THE GOOD LIFE by Keith Scribner


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A mean-spirited debut based on the real-life kidnaping of a New Jersey Exxon executive that took place a few years back. Theo and Colleen Wolkoviak are both dreamers. Whether this means they—re deluded imbeciles or victims of a heartless age will depend on your point of view, of course, but the fact is that they are about the only ones alive who can—t decipher the handwriting that spells “LOSERS” on the wall they—re trying to scale. New Jersey kids both, Theo is the son of a small-town cop, while Colleen is from a “good” family and has pretensions of the Good Life. In fact, she ends up working for a home-products outfit called GoodLife (read: Amway) after her travel agency goes under and Theo is dismissed—by his own father—from the police force for excessive use of violence. The two are forced to declare bankruptcy, and their condominium in Hilton Head is repossessed. Theo’s dream is to get back to Hilton Head and own a yacht club; Colleen’s is to live in France and hobnob with the Rainiers. But things are rough in the early 1990s, and their daughter Tiffany’s anorexia therapy is bleeding them dry. So, Theo comes up with a plan to kidnap Stone Brown, CEO of the Petrochem Corporation, and keep him in a coffin until his company forks over $18.5 million in unmarked twenties. Colleen sees nothing wrong with the plan—after all, she’s finally allowed herself to see that she deserves $18.5 million’so they set the sting and pull off the caper. Problem is, the airholes in the coffin aren—t big enough and Brown dies. Oops! Well, what can you expect from a couple of social-climbing suburbanites, anyway? Obvious, annoying, snooty: Scribner’s prose (—No one gets as far as he had without unbridled ambition—) is as lifeless as his characters—and his characters would seem flat even in a comic book.

Pub Date: Oct. 11th, 1999
ISBN: 1-57322-143-0
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Riverhead
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 1999


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