likes of Anna Wintour, Si Newhouse, George Pataki, Robert De Niro and Daniel Libeskind. His practice clearly depended on three things: connections, connections and connections—and, maybe, availability.
A brag book about criminals, contacts and cordovans.