The Paperboy by Pete Dexter

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Now a major motion picture directed by Lee Daniels starring Matthew McConaughey, Zac Efron, David Oyelowo, and Macy Gray, with John Cusack and Nicole Kidman
“An eerie and beautiful novel . . . Its secrets continue to reveal themselves long after the book has been finished.”—The New York Times Book Review
The sun is rising over Moat County, Florida, when Sheriff Thurmond Call is found on the highway, gutted like an alligator. A local redneck is tried, sentenced, and set to fry. Then Ward James, 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, aiming 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 back seat to headline news.
“Dexter is a writer who cuts to the bone. There is not a spare word in this searing tale. . . . A bravura performance by one of America’s most original and elegiac voices.”—People
“Hip, hard-boiled and filled with memorable eccentrics . . . The Paperboy burns with the phosphorescent atmosphere of betrayal.”—Time
“A wise and fascinating tale well told.”—Entertainment Weekly

About Pete Dexter

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Novelist, journalist, and poet Pete Dexter was born in Pontiac, Michigan, in 1943. As a student at the University of South Dakota, where he attended on and off for ten years, he wrote poetry and won a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. After graduating in 1970, he found work as a newspaper reporter. While working as a columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News, Dexter was nearly beaten to death by readers who disapproved of a piece he wrote about a drug-related murder. That experience helped propel him into fiction writing, and in 1984, he published God's Pocket. Dexter won a National Book Award in 1988 for his novel Paris Trout, a book that exemplifies his characteristic blending of humor and violence. As a journalist, his work has also appeared in such periodicals as Esquire and Playboy.
Published February 2, 2011 by Delta. 336 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Crime. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Since winning the National Book Award in 1988 for Paris Trout, Dexter (Brotherly Love, 1991, etc.) has tried, without success, to recapture that novel's intensity.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of The Paperboy

Publishers Weekly

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While Jack's older brother, Ward, reports for the Miami Times, Jack has settled for a job delivering papers for the Tribune.

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The Globe and Mail

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But Charlotte brushes them aside, thereby allowing Kidman to utter, in her best cracker accent, a line of dialogue bound to rank high in her personal pantheon: “If anyone’s gonna pee on him, it’s gonna be me.” If anyone’s gonna snicker, it’s gonna be us.

Oct 19 2012 | Read Full Review of The Paperboy

Entertainment Weekly

Despite what Miami Times reporters Ward James and Yardley Acheman later believe is a startling lack of evidence, Van Wetter was quickly convicted of the sheriff's murder and sentenced to die.

Jan 27 1995 | Read Full Review of The Paperboy

The Telegraph

23 May 2012 Cannes: Killing Them Softly, review 23 May 2012 Cannes from another angle 24 May 2012 Nicole Kidman on Cannes red c...

May 24 2012 | Read Full Review of The Paperboy

Huffington Post

Still, such moments (and the film as a whole, really) invite inevitable comparisons to another trashy film noir from the summer, "Killer Joe," which found respected, well-known actors (including McConaughey again, Thomas Haden Church, Gina Gershon and Emile Hirsch) slumming as desperate lowlifes.

Oct 03 2012 | Read Full Review of The Paperboy

Huffington Post

A local woman named Charlotte Bless (Nicole Kidman), who gets her kicks corresponding with Death Row inmates, has become involved with a convict named Hillary Van Wetter (John Cusack), awaiting execution for murdering a sheriff.

Oct 01 2012 | Read Full Review of The Paperboy

The Boston Globe

I don’t know whose idea it was to cast Zac Efron alongside Matthew McConaughey and underneath Nicole Kidman, or whose idea it was to have a black maid narrate the movie and to have Macy Gray underplay the bejesus out of that maid.

Oct 11 2012 | Read Full Review of The Paperboy

Denver Post

Ward hires Jack — a college swim champ now delivering newspapers — as a chauffeur.

Oct 19 2012 | Read Full Review of The Paperboy


Bottom line: Almost too faithful to the Pete Dexter novel it's based on, this movie starts out fast, funny and sexy, then descends into morbid violence.

Oct 24 2012 | Read Full Review of The Paperboy

Chicago Tribune

"Unabashedly raunchy and playfully tongue-in-cheek, 'The Paperboy' is wholly committed to crassness," he wrote, adding: "It's remarkable to see what Lee Daniels can convince his A-list actors to do."

Oct 04 2012 | Read Full Review of The Paperboy

Time Out New York

American writer-director Lee Daniels follows the heart-on-his-sleeve emotional wallop of 'Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" By Sapphire' with 'The Paperboy', an all-at-sea adaptation of a Pete Dexter novel that strives to mix crime with camp.

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The Hollywood Reporter

Related John Hillcoat 'Lawless' Cannes 2012 Gerard Butler Cannes 2012 Chris O'Dowd on his movie 'The Sapphires' which premiered at Cannes.

May 24 2012 | Read Full Review of The Paperboy

Rolling Stone

Ward's younger brother Jack (a surprisingly vivid Efron), who delivers the local paper published by his and Ward's daddy (Scott Glenn), thinks Charlotte sizzles.

Oct 04 2012 | Read Full Review of The Paperboy

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