Elevate Difference

Uptown

The dark psyche of greed gone wild is at the heart of Uptown. In this energetic and sexy page turner of a story about the high stakes world of Manhattan real estate, winners take all—but the price turns out to be far more than they negotiated for... and this is before the real estate market bubble burst!

In a nutshell, Uptown tells the story of the Dixon family’s real estate empire and its controversial plan to develop the Dixon Plaza on Central Park North. The Plaza, a high-rise luxury building, is certain to change the face of Harlem forever.

Not everyone is happy with this idea, especially Avery Lyons, whose cousin, Dwight Dixon, has inherited his father’s share of the family empire. Dwight is eager to catapult the family’s Harlem-based real estate empire into the uber-luxury market, while Avery is concerned with preserving the close-knit feeling of the Harlem she knew as a child. Since Avery holds a significant share in the Plaza property, she is a potential obstacle in the path of Dwight’s greed, which is, as the reader soon learns, rapacious and reckless.

I liked Avery a lot; she comes across as a strong woman with a conscience without sounding like a naïvely provincial childish scold. At first willing to sell her share, Avery soon discovers that there are problems galore with the complex: backroom dealings, cheap fixtures, and flagrant disregard for sound structural building codes and more problems. Avery worries about what to do: let it go or blow the whistle?

The Plaza is a metaphor for the Dixon family, as secrets and lies threaten to shake the foundation of both structures. The story examines which is more important: Family loyalty or money? Politics or truth? Integrity or underhandedness?

This is whip smart writing that is fast-paced, emotionally deep, and timely in this modern era of the real estate hustle in all its bloated glory. Uptown is a good story, not your garden variety mass market, frothy paperback that is full of stereotypical characters. The dialogue is rich, real, and witty. This is one of those books that makes you want to keep reading even when you know you need to shut off the light and go to sleep. Instead you’ll be thinking, "just one more page!"

Written by: Cheryl Reeves, March 2nd 2010

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