Deviant Behavior

Deviant Behavior

by Mike Sager
     
 

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Jonathan Seede is the picture of Washington, DC, respectability, an urban pioneer with a pretty wife, a new baby, and a job at the town’s most esteemed newspaper. But ten blocks from the White House, on the notorious Fourteenth Street strip, a war is raging over deviant behavior. And Seede is on the front lines, deep into a secret freelance project that’

Overview

Jonathan Seede is the picture of Washington, DC, respectability, an urban pioneer with a pretty wife, a new baby, and a job at the town’s most esteemed newspaper. But ten blocks from the White House, on the notorious Fourteenth Street strip, a war is raging over deviant behavior. And Seede is on the front lines, deep into a secret freelance project that’s taking him to places where most people would never dare to go.

As he descends into an inferno of repressed urges and human frailties, Seede’s journey plays out against a brilliantly realized portrait of the nation’s capital, featuring pimps and hustlers, an accidental hooker, an honest cop, a storefront prophet/marijuana dealer, a beautiful teenage runaway, a crack-addicted music legend, an A-list gay activist, and a diminutive billionaire who is searching for the answers to life’s greatest questions in a crystal skull. The first novel from best-selling journalist Mike Sager, Deviant Behavior is a mad, vivid, and daring romp through a society in crisis, and the story of what happens when one frustrated father decides to Just Say Yes.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Sager blends a magnified slice of urban subculture in late 1980s-early '90s Washington, D.C., with a subplot about powerful mystical artifacts. Washington Heraldreporter, reluctant new father, "urban pioneer" and druggie Jonathan Seede is working on a book that subverts the Just Say No movement. Things hit a snag when his main source, the Pope of Pot, a "do-gooder" dealer who only sells primo pot, gets framed by dirty cops for dealing coke. One of the pope's possessions-a crystal skull rumored to have magical powers-ends up in the hands of a runaway who finds shelter in Seede's house. Other characters, like pimp Jamal Alfred and Salem, one of Jamal's girls with a shady past, contribute to the sleazy milieu and provide entrée to the wealthy Bert Metcalfe, who has designs on the crystal skull. Though the supernatural elements are unfortunately muted, Sager studs his dark D.C. tale with sharp observations and an addictive neo-noir sensibility. (Apr.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Kirkus Reviews
The lives of pimps, hustlers and other "deviant" denizens crisscross and eventually intersect on the mean streets of Washington, D.C. Jonathan Seede, reporter for the Washington Herald, wakes up one morning to find his wife and infant son have fled, perhaps because for him fatherhood has never been a high priority. To a friend he rants about his wife's expectations that he be supportive: " What about my needs, you know what I'm saying?...There's no me anymore. I have ceased to exist in my own house." Seede tries to find meaning by getting down and dirty in the drug culture of D.C. His work on a freelance piece brings him in contact with the inhabitants of the Fourteenth Street Strip. These include the Pope of Pot, who is as intellectually brilliant as he is socially maladapted (he passes out joints to those waiting in line to tour the White House); prostitutes with names like China Doll, Razor Sally and Titty Bitty; a gay social activist; a gorgeous teenage runaway (a "Korean-Lithuanian-African-American-French-Native Indian Jew with no mother"); an eccentric billionaire preoccupied with philosophical answers only a Mayan crystal skull can provide; and a cop who, refreshingly, is not cynical. Seede eventually gets rather too close to his work and begins freebasing cocaine, so you might say that his objectivity as a reporter becomes compromised. Just when he's strung out to the max, his wife and kid reappear, and he tries to justify his behavior by claiming how "prohibition and sublimation are detrimental to a healthy life. How, if you don't satisfy your needs . . . you end up with big problems."Sager (Revenge of the Donut Boys, 2007, etc.) bounces readers from one subnarrative to another,and his attempt to wring a happy ending from these materials ultimately strikes a false note. Agent: Mollie Glick/Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780802170484
Publisher:
Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date:
04/11/2008
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
6.72(w) x 8.52(h) x 0.82(d)

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