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A nation on the verge of a new era-and a girl caught between her past and the ever-expanding present.
Now a Los Angeles Times Bestseller!
The year is 1972, and the beaches of Los Angeles are the center of the world. Dropping into the embers of the drug and surf scene is Suzy Whitman, who has tossed her newly minted Vassar degree aside to follow her older sister into open skies and the borderless adventures of stewardessing for Grand Pacific Airlines.
In Sela del Mar, California-a hedonistic beach town in the shadow of LAX-Suzy skateboards, suntans, and flies daily and nightly across the country. Motivated by a temporary escape from her past and a new taste for danger and belonging, Suzy falls into a drug-trafficking scheme that clashes perilously with the skyjacking epidemic of the day.
Rendered in the brilliant color of the age and told with spectacular insight and clarity, Fly Me is a story of dark discovery set in the debauchery of 1970s Los Angeles.
About the Author
Daniel Riley is a Senior Editor at GQ Magazine. He grew up in Manhattan Beach, California, and lives in New York City. This is his first novel.
One of the Best Books of the Summer - Marie Claire, Publishers Weekly, Goop, PopSugar
"Riley conjures a Technicolor vision of seventies California and casts Suzy's ambition as a feminist quest for self-determination. Her exploits build to a climax that suggests the book's title is not so much an invitation as a challenge."—The New Yorker
"Riley has a stylish grasp of setting as the axis of place and time, writing about the era with captivating authority, palpable texture and a sure-footed knack for rebuilding a moment out of its pop detritus. Enthusiasts of '70s music and literature will tumble into delightful pockets of nostalgia...Ultimately, Riley's vividly realized setting and Suzy's firecracker spirit collide in a surprising whiplash climax."—The New York Times Book Review
"Fly Me, by Daniel Riley... knocked my shoes off. I wasn't expecting any of it.... The surprises in the last 50 pages made the whole book exciting.... [Suzy Whitman] is capable of anything... She's taking liberation beyond the boundaries you'd expect."—Michael Silverblatt, National Public Radio's KCRW
"An excellent time capsule of '70s nostalgia, capturing that devil-may-care beach-culture vibe."—Marie Claire
"A stunning and dangerous ride set in the skies of 1972... Throughout Fly Me, Riley paints a seductive and psychologically intense picture of the times, combining political change, sex, drugs, and a painful coming of age with the idyllic backdrop of a Pacific paradise."—Interview
"One of the summer's freshest novels... Suzy Whitman, like Cher and Elle before her, is a classic California Girl. She explores, she subverts, and despite her tireless chorus of critics, she always finds a way back to herself."—Refinery29
Fly Me "is a vibrant, pitch-perfect rendering of decadent beachside youth culture, with its surfing, drugs, rock 'n' roll, and all-day parties.... It's a well-plotted, tension-filled novel that shows how the curiosity and invincibility of youth might cause an innocent (if tough) young woman to drift into the underworld... Riley keenly portrays the confusion and frustration of youth."—Los Angeles Review of Books
"Fly Me... is a story about people moving around in a self-imposed haze--knowing, on some level, that it can't last, but wanting to stretch it out as long as they can anyway... Almost every page of the book made me think of Lana Del Rey."—Stereogum
"What a trip this novel is... It's Riley's debut novel and it's the perfect balance of grit and gloss."—Publishers Weekly
"Fascinating, intense, and passionately told, at times reminding us of another coming-of-age story, Emma Cline's The Girls... You'll be hard-pressed to put this one down."—Goop
"Riley has conjured up impeccable West Coast period atmosphere."—Kirkus
"Daniel Riley writes like he's skipping stones-with a beautifully light touch, perfect precision, and something that feels a lot like magic."—Gin Phillips, author of Fierce Kingdom and The Well and the Mine
"Suzy Whitman, Fly Me's central figure, is one of the most compelling and beautifully realized characters I've read in many a moon. And she inhabits an era-the seventies-that has much to say to us in these parlous times of ours. This is a dazzling debut by an important new novelist."—Robert Olen Butler, author of Perfume River
"Daniel Riley's Fly Me conjures the feeling of a long-passed decade in living color, flesh and bone-redolent with risk and possibility. This riveting novel is a window into a world we've all forgotten we come from."—Madison Smartt Bell, author of All Souls' Rising
"Standing right at the corner of Don Winslow and Exile on Main Street, Daniel Riley conjures something remarkable-an unerring fusion of contemporary white-knuckle thriller and rawly elegant period piece, set at the moment the Vietnam-era counterculture cracked open wide enough to fly a skyjacked plane through. If scintillating writing and Hitchcockian dread weren't enough, Riley also gives us Suzy Whitman, a classical heroine thrust by history and circumstance into the dangerous territory of modern autonomy, with uncharted modern consequences. Absolutely first-rate. I loved this book."—Malcolm Brooks, author of Painted Horses
"With thin, wild mercury rhythms and electrifying prose, Daniel Riley's debut announces the arrival of a masterful novelist, giving flashes of Don DeLillo, Joan Didion, Dana Spiotta, even a glint of Thomas Pynchon. Fly Me does for seventies L.A. what Garth Risk Hallberg did for New York City in the same period. This is one to gulp down, and then savor."—Daniel Torday, author of The Last Flight of Poxl West
"Fly Me is a vivid, virtuosic novel. Daniel Riley conjures a place and time as vibrant and compelling as the embattled young woman at the heart of this story."—Scott O'Connor, author of Half World
"Fly Me digs under the endless summer sand of Southern California to confirm what every young person suspects: the world is a conspiracy. I cheered as Riley's heroine, Suzy, broke free from the sinister forces controlling her destiny to chart her own crazy flight plan."—Jeffrey Rotter, author of The Only Words That Are Worth Remembering