BOOKS - SUMMARY

- A MATTER OF GRACE

It was a bet. A simple bet. No one was supposed to die.

In 1993, American companies were cutting jobs at a rate of two-thousand a day. Ann McKenzie was bound and determined not to become one of those statistics ... again.

A MATTER OF GRACE dares to expose the ugly side of the American economy. It lifts up the rock and looks directly at the harsh economic realities where continued corporate downsizing has broken all unwritten social laws and the impact has left survivors angry, cynical, and scared.

A modern day Faust, A Matter of Grace tells the story of Ann McKenzie, a struggling sales assistant at a cable TV network trapped between the life she thinks she wants, personified by her boss, Senior Vice President Advertising Sales, Joanne Lugano, and the life she fears the most, Joy, a homeless woman on the streets of Manhattan. The story begins with the abrupt downsizing of the offices of the Entertaining Movie Network, which sets into motion a bizarre series of events culminating in a bet between Joanne Lugano and Ann McKenzie. A bet that enables McKenzie to keep her job for the year; but entangles Joy in an unsuspecting game of life and death.

Through the course of the novel, we follow Ann McKenzie as Joy leads her into the bowels of Manhattan and the world of the dispossessed and homeless. We learn more about the pressure-cooker life in the world of advertising sales as we watch Lugano battle demons in her life that are both real and imagined. We meet, Jack Conner, the youngest member of the ad sales team, who, eager to move up, initiates an affair with Ann McKenzie. And, despite his reputation and her fear of being used, Ann invites his attention. We meet, Hugh Wagner, a 62 year-old veteran of the TV business who disapproves of the bet, is leery of the sincerity of any office romance, and is keenly aware of the changing social climate of the world outside as he acts like a megaphone of doom with daily reports of plant closings and continual layoffs. But it is Hugh who ultimately holds a card over Lugano's head that could prove to be her undoing, if McKenzie is tough enough to use it.

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