[In The Dream Team, Joe McGinniss] has chosen the world of the racetrack as his motif. When the muses are calling the parade to post, he sprints along at a pretty snappy pace. When he deals with the problems of a successful writer whose career and marriage are collapsing, the going gets as sloppy as a rainy Wednesday at Aqueduct.
The book opens with a prologue concerning two young men who are planning a tour of Southern tracks. The narrator-hero (later to become the best-selling author) goes back in time and convincingly documents his love for the ponies…. So far, so good. The reader gets a hint he might be in for one of those hardboiled treats James M. Cain used to serve up….
The story now shifts abruptly to a Saturday in San Francisco. The writer is there on tour—plugging his best seller with his bankroll soaring but his soul descending. He forms a three-person parlay with an aspiring female journalist named Jennifer and a talk-show host, Barnaby Blaine. Barnaby's real avocation is touting horses, with enough paraphernalia to make the Rand Corporation envious. (p. 34)
Jennifer is one of those dismally platitudinous love-children who seem to be serving as beacons for disgruntled older men in literature these days. (pp. 34-5)
The book starts moving again after the trio head for Hialeah. McGinniss builds a surrogate father-son relationship between Blaine and the writer,...
(The entire section is 441 words.)