GIN LANE by James Brady


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Tedium in excelsis as Advertising Age and Parade columnist Brady extends his line of novels about wealthy Long Islanders begun with Further Lane (1997). Earlier, Brady entertained with elaborate sketches of New York worlds of high fashion, the press, and publishing, his vignettes jam-packed with dropped names and celebrity twits. This time, we find him moving from East Hampton’s Further Lane and the Maidstone Club to Southampton’s great walled houses and the elegance of Gin Lane and its stuffy Meadow Club. Still narrating is Beecher Stowe IV, a journalist whose head is crammed with more local lore than could interest even the most inbred native. Reading the present novel is like sorting through a landfill of glittering bitchery and rubbish poured from a motormouth whose brain is chockablock with gossip columns. The story tells of a barbed and raspy Don Imus—like morning chat-show host, Leicester “Cowboy” Dils, who moves onto Gin Lane only to win many snobbish enemies with the vaunting scope of his gauche Gatsbyesque longing for diehard gentleman status. Recently, his wit has also drawn the blood of the POTUS (President of the United States) regarding the P’s dalliances. And--ahh!--the POTUS is about to visit Gin Lane. When Dils goes out for a midnight run, someone tries to kill him with a black Rolls-Royce. When that fails, an attempt with a golf cart nearly works. Could these nasty tricks have anything to do with superbillionaire of broadcasting Roger Champion, 80 and impotent, who is Dils’s boss and lives down the lane with Dils’s ex-gir1friend, former actress Slim Norris Champion, 40? Is Champion’s backing of a racetrack scheme with sleazy Wyseman Clagett tied in somehow with his outrage at Cowboy Dils? Not up to Nelson DeMille’s vastly more focused The Gold Coast, which details a similar Fitzgeraldian legend. But Brady fans litter the landscape, and may disagree.

Pub Date: June 19th, 1998
ISBN: 0-312-18579-0
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 1998


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