Money Wanders: A Novel

Money Wanders: A Novel

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by Eric Dezenhall
     
 

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Jonah Eastman, disgraced Presidential pollster, is summoned home to Atlantic City by his ailing grandfather Mickey Price--a legendary Atlantic City gangster and owner of the Golden Prospect casino. When Mickey dies, Jonah is "persuaded" by mob boss Mario Vanni to help improve his image by launching a misinformation campaign aimed at gaining public acceptance and

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Overview

Jonah Eastman, disgraced Presidential pollster, is summoned home to Atlantic City by his ailing grandfather Mickey Price--a legendary Atlantic City gangster and owner of the Golden Prospect casino. When Mickey dies, Jonah is "persuaded" by mob boss Mario Vanni to help improve his image by launching a misinformation campaign aimed at gaining public acceptance and ultimately a way "outta the life."

So Jonah goes to war through a comical and audacious manipulation of the media which includes online rumoring, exploiting romantic myths of the mob, and orchestrating a union-backed pseudo-vigil after Vanni is arrested. To pull off these stunts, he enlists the help of his grandfather's Prohibition-era cronies, pimply-faced hackers, a disgruntled Secret Service agent, a cagey Washington lobbyist, a slick Philadelphia publicist, and a street-fighting rabbi.

Money Wanders is a wild and uproarious tour of spin and media manipulation from the lobbied halls of Congress to the dilapidated boardwalk of Atlantic City.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Beltway spin doctor Dezenhall (Nail `Em! Confronting High-Profile Attacks on Celebrities and Businesses) tries his hand at fiction with this comic caper about a Jewish pollster put to work for an aging South Jersey/Philly Mafia don. Middle-aged Jonah Eastman, a D.C. spin doctor for hire whose business is in the doldrums, is summoned back to his Jersey home by his ailing grandfather Mickey, an old-school Jewish capo for the local Cosa Nostra kingpin, Mario Vanni. Mickey's cryptic deathbed missive to his nervous grandson directs Jonah to take on the don as a client (Vanni needs a fast image makeover in order to qualify for an Atlantic City casino license "To be a gangster anymore is an acid trip. There's nothin' left in the life but the fantasies about the life") and gives Jonah a veiled hint about some buried Jewish treasure long hidden from the Italians. Rallying support from a PR colleague, Mickey's Jewish gangsters (one memorably named "Irv the Curve") and a teenage hacker (nicknamed "Dorkus"), Jonah launches a massive disinformation campaign intended to paint Vanni as a pillar of the community. Along the way, Jonah manages to fall in love with a klezmer musician at Mickey's funeral, tick off Vanni's psychopathic consigliere (incongruously named "Noel") and become probably the only pollster to set up shop inside a giant roadside elephant. Mixing light comedy with a nostalgic look at the Jersey shore and the days when the mishpocha and the paisani were kinsmen, if uneasy ones, Dezenhall's debut is a breezy alternative to The Sopranos and shows that with the right press, even savages can be saints. (Feb.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Money may wander but attention never strays in this comic debut. Dezenhall (Nail' Em! Confronting High-Profile Attacks on Celebrities and Businesses, not reviewed) nimbly skewers the Internet, journalists, politicians, and public relations spinmeisters and their power to dupe huge numbers of people. He starts with p.r. rep Jonah Eastman, a Beltway pollster, who takes on client Mario Vanni, an Atlantic City mob boss who seeks to clean up his reputation and so snare a casino license. Probing focus groups to find out what issues might move people to back the don of the Jersey Shore, Eastman hears them speak poignantly about fears of local crime. He thereby creates DELVAC (Delaware Valley Anticrime Coalition) and gives it a Web site, which he uses to boost Vanni's image as a family guy who wants to keep drug-dealers away from his kids. Eastman boldly fakes a scene, viewable on the site, of two thugs beating up a drug-dealer, who is really an actor from a Wilmington theater troupe. Also on the site, Eastman creates a "Flackenstein," a nonexistent druglord named "Automatic Bart." "Evanjournalists" (reporters who "don't check . . . just run with whatever sounds good") parlay the Net information into news stories that suggest antidrug Vanni ordered hits on Bart's dealers. Soon the carefully groomed, thoroughly rehearsed, periodically Xanexed Mr. Vanni, his popularity soaring, goes to Washington to tell a congressional committee what to do about crime. Stunned silence, which Eastman terms "antiapplause," greets Vanni's nuanced performance. Vanni gets the license. Eastman, himself the grandson of a mafiosi, is left wondering about his own character. His nice, fuzzy romance with a musician from NewJersey (in this treatment, a place of charm) and his keen sense of good and bad people (and their use and abuse of the King's English) suggest he's a guy with depth. Thoughtful, unpretentious, filled with laugh-out-loud funny scenes and delightfully realized characters. Place your bets on this winner.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781429972949
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
02/14/2003
Sold by:
Macmillan
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
320
File size:
421 KB

Meet the Author

Eric Dezenhall is the co-founder of Nichols-Dezenhall Communications Management Group, one of the nation's leading crisis management firms, and is the author of Nail 'Em! Confronting High Profile Attacks on Celebrities and Businesses (Prometheus Books, 1999). He lives in Bethesda, MD. Money Wanders is his first novel.


Eric Dezenhall co-founded the communications firm Dezenhall Resources, Ltd., and serves as its CEO. His first book of nonfiction, Nail ‘Em!: Confronting High-Profile Attacks on Celebrities and Business, pioneered techniques for understanding and defusing crises. The author novels such as Jackie Disaster, The Devil Himself and Spinning Dixie, he lives in the Washington, D.C. area.

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Money Wanders 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I normally don't read fiction, but a friend highly recommended 'Money Wanders' as a terrific read. (Both of us are fans of The Sopranos on HBO.) I'm glad I listened to him. This novel is funny, intelligent and entertaining, with a few unforgettable characters thrown in for good measure. Just like The Sopranos. And, at $20, 'Money Wanders' is a lot cheaper than a year's subscription to HBO. Now there's an offer you can't refuse.