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The Paperboy

Cover of The Paperboy

The Paperboy

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The sun was rising over Moat County, Florida, when Sheriff Thurmond Call was found on the highway, gutted like an alligator. A local redneck was tried, sentenced, and set to fry. Then Ward James, a hotshot investigative reporter for the Miami Times, returns to his rural hometown with a death row femme fatale who promises him the story of the decade. She's armed with explosive evidence and aims to free—and meet—her convicted "fiancé." With Ward's disillusioned younger brother Jack as their driver, they barrel down Florida's back roads and seamy places in search of the Story, racing flat out into a shocking head-on collision between character and fate as truth takes a backseat to headline news.

The sun was rising over Moat County, Florida, when Sheriff Thurmond Call was found on the highway, gutted like an alligator. A local redneck was tried, sentenced, and set to fry. Then Ward James, a hotshot investigative reporter for the Miami Times, returns to his rural hometown with a death row femme fatale who promises him the story of the decade. She's armed with explosive evidence and aims to free—and meet—her convicted "fiancé." With Ward's disillusioned younger brother Jack as their driver, they barrel down Florida's back roads and seamy places in search of the Story, racing flat out into a shocking head-on collision between character and fate as truth takes a backseat to headline news.

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About the Author-
  • Pete Dexter is the author of the National Book Award–winning novel Paris Trout, among others. He has been a columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News and the Sacramento Bee and has contributed to many magazines, including EsquireSports Illustrated, and Playboy. His screenplays include Rush and Mulholland Falls. Born in Michigan, he was raised in Georgia, Illinois, and eastern South Dakota. He now lives on an island off the coast of Washington.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from January 2, 1995
    Moat County, Fla., is located where the St. John's River flows north-a geographical rarity and, in literature, a signal that we've entered the strange and violent world of National Book Award-winner Dexter (Paris Trout). Narrator Jack James is the son of the Moat County Tribune's editor and publisher. While Jack's older brother, Ward, reports for the Miami Times, Jack has settled for a job delivering papers for the Tribune. But when Ward and his partner, evil dandy Yardley Acheman, come to Moat County to investigate the four-year-old murder of the local sheriff, Jack assists them in the inquiry. After a vicious beating by two sailors lands Ward in the intensive care unit, Yardley finishes the story without Ward and Jack, fabricating evidence to do so. Accompanying his traumatized brother Ward back to Miami, Jack takes a job as a copyboy at the Times. It isn't long, however, before Yardley's wrongdoing comes to light, generating more trouble for the Jameses. Dexter's writing is rock-solid, he offers acute observations about the nature of reporting and his grip on the Southern male psyche is unquestionable. The powerful thematic drive of Paris Trout is missing here, however, and the story line is so complicated that it loses focus and then almost peters out. But if this isn't Dexter's best, it's still a provocative offering from one of the most exciting novelists around. Major ad/promo.

  • AudioFile Magazine Miami Times journalist Ward James, along with his unscrupulous partner, Yardley Acheman, returns home to a Florida backwater to reopen the case of death-row murderer Hillary Van Wetter. But, as Ward's brother tells the tale, their investigation opens up strange truths and ambiguities. Campbell Scott's reading is outstanding. He differentiates a score of characters, from Hillary's redneck Uncle Tyree, to his seductive intended, Charlotte Bless, and maintains the undercurrent of mystery and violence throughout. But, perhaps because of the abridgment, the listener never really says, "Aha, I get it." J.H.L. (c)AudioFile, Portland, Maine
  • New York Times Book Review "An eerie and beautiful novel. Its secrets continue to reveal themselves long after the book has been finished."
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    Blackstone Audio, Inc.
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The Paperboy
The Paperboy
Pete Dexter
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