Fly me A novel

Daniel Riley, 1986-

Book - 2017

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FICTION/Riley, Daniel
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New York : Little, Brown and Company 2017.
First edition
Physical Description
392 pages ; 22 cm
Main Author
Daniel Riley, 1986- (author)
Review by New York Times Review

THE ONE DEVICE: The Secret History of the iPhone, by Brian Merchant. (Little, Brown, $28.) This book dispels some of the fog that surrounds the iPhone, making visible the human labor that creates it - including its development and production and the origin of some of the technologies it uses. MOVE FAST AND BREAK THINGS: How Facebook, Google, and Amazon Cornered Culture and Undermined Democracy, by Jonathan Taplin. (Little, Brown, $29.) A tech pioneer argues that the radical libertarianism and greed of many Silicon Valley entrepreneurs have undermined the communal idealism of the early internet. A FINE MESS: A Global Quest for a Simpler, Fairer, and More Efficient Tax System, by T. R. Reid. (Penguin Press, $27.) Reid approaches the subject of tax reform with a wry voice and a light touch. A world tour of tax systems reveals other countries' efforts to redesign their systems. THE SEEDS OF LIFE: From Aristotle to da Vinci, From Sharks' Teeth to Frogs' Pants, the Long and Strange Quest to Discover Where Babies Come From, by Edward Dolnick. (Basic Books, $28.) Not until 1875 was the process of human reproduction fully understood. This is a fascinating record of the quest. A GOOD COUNTRY, by Laleh Khadivi. (Bloomsbury, $27.) The son of prosperous Iranian-American immigrants, searching for his identity, becomes alienated and eventually radicalized. This powerful novel is marked by moving prose, vivid characters and a balance between compassion and merciless realism. THE COLOR OF LAW: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America, by Richard Rothstein. (Liveright, $27.95.) Most residential segregation in America is de jure - that is, it derives from policy or law, which was supported by virtually every presidential administration since the 19th century. This powerful and disturbing account is also a call to arms. THE HEIRS, by Susan Rieger. (Crown, $26.) When a wealthy New York lawyer dies, his wife and five sons learn he may have had a second, secret life and another family. The sons want the truth; their mother is not so sure. With grace and finesse, this polished novel explores their varying responses. FLY ME, by Daniel Riley. (Little, Brown, $27.) In this debut novel, set in Southern California in the '70s, a Vassar-grad stewardess becomes involved in a drug smuggling operation while her husband quotes Pynchon. Riley writes about the era with captivating authority. HOW TO BE HUMAN, by Paula Cocozza. (Metropolitan/Holt, $26.) A lonely woman becomes involved with a fox in her London garden in this hypnotic first novel. The full reviews of these and other recent books are on the web:

Copyright (c) The New York Times Company [August 30, 2019] Review by Booklist Review

Riley's suspenseful first novel unfolds in Southern California, 1972, in a laid-back community where stewardesses play beach volleyball with drug dealers. The stew at the center of the novel is Suzy, a skateboarder, race-car driver, and aspiring writer from upstate New York. At odds after graduating from Vassar, Suzy follows her free-spirited sister into stewardess school and then onto the planes that crisscross the country, frequently hijacked and occasionally crashing. To save her father, whose only chance of recovery from cancer is an expensive procedure, she begins trafficking in drugs and soon finds herself in over her head. Riley strongly evokes the setting, taking Suzy to a precisely described Rose Bowl or a Rolling Stones concert, but he also relies on references to Thomas Pynchon or Susan Sontag to convince readers of the seriousness of what is an otherwise entertaining, lightweight thriller. Though major characters are relatively undeveloped, the plot often hinges on coincidence, and several threads are introduced only to be abandoned, the novel builds to a surprising and nerve-racking climax.--Quamme, Margaret Copyright 2017 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission. Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Flying the friendly skies in the 1970s was definitely an adventure, what with all those skyjackings, as Riley demonstrates in his first novel. Suzy Whitman is a stew working out of Sela del Mar, a coastal community near L.A. The year is 1972, and Suzy, upon graduation from Vassar, has impulsively followed in the footsteps of her older sister, Grace, a stewardess with Grand Pacific Airlines whose husband, Mike, is a magazine writer who wants to be the next Tom Wolfe. Riley employs a Wolfean methodology in bringing to life the stoner vibe of the time through curated period details, marred by some anachronisms. While skateboarding on the 4th of July, Suzy meets Billy Zar, a local weed dealer, who tricks her into using her position with the airline to smuggle harder stuff for him. A family health crisis forces Suzy into a life of crime that, in the end, leaves her with only one desperate way out. Throw in Jim Jones's nascent religious cult and a backstory involving Scientology, and the result is an overstuffed novel that reads like the fictional equivalent of Brendan I. Koerner's study of the '70s skyjacking phenomenon, The Skies Belong to Us. (June) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved Review by Library Journal Review

Suzy Whitman was a born risk taker. This trait, nurtured by her dad with his love of fast cars, led Suzy from building go-karts at the age of ten to racing the junior circuit at Watkins Glen, NY. Unlike her prettier but aimless older sister, Grace, Suzy excelled in school. While Grace became an airline stewardess, Suzy sailed through her first three years as an English major at Vassar. On the strength of that success, she was selected to complete her senior year at Yale, where she fell short for the first time by failing required science courses. Shocked and feeling defeated, Suzy follows the newly married Grace across the country to the beach town of Sela del Mar, CA, and joins Grace's airline as a stewardess. The year is 1972, and Sela del Mar, a haven for drifters living loosely on the fringes, offers a heady, endless summer of music, alcohol, and drugs. Open to new experiences and adventure, Suzy flirts with danger and falls into a drug courier role. What starts as a lark turns serious when her adored father cannot afford the cancer treatment that could save his life. VERDICT Like some commercial airline trips, this first novel rambles along on the runway, finally takes off with a blast, detours a bit here and there, but proves to be a stimulating ride.-Sheila M. Riley, Smithsonian Inst. Libs., Washington, DC © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. Review by Kirkus Book Review

Suzy is a stewardess, a skateboarder, a race car driver, a Vassar graduateand now a drug mule.It's 1972 in the California beach town of Sela del Mar, where the favorite bumper sticker is "Sela vie" and most roads end at the beach. Close enough to LAX to see the lights of the planes, the village is home to many a houseful of "stews," as they were called back then. Among them are Grace and Suzy Whitman, good-looking sisters from upstate New York who now work for Grand Pacific airlines, and aspiring magazine journalist Mike Singer, Grace's secret husband (among many draconian regulations, stews were not allowed to marry). The first friend Suzy makes in her new town is a blond local named Billy Zar. "What do you do?" she asks. "I'm a pawn in a multinational outfit that specializes in drug running," he replies. He's not kidding, Suzy learns, when she finds a flour sack filled with contraband in her carry-on on her next flight to New York, along with instructions for its delivery. Suzy is no weenieshe drove race cars in high school and is about to start taking flying lessons. She also has a family crisis that could benefit from an infusion of cash. So one bad choice leads to another and finally to a wildly unforeseen resolution in which debut novelist Riley drives his fuel-injected plot right into the bleachers. Riley has conjured up impeccable West Coast period atmospheresalt air, cocaine, Vuarnetsbut despite his relentless commitment to depicting his stewardess's inner life, she's more a fantasy than a real character. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.