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The VIPs: A Novel

The VIPs: A Novel

3.8 12
by Scott Poulson-Bryant

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Scott Poulson-Bryant brings the heat in this rip-roaring tale of secrets, sex, and betrayal.

On a steamy June day in New York City, mega-star rapper TNT gathers a group of four successful men together, childhood friends who called themselves "the VIPs," signaling the big dreams they all once had. Leo Bradford is a gay publishing magnate who is


Scott Poulson-Bryant brings the heat in this rip-roaring tale of secrets, sex, and betrayal.

On a steamy June day in New York City, mega-star rapper TNT gathers a group of four successful men together, childhood friends who called themselves "the VIPs," signaling the big dreams they all once had. Leo Bradford is a gay publishing magnate who is learning to love again after a devastating tragedy. Barry Chambers is a playboy attorney with a working-class background who is starting to realize that the chip he's carried on his shoulders all these years doesn't go too well with the bespoke suits that have become his trademark. Joey Ramirez is a high-flying fashion designer who has managed to triumph over a life of abuse and neglect to become one of the most successful clothiers in the world. And Duke Maynard is a recently-retired NFL star facing the challenges of successfully transferring his competitive energies from his gridiron past to his entertainment world future. These four men have a history and bond that could be torn apart by a night of passion one of them had long ago.
The VIPs, who haven't seen one another in years, are greeted at the Hotel Gansevoort by an openly hostile TNT, who asks them the bombshell question: "Which one of you bastards is my father?"
Shocking, hilarious, suspenseful, and, ultimately, incredible moving, The VIPs will have readers furiously turning the pages to find out who the real father is.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
With his first novel, Poulson-Bryant, a founding editor of Vibe magazine, reveals the complicated lives of four old friends who've grown apart. When we meet the VIPs, they've been called to a meeting with the young rapper, TNT. Barry Chambers runs a huge New York cosmetics company; Leo Bradford is a bestselling author; Duke Maynard, a former football star, has made a killing on the Internet; and superstar designer Joey Ramirez is often called "the Latino Calvin Klein." They arrive separately and are surprised to see each other. But surprise turns to shock when TNT demands to know, "hich one of you bastards is my father?" The question sends the four men chasing past indiscretions, mistakes, and successes, and by the story's end, the old friends will have to deal with the cost of keeping secrets and face tragedy head-on. Although Bryant's page-turner is full of melodrama, violence, betrayal, and sex, the central relationships never jibe, and the characters' unmotivated actions will leave readers perplexed. Still, Bryant excels at creating a fine sense of place, suggesting a burgeoning talent in the street lit game. (July)
From the Publisher
"A page-turner full of melodrama, violence, betrayal, and sex, Poulson-Bryant excels at creating a fine sense of place...a burgeoning talent." --Publishers Weekly

"Each character in this book, quite unlike others in its genre, rings with truth and depth. The VIPs comes hard with a surprising ending and a roller-coaster storyline ready-made for the big screen." --Ebony Magazine

"Jackie Collins and E. Lynn Harris would be proud...The VIPs is the perfect beach-read. A modern, fast-paced page-turner...with juicy tidbits of class, homophobia, bisexuality, set-ups, cover-ups, fashion shows, conspiracy, love-found, lost family secrets and, of course, murder."--Lamda Literary

Kirkus Reviews

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.

Product Details

Publication date:
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Random House
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File size:
2 MB

Meet the Author

SCOTT POULSON-BRYANT was one of the founding editors of Vibe magazine. He has also written for Spin, Rolling Stone, the New York Times, The Source, and Essence. He lives in New York.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

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VIPs 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Ivyous More than 1 year ago
I read this book for my book club. This was the first book that we have read that was based mainly about men. I truly enjoyed the intrigue of each characters life as well as all of their ups and downs. I tried to guess throughout the book who could be the father as well as the mother. I got the mother right, and I had the father narrowed down and in the end there were more twist coming my way. Very, very good book and I would recommend it to anyone who loves to read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved reading this book. It was a page turner. I could not put it down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was pretty interesting. Initially, the flashbacks to childhood were a bit annoying, but it eventually grew on me. It could have been done a bit better (a la Sarah's Key), but I understood the concept and appreciated the effort. The story was very interesting. It was full of suspense and intrigue. And, it was good to see the growth of the boys to men with the twists and turns they experienced. Some of the scenes in the book were completely unnecessary and ruined what could have been a perfect book. In an attempt at adding excitement, Scott Poulson-Bryant went too far to the left and wrote things that were probably more for TV than a novel. Additionally, the last few chapters of the book seemed rushed because he backed so much into it for climax. Not necessary. He should have continued the pace with which he started to end the book with realism. Nevertheless, I do wonder what happened to the men after the last page. What are they doing now? How did they respond to all of the news? Despite some misgivings, I do recommend this book if you're interested in a fun read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enory277 More than 1 year ago
Definitely a good read, for today's reader. This book will keep you wrapped up from beginning to end.
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GregRW More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book! Just trying to keep up with the young men life will keep you reading the next page! I love the way the book start out with "TNT" looking for his father and how the story goes back to how it begin with each young man. You think you know who is the father and the Author take you in another direction! Letting you know what they did and how it came back to haunt them as they all face TNT. Scott Poulson-Bryant wrote a very good book and can not wait until his next book hit the stores!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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harstan More than 1 year ago
In a hot New York, superstar rapper TNT arranges a meeting with Barry Chambers, Leo Bradford, Duke Maynard and Joey Ramirez; he does not tell any of them that he invited the others. Each has been successful since their childhood days when they called themselves the VIPs and had dreams of making it in the Big Apple. Thirty orgasms before turning forty Barry is the CEO of a giant cosmetics company; his ex is a paranoid NBA star, Leo is a magazine mogul and reporter; Duke is a former NFL star who has made it big since leaving professional football on the Internet; and Joey "Ram" Ramirez is "the Latino Calvin Klein" designer. At the suite he took at the Hotel Gansevoort, TNT asks the quartet who amongst the four of them is his SOB father? Each is shocked by the question and begins to look back at their past transgressions. The V.I.P.s is an engaging character study of four childhood friends whose mortality as they face forty is lucidly in their face by the rapper challenging them. The key cast is fully developed and each seems genuine with the exception of the vile villain. Although some of the relationships and decision making starting in 1983 between the parents generation of the V.I.P.s seem unlikely, this is a well written insightful tale as readers, the quartet and the rapper ask who his daddy is. Harriet Klausner