THE VIPS by Scott Poulson-Bryant


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Four friends from the 1980s get jarringly reacquainted when rap artist TNT gathers them together in his penthouse apartment and demands to know which one is his daddy.

The narrative moves back and forth between the summer of 1983 and the summer of 2007, the year TNT tries to discover the secret of his paternity, as well as to several years in between as the self-styled VIPs grow up and become wildly successful. Duke, the only “white boy” in the group, is a football star at Syracuse and plays professional ball (and earns two Super Bowl rings) with the Washington Redskins. Foster child Joey makes it big in the fashion world by developing a hit line of clothing, while Leo, scion of a wealthy family that own CoCo skin-care products, struggles with his homosexuality, falling first for Joey and then for Pete, first his roomie at Yale and later a rock star. The fourth member of the pack is Barry, the hardscrabble son of a hateful man who manicures the estates of the wealthy black community in Sag Harbor, Long Island. Complicating the mixture is the ever-present Carla, whose sexy come-ons lure any number of willing adolescent boys. Throughout the novel, Poulson-Bryant teases us by withholding the identity of TNT’s father and by providing bewildering explanations of other paternities as well. It also turns out that someone with a secret is also stalking TNT. Ultimately, nothing is as it appears—though by this time we’re pretty much beyond caring.

Hip, flimsy fiction.


Pub Date: July 5th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-7679-2974-5
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Broadway
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2011


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