Shining City: A Novel

Shining City: A Novel

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by Seth Greenland
     
 

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When Marcus Ripps inherits the escort service operated by his derelict brother, he has no idea what hes getting into. Hes much too philosophical, honest, and hard-working to be a pimp, and yet before long, hes able to pay off his creditors, revitalize his marriage, get a new BMW, and give his son a bar mitzvah hell never forget. The only question now is: can he keep

Overview

When Marcus Ripps inherits the escort service operated by his derelict brother, he has no idea what hes getting into. Hes much too philosophical, honest, and hard-working to be a pimp, and yet before long, hes able to pay off his creditors, revitalize his marriage, get a new BMW, and give his son a bar mitzvah hell never forget. The only question now is: can he keep this business going long enough to change his life? Or will the cops get to him first?
A wild, satiric, insightful, and hysterical romp, Shining City is an L.A. adventure that will keep you guessing to the very end.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Greenland's uproarious second novel (after The Bones ) follows the manifold ups and downs of Marcus Ripps, an unemployed and ill-fated altruist who inherits from his estranged brother an escort service run out of a Hollywood dry cleaning shop. Burdened by mounting debt and his chilly wife, Jan, and concerned that he won't be able to pay for his son's bar mitzvah, Marcus decides to become a pimp. With assistance from Kostya, his brother's former bodyguard, Marcus not only keeps the business afloat, he improves it and offers the prostitutes health insurance and retirement plans. After a john dies handcuffed to a bed, Marcus enlists Jan's help to dump the body. Eager to work with her husband, Jan joins the company, a move that improves their marriage and business, as the Smart Tarts (as Jan names the service) becomes a Web-based cash cow. (Even Jan's ailing mother gets involved.) Things turn around for the Ripps, but trouble comes when a rival pimp threatens Marcus's life. Despite some predictable plot twists and the requisite Hollywood ending, Greenland's novel is entertaining and intelligent, and packed with enough hooks (and hookers) to keep readers sucked in to the last page. (July)

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Kirkus Reviews
Rarely do novels that are so ruthlessly satiric have such a warm heart. In his second novel on the mores of Los Angeles (The Bones, 2005), playwright and screenwriter Greenland achieves a deft balance between the preposterous and the plausible, recognizing that what often seems like the former to the rest of the country is business as usual in the land of show biz and breast implants. The prologue launches the narrative with a comic death, as a fat man emerges from a hot tub with two prostitutes, after performing "an aquatic Kama Sutra," and suffers a fatal heart attack. The novel then shifts to his younger brother Marcus, who seems to be almost as much of a saint as his brother was a sinner, and who has been estranged from his brother for years. Yet virtue plainly hasn't proven to be its own reward for Marcus, whose wife has no interest in having sex with him, and who owes his livelihood to a boyhood friend whose avaricious instincts have made him extremely wealthy. Like a good news/bad news joke, Marcus receives the word that his employer is shifting its manufacturing to China, just as he learns that his brother has died and left him his dry-cleaning business. Yet this isn't just any dry-cleaning business, for the Shining City is a front for one of the leading escort services in West Hollywood, thus turning Marcus into a most unlikely pimp. The comedy intensifies as Marcus stops hiding his new occupation and learns how eager family and friends are to participate in the enterprise, since prostitution isn't really that much of a departure from the values by which so many of them support themselves and lead their lives. One character's adage that "[t]he world is made up of masters andslaves" proves hilariously prophetic in this novel about a "Family-values" pimp. Film rights to Warner Bros. Agent: Henry Dunow/Dunow, Carlson & Lerner

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781608196500
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
01/15/2011
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
293,054
File size:
3 MB

Meet the Author

Seth Greenland is the author of The Bones. An award-winning playwright, he has also written extensively for film and television.

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