THE DEED by Keith Blanchard


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Another reason why magazine editors should avoid writing books.

Blanchard is currently editor-in-chief of Maxim, and if there hasn’t previously been any indication that stewarding that particular lads’ publication has done critical damage to his writing abilities, his debut novel is evidence enough. In present-day New York (of course), twentysomething lad (of course) Jason Hansvoort is working for a Madison Avenue ad company and trying to make a winning campaign out of an awful hair-loss product called “Hair Peace.” One day after narrowly getting run over (surviving surely fatal accidents is one of his trademarks), he’s approached by Amanda, a hot, young (of course) law student who’s also one of the last of the Native American tribe that once owned the island of Manhattan. According to her, Jason is the last descendent of an old Dutch family who were deeded the entire island in the 17th century when it was “purchased” from Amanda’s ancestors. Not surprisingly, Jason has a hard time believing the news that he’s now the owner of all of Manhattan. But, since he’s got a thing for Amanda, he plays along with her quest for the ancient document that will prove his ownership. Since this is the kind of book that strives constantly for wacky invention, a number of wacky Italian-American characters are introduced who (of course) turn out to be in the Mafia. They apparently want to open a casino on Native American land and need to get their hands on the same document. All of this is related in a dull manner laced with painfully unfunny comic interludes.

What a Christopher Buckley might have done with this scenario, or how far he might have taken it, we’ll never know. But as it stands, The Deed is a monument to lazy writing and cliché-mongering.

Pub Date: March 4th, 2003
ISBN: 0-7432-2387-X
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 2002