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by Eric Dezenhall

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.
Download Money Wanders: A Novel epub
ISBN: 0312282753
ISBN13: 978-0312282752
Category: Mystery
Subcategory: Thrillers & Suspense
Author: Eric Dezenhall
Language: English
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books; 1st edition (February 25, 2002)
Pages: 320 pages
ePUB size: 1313 kb
FB2 size: 1937 kb
Rating: 4.9
Votes: 935
Other Formats: lit mobi mbr lrf

Well written book. Good historical and locational accuracy. Good choice for Kindle or other e-reader. Hopefully the author will follow up with more books in a similar genre.
Mickey Price is a 95-year-old kindly Jewish grandfather whose past was as notorious as Meyer Lansky's. His pal Irv the Curve was with Dutch Schultz when he was gunned down in Newark in 1935. Both have survived their prohibition era heritage by "seeming" but have not abandoned all ties to their old lives. In his final days Mickey, who sort of controls the Golden Prospect casino in Atlantic City, tells his grandson Jonah Eastman that Philadelphia crime boss Mario Vanni needs to talk with him. Jonah, a 38-year-old Dartmouth grad raised away from the business (with Mickey while he was on the lam in Europe, actually), is called the "Poll Vaulter" in D.C. because of his aggressive methods of shaping public opinion. Mickey dies and Vanni hires Jonah to make him respectable enough to get a casino license, an offer he couldn't refuse.
Here the story bumps around a bit from an "Analyze This" type farce, which it isn't, to a veiled secondhand expose of how la Cosa Nostra operates. For a while it seemed Denzenhall would be content to use characters like Mickey and Irv merely to lob in bits of Mafia lore, like it was the mob that his both JFK and Vince Foster. The subplots of the Vanni makeover, Jonah's romance with Edie the waspy klezmorim singer, his confrontations with Noel who is Vanni's psycho consigliere and everybody's quest for what Mickey left behind start to wander like the money in the title. More than once I stopped to speculate on how this phase of Jonah's life would end, but nothing I imagined came close.
In the last 50 or so pages every piece of Denzenhall's story including many seemingly insignificant references to Indian culture and the mysteries of the Pine Barrens ties together in a very satisfying conclusion. There's also a somewhat thoughtful message about what the real legacy is from one generation to the next. With the exception of a preposterous scene with Jonah and Noel in Carvin' Marvin's Cadillac Seville, Mickey and his crew did a pretty good job of letting Jonah find his way.
OK, here's the brief plot synopsis:
boy living in the modern world of PR/polling and the Internet is drawn back home to New Jersey and the Mob background that his grandfather was prominent in and wanted him to leave behind. It's an interesting merger of a mafia story with modern technology.
I found this on the new book shelve in the library and the synopsis caught my attention. I'm glad I picked it up. This is an entertaining read with a more substance than the typical summer novel. For a first novel, it is excellent, much richer than you would expect. For any novel, this is a fine read, well worth the time investment for you thriller fans out there.
The story was not predictable; you really had to hang in to the end to figure out what was going to happen. The characters get fleshed out as real people. I'd guess the author is from Jersey and knew these kinds of people growing up. He also knows the world of modern polling and media manipulation. Read his bio on the book jacket for some interesting background.
There were a couple of times you'd want to go back and read a sentence or two as some of the metaphors were a little strained but they stood out as exceptions. This guy is a very decent writer. I'll read his next one.
Why am I not suprirsed? A public relations professional decides to write a novel that suggests that the power or PR is so pervasive and important that it can turn the fortunes of a mafia murderer. Only a narcissist like Eric Dezenhall could suggest such a hypothesis. In this case, the main character is a maligned campaign consultant (seems to be patterned after Ed Rollins) who is then hired by a mob leader to help his quest for a New Jersey gaming license.
Suprisingly enough, the plot of the book and its unique characters almost are good enough to give the book a positive recommendation. The pages turn quickly as you read through a story that includes a number of public relations stunts to boost the mobster's standing in the community.
In the end, there are a number of plot twists that give you a bit of a surprise ending but there were too many problems with the book for me to recommend. The biggest of the problems was that dialogue is not handled very well by the author. There were far too many times where I had to put down the book for a few minutes and re-read passages to determine who was saying what in the conversation because Dezenhall did not tag the identifications well.
Finally, the main characters love interest with a musician who plays at his uncle's funeral just didn't work for me. He attempts to use her as the connection to his past/family and how he got mixed up into the the mob, but it never seems very plausible. While the ending is a bit of a surpise, it's not all that satisfying because it is a bit too contrived.
In the end, while most PR pros might think they are so good that they can make a murderer/mobster look good, the facts are that you can spin the facts only so much until people are on to you.
This has a great concept, and the first two-thirds are quite enjoyable. However, toward the end, it seems to lose its way. What I assumed to be the main plot -- the PR campaign for Vanni -- gets wrapped up abruptly, and other issues take the forefront. Unfortunately, I found those other issues less interesting, and more unlikely.
Overall, not a bad book though.