The winner A novel

Teddy Wayne

Book - 2024

"Conor O'Toole has never in his life been in a place as casually glamorous as this New England community, a gated world its residents fondly call "The Neck." He's taken a summer job here as a tennis instructor, living in a guest cottage in exchange for lessons and a chance to study for the bar exam, far away from the stress of the tiny Yonkers apartment he usually shares with his diabetic mother. But, grateful as he is for the blissful beauty of the Neck, he must focus on earning as much money as he can to help his mom pay the bills, and it isn't proving as easy as he expected to sign up new clients for tennis lessons. That is, until a sharp-tongued divorcee named Catherine appears on the court, offering to pay... him twice his usual hourly rate. Soon, it becomes clear that she's expecting additional, ah, services, for her money, and Conor tumbles into a sexy, erotic affair unlike anything he's experienced before. Despite his steamy, secret flings with a woman twice his age, however, Conor simultaneous finds himself falling romantically for the quirky, outspoken girl he met on the beach - who turns out to be Catherine's daughter. Desperate to manage the tangled web he's woven, Conor believes he's found a way to juggle everything... until he makes one fatal mistake. A satirical literary thriller that brilliantly skewers the elite, this unputdownable drama is huge, cinematic, hilarious, and an utter masterpiece"--

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FICTION/Wayne Teddy
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Location Call Number   Status
1st Floor New Shelf FICTION/Wayne Teddy (NEW SHELF) Due Jun 20, 2024
New York, NY : Harper 2024.
Main Author
Teddy Wayne (author)
First edition
Physical Description
320 p.
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

Tennis has been Conor's escape from his lonely working-class Yonkers upbringing since a wealthy mentor recognized his talent as a kid. Fresh out of law school, he'll spend the summer working as a tennis pro in the gated, ocean-surrounded Massachusetts community of Cutters Neck, making easy money to pay off his considerable debt and studying for the bar exam. Lesson-takers are few, though, and when fortyish Catherine, owner of the Neck's most extravagant home, offers to pay him double for services rendered ever so discretely in the bedroom, he can't turn her down and even enjoys it. Then he learns that the young writer he's been seeing, with whom he sees real potential, is Catherine's daughter. Further discretion required. Growing accustomed to, and, perhaps, inspired by the ease and comforts of his new life, Conor does something criminally heinous, and then everything he can to cover it up. Things don't go to plan, but Conor, a master of compartmentalization, might say they go better. Readers will zoom through Wayne's (The Great Man Theory, 2022) bitingly satirical literary thriller.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Fans will be intrigued by Wayne's switch to crime fiction and the news that he's writing the screenplay for the movie adaptation.

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

Wayne (The Great Man Theory) disappoints with this underheated thriller about a tennis pro's love triangle. Connor O'Toole promises John Price, a man he met at the Manhattan tennis club where he used to work, free lessons in exchange for summer lodging in Price's Cape Cod guesthouse. Connor struggles to drum up additional clients until Catherine, an attractive divorcée in Price's neighborhood, shows interest. Soon, she offers Connor double his rate to take their sessions to the bedroom. Their arrangement works well enough until Connor meets and falls for Emily, an aspiring writer his own age, and struggles to balance his pursuit of her with Catherine's increasingly possessive demands. Everything comes to a head when a tragic act of violence forces Connor to take desperate measures. Wayne's prose teeters on the precipice between stirring and overwrought ("He awoke for his tennis lesson... under the black cloud of having escaped the action of a nightmare but not its lingering disquietude"), and the pacing is lethally slow, without sufficient atmosphere to offset the lack of action. In the end, this slow burn fails to generate much heat. (May)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Kirkus Book Review

A summer among the Massachusetts elite introduces a young law student to a life and temptations he hadn't imagined. It begins with an offer that Conor O' Toole can't refuse--free lodging in a cabin on Cutters Neck, a gated community of posh summer homes, in exchange for providing tennis lessons to the lawyer who has invited him. He can also solicit other residents to pay for lessons. A comedy of manners seems to unfold, as the rich rise above the pandemic, insulated by their wealth, while the servants remain masked and keep a proper distance. The novelist expertly inserts himself inside Conor's psyche, and it seems like a pretty comfortable place, for protagonist and reader alike. A good-looking man with a tennis pro's physique, Conor tries to stay focused on studying for the bar exam and scheduling enough lessons to provide medicine for his diabetic mother. He's a dutiful son, and she lives in the apartment they share in Yonkers. Soon enough, the richest divorcee on "the neck" becomes his most lucrative customer, a sexually voracious and domineering woman who employs tennis lessons as blatant seduction and starts paying him twice his going rate to service her. The sex is explosive beyond anything he had experienced, although debasing (and thus all the steamier). He rationalizes that he is doing this to provide for his mother, but he gets a rush from the sex. (And the money.) Then a younger woman arrives, complicating the arrangement. They begin to see each other a lot. He finds himself juggling the sexual fireworks with the one and the slower-burning love he is kindling with the other. He can't quit either, and he vows to keep his relationship with each a secret. But something has to give. Something does. Conor's seeming innocence turns insidious, unnerving. And the summer idyll, the comedy of manners, turns gruesome, as lies and rationalization lead to way worse. A novel that puts a fresh twist on getting what you deserve. Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.