The Up and Comer

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Overview

"On an island of glitz, in a season of ambition, Philip Randall is getting what everyone wants. A rising career in a big New York law firm. A rich and beautiful wife. A cavernous downtown loft. And enough disposable income to turn Manhattan into a movable feast. So why is Philip testing fate by sleeping with his best friend's wife? And who is the man watching every move Philip makes - and waiting to make a move of his own?" "It's not that Philip is oblivious to risk - far from it. With his father-in-law's money feathering his nest, with his taste ...
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Hardcover New 0446526665 Excellent condition, hardback 2001, no marks, superb cover and dj, readit!

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Overview

"On an island of glitz, in a season of ambition, Philip Randall is getting what everyone wants. A rising career in a big New York law firm. A rich and beautiful wife. A cavernous downtown loft. And enough disposable income to turn Manhattan into a movable feast. So why is Philip testing fate by sleeping with his best friend's wife? And who is the man watching every move Philip makes - and waiting to make a move of his own?" "It's not that Philip is oblivious to risk - far from it. With his father-in-law's money feathering his nest, with his taste buds accustomed to the best of everything, he knows how far and how fast he could fall. But the thrills he gets from dancing on the edge are too delicious to pass up." "Of course, Philip and his lover are always discreet. They use an out-of-the-way hotel, enter separately, and leave apart. Yet for all his caution, Philip doesn't expect this new development: A man from his past, which a massive ax to grind, has come to settle a score - with blackmail." "For Philip Randall it's decision time. He can let his sociopathic former pal dismantle a life that has been one big, gluttonous party. Or take out the bastard - and maybe lose the last chance to regain his soul."--BOOK JACKET.
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Editorial Reviews

Bret Easton Ellis
Beyond the sheer speed and undiluted excitement...lie a cruel comedy of manners about overprivileged, spoiled New Yorkers...sleek entertainment...
Jerry Stahl
With pitch-perfect ear and dialogue...Roughan has written a funny, smart, and start-to-finish riveting chronicle of life...among...upwardly mobile, urban young Americans...
Douglas Kennedy
Howard Roughan is a natural. He tells a story with deceptive ease, making you compulsively turn pages...a winner...a terrific debut.
Robert Ferrigno
...a screamer. Fast, fun and dead-on compelling. A great ride of a book.
John Lescroart
...touches all the bases-great beginning, lots of laughs, airtight plot, rational conclusion...a great read...the suspense never rests.
Jerry Stahl
With pitch-perfect ear and dialogue...Roughan has written a funny, smart, and start-to-finish riveting chronicle of life...among...upwardly mobile, urban young Americans...
Entertainment Weekly
...engagingly written, with some sly satire tucked into its edges...
Douglas Kennedy
Howard Roughan is a natural. He tells a story with deceptive ease, making you compulsively turn pages...a winner...a terrific debut.
Robert Ferrigno
...a screamer. Fast, fun and dead-on compelling. A great ride of a book.
John Lescroart
...touches all the bases-great beginning, lots of laughs, airtight plot, rational conclusion...a great read...the suspense never rests.
Bret Easton Ellis
Beyond the sheer speed and undiluted excitement...lie a cruel comedy of manners about overprivileged, spoiled New Yorkers...sleek entertainment...
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The strain of living an excessive, brazen, lavishly upper-tier Manhattan life in an "incredibly self-centered, every-man-for-himself world" takes a disastrous toll on the narrator of Roughan's supremely hip, brazen debut. Right from the opening pages, married 30-something cutthroat attorney Philip Randall shamelessly admits to enjoying an extramarital affair with Jessica, his best friend Connor's girlfriend. He's definitely not a likable guy, especially when spewing smug commentary on just about every aspect of city life, and when socializing with wife Tracy's haughty Greenwich, Conn., family. But enter penniless "stoner" Tyler Mills, a prep school buddy of Philip's, who has unexpectedly blown into town, and this time Philip's arsenal of designer labels and street-smart manipulation fails him. Tyler, flashing his "Manson Family grin," has been busy spying on his school chum's secret rendezvous with Jessica and predictably proceeds to blackmail him. Outraged at his friend's audacity and escalating threats, Philip hatches a double-crossing scheme. As Roughan wraps his crafty plot around some impressively tense moments, the novel morphs into an engaging, cinematic page-turner. Auxiliary characters, particularly Philip's robust boss, Jack Devine, and Jack's kind, innocuous wife, Sally, are well-drawn and convincing, adding the depth and humanity necessary to counteract Philip's almost robotic duplicity. The novel's atypical conclusion, awash in wincing retrospection and a refreshing comeuppance, offers a satisfying and sentimental balance. Time-Warner audio book. (June 5) Forecast: Already optioned by USA Films, with the movie version slated to be produced by Michael Douglas, this derivative but slickly vibrant book will doubtless trade on the hype. Targeted marketing transit advertising in the New York area and Wall Street giveaways should help, and jacket blurbs by Bret Easton Ellis, among other yuppie dignitaries, will heighten the buzz. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Up and comer Philip Randall is about to be a down and outer; a prep school buddy has spotted him with his mistress and resorts to blackmail. Numerous foreign rights sales and a forthcoming film make this a debut to watch. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
First-timer Roughan knocks one out of the park with this satisfyingly lean and propulsive thriller. As the titular up-and-comer, Philip Randall narrates his story with an easy confidence that's almost impossible to resist. A cocksure young lawyer at the Manhattan firm of Campbell & Devine, Randall's just about reached the tipping point of complete, unalloyed success. His wife, Tracy, is acquiescent and from money, and his tough-as-nails boss, Jack Devine, has taken a shine to him. Not one to leave things as they are, though, Randall complicates matters by conducting a torrid affair with Jessica, wife to one of his friend Connor. The author deftly elides Randall's hollow conscience by the casual callousness of the affair, never letting Randall slide into a caricature of an American Psycho—style Master of the Universe: he's not a monster, he's just a cold-hearted heel who really doesn't care much about anything or anybody. Having drifted into law simply because it was something he could do and make money at, Randall is more believable a protagonist than the brainy, suited Supermen who populate so many legal thrillers. Roughan's created such a compelling character that he wisely waits until almost halfway through the story before springing the trap.Tyler, one-time pothead and pseudo-friend of Randall's from his prep-school days, pops back into his life unexpectedly with some upsetting news: He's been following Randall and photographing his liasions with Jessica. The price for his silence: $100,000. From this point on, Roughan tightens the screws on Randall with steady, masterly skill. Randall's sly cynicism is ground away by Tyler's relentlessly sadistic hounding, slowlyturning Randall into the kind of nervous wreck that he would have mocked from his once-lofty perch. The dénouement is classically noir, a penitence spoken with the grave, self-mocking humor of one brought low by his own arrogance. An impressive debut. Film rights to October Films and Michael Douglas
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780446526661
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • Publication date: 6/5/2001
  • Pages: 327
  • Product dimensions: 6.31 (w) x 9.31 (h) x 1.17 (d)

Read an Excerpt

PART I

ONE

The four of us were having dinner together, as we so often did. It was at the Grange Hall down in the West Village. There were Connor and Jessica, Tracy and me. Connor, never one to instigate a conversation let alone dominate it, was nonetheless center stage.

"I realized the other day," he began, his narrow eyes darting back and forth among us, "that we're all at the age now where we can really only rely on our instincts and intellect in order to succeed." Connor stopped for a moment, presumably to let the supposed magnitude of this statement sink in. He continued: "When you think about it, from the ages of, like, twenty-eight to... oh, let's say thirty-four, we're all kind of just out there without a net. I mean, when we're older than that, odds are we'll have collected enough experience- personal, professional, what have you-to get our asses out of almost any jam. And when we were younger, let's face it, nothing really too significant was expected of us, precisely because we didn't have any experience. But those in-between years-right now-that's when we're really on our own."

I remember watching Connor finish that last sentence, the way he deliberately reached for a packet of sugar as if he were testing out an artificial limb. I remember because it was at that precise moment that I wish it had occurred to me: I should probably stop f—-ing his wife.

TWO

Absolutely incredible!"

Tracy stood before me, loaded shopping bags in hand, a smile ear to ear. She'd been gone a good six hours.

"Back so soon?" I said, barely looking up from my Sunday Times. But it was clear there wasn't enough sarcasm in the world to burst my wife's bubble. She just ignored me.

"Everything fit; everything I tried on fit me like a glove. It was like karma... clothes karma!" Tracy said with a giggle. "That's what it was!"

Now hold it right there. Were this most anyone else's apartment and the same scene was being played out, odds are the guy in my shoes would start huffing and puffing about how much this little shopping spree was going to set him back. Some heated words would be exchanged, followed by a full-blown argument that in turn would give way to any number of tantrum-related activities such as kicking, screaming, or heaving a vase across the room.

But this wasn't anyone else's apartment, this was our 3,500- square-foot penthouse loft in Chelsea, paid for in cash by my father-in-law, Lawrence Metcalf, as a wedding gift two years ago. Which is not to say I married for money. No, I married for a lot of money.

So when Tracy would go four figures deep into Bergdorf's.or Bendel's, or, on this particular Sunday afternoon, Saks Fifth Avenue, I, Philip Randall, couldn't really give a shit. It wasn't our money she was spending, it was Daddy's, and you didn't have to be the sharpest knife in the drawer to figure out that whatever moral or self-esteem issues one might have with that, it simply wasn't worth acting on them. Period.

"Philip, if you want me, I'll be in the bedroom."

That was code, of course. It meant Tracy wanted to have sex. As if wealth wasn't a blessing enough unto itself, it so happened that spending money made my wife horny. Really horny. And the more she spent, the more horny she got. It actually made for an interesting postcoital ritual. We would finish up, and depending on whatever it was she had let me do to her and how much she had been into it, I would try to guess how much money she'd just spent. Once, on a whim, she bought herself a Cartier Pasha watch at Tourneau. It was the only time we ever had anal sex.

"That was at least three G's," I gasped, rolling off her.

"Two thousand," she gasped back. "Though not including tax."

(Truth be told, I wouldn't have rated it much more than a couple hundred, however, I had learned early on to always come in at a higher number.)

Tracy got up from the bed and headed for the bathroom. I watched her. She was still very thin, as thin as when we first met four years ago. Her breasts were not large, but they were round, a nice shape. Occasionally, after too much to drink, she'd talk about getting implants, though I knew it was something that she'd never do.

"Oh, guess who I bumped into?" came her voice from the bathroom.

"Who?"

Tracy reappeared in her robe. "Tyler Mills," she said.

"No shit."

"Yeah, he remembered me and everything. Of course, I didn't have a clue who he was at first. He looked horrible, though."

"Funny how a suicide attempt will do that to you," I said.

"Where'd you see him?"

"Outside of Saks. He was standing by the doors."

"By himself?"

Tracy nodded.

"What'd you talk about?"

"Nothing, really; I asked how he was doing and all that.

It was- Oh, on second thought, he did say something strange; well, not really strange, just kind of weird."

"What was it?"

"He said he hoped to be talking to you soon."

"You thought that was weird?" I asked.

"It was the way he said it, like it was something that you might not want to do."

"What, did he say that?"

"No, I got the sense that there was more to it, though," she said. "Do you know what it's about?"

"Not a clue."

"Anyway, I gave him our number as well as your one at work. That was okay, right?"

Copyright (c) 2001 by Howard Roughan

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 18 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 19 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 9, 2011

    fun thrilling- the best book in a long time

    I read a lot of books and this is great I read it in just a few days We need more books by Howard!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2003

    FUNNY & INTRIGUING, but don't expect a believeable outcome

    The main character, who is also the narrator, has hilarious wit and manners that make him likeable no matter how much you want to hate him. My only complaint is... the book becomes less believeable down the line.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2002

    READ THIS BOOK!

    The story of Philip (one "L") Randall is a truly entertaining story. The characters literally come alive and the plot will hold your interest throughout. I read this novel in one sitting and wished it could have continued for another several hundred pages. As a former 212er, word of warning for Howard Roughan-there better be a sequel in the works or you'll hear from my lawyer, Jack Devine.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2001

    Martini's Review

    A masterful medley of witty humor, seduction, reality and suspense... The Up and Comer will have you intriqued and entertained from beginning to end. A must read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2001

    AMAZING!!!!

    This book was wonderful. For a first novel it was well written. It kept me wanting more. There should be a sequel to see what happens. I loved it. Did I say that already. One of my new favorites, I can read it over and over again.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2001

    The Up and Comer Keeps Climbing

    I absolutely loved reading The Up and Comer. It's main character, Philip Randall, who seemingly had everything most men only dream about; wealth, a beautiful wife, successful career, respect, obviously wanted even more and was willing to do anything to get it. Of course he had no idea his life was about to be turned upside down and he'd lose everything. Despite his infidelity, it was difficult to dislike him simply because he was generally such a likeable guy with a great sense of humor and timing. I certainly hope the Author, Howard Roughan is planning to do a sequel on this so we can see if Mr. Randall makes an 'up and comeback'

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2001

    A Triumphant First

    Impressively adept and sharp, Howard Roughan¿s first novel draws the reader into the dark, often amusing, realm of the subconscious, personified by Phillip Randall ¿ a young, New York lawyer who has everything except a single redeeming feature. The luxury apartment, free-flowing cash, and beautiful and seriously rich wife are not enough for Randall. Not even New York City, with its myriad opportunities for extravagance can satisfy his ego. Like a child whose emotional range begins and ends with his will, Randall¿s star is fueled by a shameless and arrogant view of life as a grand con game, one he believes he is slick enough to win no matter the risks. At the center of the plot is the love affair with his best friend¿s wife, and through his cold, often funny, editorials on the maintenance of this liaison, we come to realize that Randall is more turned on by the subterfuge than he is by the sex. Thus, when an old acquaintance emerges from the shadows and threatens to expose the affair, Randall sizes up this new opponent in the game and deems him unworthy. By calling the blackmailer¿s bluff, Randall sets off a chain of astonishingly horrible events, through which the author demonstrates tremendous inventiveness and a strong facility for creating tension and momentum. On the surface, The Up and Comer is like a well-crafted pulp novel on speed ¿ legitimately a page-turner. But beyond that, Roughan succeeds in leaving the reader ever so slightly haunted by this dark adventure. While it is tempting, at first, to dismiss Randall as an idiot who turned a speed bump into a train wreck, there is something frighteningly familiar about him. For every ounce of ambition, there is at least a measure of Randall in there, and in the end one must admit, however sheepishly, that he is human. At best, this is a disturbing revelation, and Roughan deserves a great deal of credit for the subtle way in which this book leaves its lingering effect. High praise indeed for this remarkable new author. I look forward to the next Roughan work with tremendous eagerness and slight trepidation.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2001

    A FAST-PACED TALE OF BLACKMAIL

    New York lawyer Philip Randall thinks he has it all, a position with one of Manhattan's top law firms, a beautiful and wealthy wife, and a mistress on the side. He is used to shopping in the best stores, dining in the finest restaurants, and attending the hottest parties, but this is about to change when a person from his past enters his life and threatens to change everything he has worked for. While out with friends, Philip and his wife Tracey run into a high school buddy, Tyler Mills, and what seems on the surface a coincidental meeting turns out be something much darker, for Tyler, recovering from a suicide attempt, has created a plan, one that will make him rich, and destroy another man's life. Several days after their 'chance' encounter, Tyler confronts Philip and demands a large sum of money for his silence... As Tyler explains he has been watching Philip, and he is aware of the affair he is having with his best friend's wife. Not taking the threats serious, Philip ignores Tyler's warnings, but once the phone calls, faxes, and emails start, he realizes Tyler means business. Determined to keep his secrets safe Philip agrees to make the payment, but he himself has a plan, one that will rid him of Tyler for good. What ensues is a twisted battle for survival that raises one question...is the winner REALLY a winner? 'The Up And Comer' is a darkly funny, fast-paced thriller that raises serious questions about morality. Howard Roughan has written - much in the style of Bret Easton Ellis - a novel that takes flawed characters, throws them into the glitz and glamour of Manhattan, and chronicles just how far someone will go to get everything they want. 'The Up And Comer' is sure to be a bestseller, as well as one of the summer's most talked about books. Nick Gonnella

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    exciting character study

    Perhaps it is the remains of his youth, but ultra-confident attorney Philip Randall smugly feels he owns the world. Philip has some evidence to support his belief. He is climbing the legal corporate ladder at a record pace. His malleable wife comes from a very wealthy Greenwich, Connecticut family that adores him. Finally, the brazen Philip has a lover, who knows how to excite him. <P>However, it is the latter that begins to cause Philip great harm. An old acquaintance Tyler Mills has been taking pictures of Philip with his lover. Tyler wants money for his silence or he threatens to blow up Philip¿s perfect orb. Philip knows that if Tyler talks, his elitist lifestyle ends. However, he also knows that paying the blackmailer will mean a life of feeding this lunatic who will never let go of the cash cow he has cornered. <P> THE UP AND COMER is a forceful thriller that succeeds because the key characters come across as human. Philip¿s hedonism, his wife¿s compliance, his lover¿s needs, and his blackmailer¿s rough blend of sadism all ring authentic and make the tale an exciting character study. The story line is told by Philip, which allows readers to slowly see him turn from smug importance to frightened desperado. This technique humanizes the cast even further as readers will wonder what path Philip will take. Howard Roughan is clearly an up and coming author worth following. <P>Harriet Klausner

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    Posted September 21, 2013

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    Posted February 28, 2011

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    Posted December 27, 2010

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