Read The Adjustment by Scott Phillips Online


Wichita, 1946. The war is over, and the boys are coming home. But some cannot adjust to the nonviolent world of civilian life. "The Adjustment "follows Wayne Ogden careening like a pinball through a troubled postwar Midwest. Wayne, an ex-supply sergeant, black marketer, and pimp, is trying hard to make it as a husband, father and civilian in Wichita, Kansas. But old temptaWichita, 1946. The war is over, and the boys are coming home. But some cannot adjust to the nonviolent world of civilian life. "The Adjustment "follows Wayne Ogden careening like a pinball through a troubled postwar Midwest. Wayne, an ex-supply sergeant, black marketer, and pimp, is trying hard to make it as a husband, father and civilian in Wichita, Kansas. But old temptations keep crying out to him as he serves as bag-man and procurer for his elderly and increasingly debauched boss, Everett Collins, founder of Collins Aircraft Company, and Wayne's wandering eye makes it hard for him to stay true to his beautiful, trusting young wife Sally. A series of events further complicates matters: A boardroom conspiracy at Collins aimed at throwing him out on the street; his increasing certainty that he knows the identity of the Wichita Butcher, whose specialty is leaving severed body parts in public places; and finally, his failure to identify the author of a series of poisoned pen letters from someone who knows more about his recent past than he wants revealed. When these elements converge, it's all Wayne can do to keep his wits about him and orchestrate a bloody series of events that will determine whether he can stay in his hometown or go on the run. Wayne's problem is that he doesn't know which prospect sounds worse....

Title : The Adjustment
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781607477303
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 191 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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The Adjustment Reviews

  • Jeffrey Keeten
    2018-08-25 20:37

    ”Doctor Groff was his usual curt self, but I could tell he was impressed to have such a luminary in his office. I offered to leave the room but Collins wanted me there. We sat across the desk from the doctor, who made a steeple of his fingers and nodded, frowning, at everything Collins said.'I don't believe you,' Groff said when the old man repeated his boast of having gotten laid every day of his adult life.'Well, damn near anyway. Some days more than once so it amounts to the same thing.'Groff shrugged. 'And when you're drunk you still manage?''Hell, yes.''And how many prescriptions for Hycodan are you current with?'Collins looked over at me in search of an answer.'Four,' I said. 'But the other three are at higher dosages than the ones you write.'Groff nodded, rubbed his temples, closed his eyes. 'Mr. Collins, it's a tribute to your virility that this is the first time you've failed to achieve an erection, given the amount of opiates in your system.' The doctor's eyes popped open. 'How are your bowel movements?''When I manage to have one these days it's a big one.''Severe constipation is another symptom.''Are you telling me that I can't have pills any more?''You can have them if you want them. You just have to accept that they have other, unintended effects.''But if I want to have relations with a girl I have to quit.''You think about it. Have Mr. Ogden contact me if you want my help.'Outside we got into the car. When I pulled away from the curb he tapped me on the shoulder (he was of course riding in the back seat). 'You got any medicine on you? I need to think about this business real hard.'”Technically, Wayne Ogden works for the PR department of Collins Aircraft, but really he is just a babysitter for the founder Everett Collins. Technically, during the war, he worked as a Quartermaster for the army, but his real money was made as a black marketeer and as a pimp. Any respectability that Ogden has is a facade. He supplies Collins with the things he needs, such as opiates, booze, and women. He gets his boss hooked on opiates and hooked good. It makes The Old Man more dependent on good, old Wayne. Whenever he orders hookers for Collins, he always makes sure to add one or two more women to the bill for his own pleasure. Ogden is always looking for an angle, and one of those angles involves silk stockings. ”I took the bus downtown. There was a very pretty redhead seated across the aisle from me, and she gave me a such a warm and inviting smile that I nearly moved over to try and pick her up. But I reminded myself that I was here to see Vickie, not to accost strange women on public transportation. She crossed her bare legs and I chuckled inwardly at the thought that the stockings I was about to procure for Vickie were probably all it would take to separate the redhead’s pretty knees.”I was chuckling along with Ogden, but not for such nefarious purposes. When the company that I’m one of the owners of was first starting out after World War Two (I wasn’t one of the owners then, just to clarify. I’m old, but I’m not that old.) and needed subscribers for their farm publication, the Air Force pilot who was the publisher/owner somehow procured a shipment of silk stockings. (Maybe he knew Wayne Ogden.) With every subscription purchased, the company would send out a pair of silk stockings, and farm wives, as it turned out, wanted silk stockings as badly as the women in the cities. The farm publication grew by leaps and bounds, and the farm wives looked snappy in their silk stalkings in the pews at church on Sunday. Wayne is married to a lovely woman who reminds everyone of a movie star. Except for her looks, Wayne really couldn’t give a damn about her, and when she gets a bun in the oven, he cares even less. The loose, free, and easy lifestyle Wayne acquired in the War is hard to shake. He is having difficulty making The Adjustment to civilian life in Wichita. An unknown enemy from the war is sending Ogden threatening letters, which he is not as worried about as he is curious. As his relationship spirals out of control with The Old Man, he continues to try to manipulate events, resorting to blackmail, extortion, and even more creatively concocted forms of exploitation. He knows that his days in Wichita are coming to an end, but he plans to leave a few goodbye presents for those who thought they could get the best of Wayne Ogden. Saying I admired Wayne Ogden would be inaccurate, but I did wonder what it would be like to only be thinking about myself and the pleasures that I could partake of every day. Almost every woman he found attractive, he made some kind of play for. Every scam he came across, he thought about how to cut himself in. His feral, single mindedness would no doubt eventually get him killed, or he could end up a filthy rich, old man. The rich don’t get rich playing by the same rules that we do, and Ogden hasn’t met a law he wouldn’t bend or a rule he wouldn’t break. A guy like him might even end up President of the United States. HARDBOILED WITH A CAPITAL H. If you wish to see more of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit http://www.jeffreykeeten.comI also have a Facebook blogger page at:

  • James Thane
    2018-09-18 22:51

    Wayne Ogden was a corrupt supply sergeant in the Quartermaster Corps during World War II. Now that the war has ended, he's attempting, without much success, to adjust to civilian life in Wichita, Kansas. Ogden has landed a job in the PR department of Collins Aircraft, but he actually knows little or nothing about public relations. His principal responsibility is babysitting his wealthy employer, Everett Collins, who founded the company before the war but who is now interested principally in booze, women and dope. It's Ogden's responsibility to keep Collins supplied on all fronts and at the same time to keep him out of trouble.Odgen is married to a beautiful, sexy and lusty wife. But for some inexplicable reason, he prefers his nightly carousing with his boss to the comforts of his hearth and home. He's also the target of threats dating back to his misadventures in the war, and he misses the carefree and profitable life he enjoyed in the Quartermaster Corps. Before long, he's involved in a variety of sordid activities that place him at considerable risk.It's hard to root for Wayne Ogden; they guy is pretty reprehensible. At the same time, though, it's hard to look away from his story. It's like watching a train wreck in slow motion: you know the end result is going to be a helluva mess, but there's something poetic in seeing it unfold before you. Noir fans may not like Wayne Ogden very much, but most of them will enjoy this book.

  • Josh
    2018-09-21 22:24

    Reminds me a lot of the sleazy pulps by Orrie Hitt and to a lesser extent Lawrence Block (written under his many aliases) by which the central character is adulterous and without morals. Lust drives his desire for womanly conquest despite having an attractive pregnant wife at home. True, there aren’t many redeeming qualities to Wayne Ogden, a war vet of sorts who dealt in prostitutes and goods prior to taking up a job at Collins Aircraft as the boss’ bodyguard nee babysitter, but that’s the point – Ogden isn’t meant to be liked. The story heats up nicely when Ogden learns of a plot to remove him from Collins Aircraft rendering him jobless. In a desperate bid to stop this from happening he uses blackmail to damaging effect which not only lands in him hot water by the company, but has the law sniffing around crying bloody murder. THE ADJUSTMENT is an interesting novel. It’s part pulp, part noir, part exploitation yet easily readable with enough anticipation coming through to balance out the slow building story. I would recommend this for fans of noir and the sleaze pulps by Orrie Hitt.

  • Still
    2018-08-28 03:51

    This novel -set in Wichita, Kansas in 1946- reads like a cross between Raymond Chandler and Jim Thompson.The protagonist/narrator (Wayne Ogden) is one year out of the Army having served in Italy during World War II moonlighting as a Quarter Master Sergeant but in reality gainfully employed as a pimp and black marketeer.Wayne is a sociopath with an insatiable appetite for mayhem and finding fall guys he can fit into any series of the endless frame-ups he devises whenever it suits him or can further endear him to his boss. He has returned to his post-War job for an aviation company as the head of the publicity and marketing department. That's his title only and not his actual job description.His job involves babysitting Everett Collins, the elderly alcoholic whore mongering owner of the company, a contemporary of Lindbergh and the wealthiest reprobate in town.The novel is episodic, hilarious, and frequently violent.Imagine Philip Marlowe's sardonic observations paired with Lou Ford's capacity for mischief. On page 102, Ogden has taken Collins to see a doctor regarding some unpleasant side effects Collins has been experiencing since apparently becoming addicted to the pain killer Hycodan:The next morning before office hours I called Doctor Ezra Groff and arranged to bring Collins in for an early visit. When we arrived, Collins had on dark glasses and an old black overcoat of my own whose arms were a little short for him and a black slouch hat. He was addled that morning and, for the first time since I'd known him, seemed actually frail.[Doctor Groff] was his usual curt self, but I could tell he was impressed to have such a luminary in his office. I offered to leave the room but Collins wanted me there. We sat across the desk from the doctor, who made a steeple of his fingers and nodded, frowning, at everything Collins said.'I don't believe you,' Groff said when the old man repeated his boast of having gotten laid every day of his adult life.'Well, damn near anyway. Some days more than once so it amounts to the same thing.'Groff shrugged. 'And when you're drunk you still manage?''Hell, yes.''And how many prescriptions for Hycodan are you current with?'Collins looked over at me in search of an answer.'Four,' I said. 'But the other three are at higher dosages than the ones you write.'Groff nodded, rubbed his temples, closed his eyes. 'Mr. Collins, it's a tribute to your virility that this is the first time you've failed to achieve an erection, given the amount of opiates in your system.' The doctor's eyes popped open. 'How are your bowel movements?''When I manage to have one these days it's a big one.''Severe constipation's another symptom.''Are you telling me that I can't have pills any more?''You can have them if you want them. You just have to accept that they have other, unintended effects.''But if I want to have relations with a girl I have to quit.''You think about it. Have Mr. Ogden contact me if you want my help.'Outside we got into the car. When I pulled away from the curb he tapped me on the shoulder (he was of course riding in the back seat). 'You got any medicine on you? I need to think about this business real hard.'There are so many other memorable passages I could cite but hardly any of them are what would qualify as "acceptable in polite company".I loved this novel.I think most fans of hardboiled/crime lit would enjoy this novel just as much as I did.

  • Tuck
    2018-08-22 21:22

    this publisher went bust, but counterpoint is taking book and publishing it in 2011? yes!after a Loooong wait scott phillips gets his new novel out, and it;s a doozy of fighting, fucking, hopping and hangovers, plus some dirty dealings with dirty docs, helping hands to some who deserve it and revenge, cuckolding, senseless violence, history lessons about history you never hear about, and Kansas. maybe not as tight of plot (hell, it's barely there) as his earlier Cottonwoodand not maybe as intriguing as the 2 interconnected Ice Harvest and Walkawaybut still has lots of Phillips signatures: beautifully polished sentences, gut chilling violence, sick sexual beings, and of so flat Wichita. In some ways then this new long-awaited novel isn't as good of the earlier ones because of plot, and in other ways this is by far the best he has written because of craft. (Gass would have been proud, that;s how good)

  • Mitch Duckworth
    2018-09-08 01:46

    Thoroughly enjoyed. Its 3.77 average rating is too low IMHO. I knew Scott Phillips only as the author of the novel, The Ice House, which admittedly, I've never read, but I appreciate the movie no end . . . so, it's been on my To Read list for too long, and I haven't read it yet. I found a copy of The Adjustment in my favorite used bookstore and savored every line.I am now a Scott Phillips fan and intend to read more of him soon.

  • Amy
    2018-09-04 19:44

    Reviewed for Library Journal in August:LJ Express ReviewsMeet Wayne Ogden, a former master sergeant in the U.S. Army, who desperately misses the war. Wayne never saw any action but created plenty of it in Italy; his tour was spent pimping girls and fencing stolen goods for a hefty profit. Now back in Wichita, KS, he finds himself saddled with a pregnant wife and the insatiable demands of his boss, Everett Collins. Wayne's job is to keep the old man supplied with women and liquor while keeping his name out of the papers. While he longs for the glory of his old life overseas, Wayne begins to get threatening letters about a whore who came to a tragic end in Italy. Verdict: Written in pitch-perfect noir form, this novel by the award-winning author of The Ice Harvest fails to tell a story worth reading. Vulgar at times, the plot never reaches a true pinnacle, and the anonymous letters seem like an afterthought. Strictly for die-hard noir fans only.-Amy Nolan, St. Joseph P.L., MI (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

  • Michael
    2018-08-31 21:47

    I'm sitting here wondering just why I enjoyed The Adjustment so damn much. Nothing much happens in the way of plot and the main protagonist is a self-interested SOB that can't ditch his pregnant wife fast enough. Still, I was rooting for him by the end and laughing at his demented sense of humor and twisted worldview. Scott Phillips is that good and it's his confident and unique voice, that very rare ingredient to transcendent fiction, that makes this very black noir novel sing. The little details and turns of phrase anchor you in place (1940s Witchita) without overwhelming and all the various side characters (just about every one of them unsavory) are fleshed out with just a quip or a quick, yet spot on description. My only qualm is that Phillips takes so long to write! Still, if that's what it takes to polish these little noir gems, I can be a patient man.

  • Laura
    2018-09-19 00:21

    " Nasty, nasty boy," is the phrase in my head attached to Wayne Ogden, protagonist of The Adjustment. Also, "man slut" and "sociopath." And I mean that in the nicest way. I'm drawn to this tale of a corrupt former WWII quartermaster the way I couldn't look away from both the porn stash and crime mag collections belonging to the sportscaster I used to babysit for. Phillips stays true to noir sensibilities while giving readers actual characters to reckon with. From the dizzying number of willing women to the poor corporate saps who foolishly get in Ogden's way, I cared about them all. Heady stuff, marvelously written.

  • Benoit Lelièvre
    2018-09-17 23:23

    It takes impressive skills to write a crime novel about things such as boredom and domestic alienation. Scott Phillips does it, using a lot of humor and a free-spirited story structure. His character Wayne Odgen is charming, witty, depraved and arrogant, but he's also the craftiest con in the bleak streets of Wichita. THE ADJUSTMENT plays in the league of James Ellroy's L.A Quartet novels in the depiction of mid-century American underworld. Wichita might not be the chaotic urban sprawl of L.A, but it's a mean place to career criminals. Very fun read.

  • Dana King
    2018-09-14 20:36

    Everyone has a writer about whom they say, “No one else writes like this.” Excepting the times the phrase is used as a meaningless platitude (which is too often), this means the author in question has gotten off the main trail and is finding his or her own way and no one is likely to follow because it’s scary down there. No light, no handholds, forks and switchbacks that can get you lost in a heartbeat, never to be heard from again. Sheer rock wall to your left, a thousand-foot drop on your right, and the path is a foot-and-a half wide. Then there’s the bridge across the Gorge of Eternal Peril, where if you fail to give the right answers, your bones will join the others strewn about, the careers of writers who lacked the courage of, and confidence in, their convictions. They should have turned back a long time ago.James Ellroy’s name comes up a lot in such discussions, with good reason. My personal favorite is Scott Phillips.In The Adjustment, Phillips builds his story around a thoroughly unlikeable character (Wayne Ogden). Ogden is a true sociopath, a small-town version of Warren Zevon’s “Mr. Bad Example.” Wayne’s greedy and he’s angry and he doesn’t care who he crosses. He likes to have a good time, and he doesn’t care who gets hurt. Really. Times two.It’s not that Ogden is amoral. He knows what the right thing to do is most of the time, and is willing to do it, so long as it doesn’t interfere with what he wants or feels like doing at the time. He puts up with his pregnant wife’s abysmal cooking because he feels bad when he hurt her feelings one time, then goes out a sleeps with pretty much whoever will have him. He’s a strong advocate on condoms, though it’s primarily because the clap will keep him from getting laid as often as he’d like. This is 1946, so AIDS is not an issue for Wayne. Pregnancy is an issue, but only for his partners.That’s an unappealing picture, and Phillips does nothing to soften Ogden’s aura. Writing in the first person, no apologies are made for Ogden’s actions or attitudes. He is what he is and you can take him or leave him. Ogden’s okay either way, and he’s too busy to talk you into anything. It’s the matter-of-factness that makes the book so readable, that and Phillips’s wit, which is considerable. By “wit,” I don’t mean what passes for wit in popular culture today, Judd Apatow least common denominator cleverness (which, admittedly, can be quite funny), but the dryness present in Thurber or Robert Benchley. Not that either Thurber or Benchley would touch a character like Wayne Ogden with a cattle prod. You’ll read the description of an unsavory, heavy R-rated action through Ogden’s eyes and find a smile growing at the same time your conscience is stripping off its clothes, looking for a place to burn them.The Adjustment is not for everyone. (Including, I believe, Phillip’s agent at the time.) You may find yourself smiling at things that are only funny from Ogden’s perspective. The writing will bring the smile, but any self-aware reader will be unable to escape what an unsavory narrator he is. If you enjoy atypical novels written with understated panache and don’t mind spending time with a main character who will screw your wife and piss in your drink while you’re in the bathroom, you really ought to check it out.

  • Lisa
    2018-08-24 21:48

    “The Adjustment” is gritty and dark, full of sex, prostitution, bad language, drinking, drug abuse, blackmail, fighting and even murder. None of the main characters are heroic, or tragic, or even decent people. Main character Wayne Ogden is not a romanticized Wild West outlaw, he’s someone you don’t want to mess with — whether you realize it or not. And although I couldn't quite root for him, I was curious about what was going to happen to him.The book starts as Ogden is back from WWII, back to his job at an aircraft company, back to his wife. And he’s bored.He’s not a war hero — instead of fighting Nazis, he used his position as a quartermaster to spend the war pimping and black marketeering, managing to smuggle home a significant sum of cash, which he’s stashed away. Now at Collins Aircraft, where he is nominally in charge of public relations and marketing, Ogden’s main job is keeping an eye on and, frequently, cleaning up after his boss, a man of short temper and large appetites. This means spending long nights in speakeasies and procuring prostitutes for hotel liaisons — both for his boss and himself.Clever and resourceful, but also petty and vengeful, Ogden knows when to finesse and when to use force, and does plenty of both.Not long after his return to Wichita, Ogden starts receiving threatening letters — badly written and improperly punctuated, but clearly threatening — obliquely referring to Ogden’s actions as a pimp in Rome. Not so much worried as amused at first, then later a bit wary, Ogden devotes more of his energy to getting illicit prescriptions for his boss, then getting his opiate-addicted boss off the drugs, then scheming to make sure the board members of the aircraft company don’t oust the old man from leadership. Meanwhile, he’s setting up a supply of pornography for an Army buddy stationed in Japan, having a fling with a co-worker and a woman in Kansas City, and seriously meddling in the personal lives of other co-workers."The Adjustment" is unpredictable and fast-paced, and it keeps readers guessing as to whether Ogden is facing a serious threat from the letter-writer or whether it’s simply a nuisance; what’s going to happen with his boss, his wife and his other entanglements; and how it’s all going to end.Phillips’ writing is vivid and smart, and he takes an incisive look at the readjustment of returning veterans to life after wartime, as well as the adjustment the men and women whose lives changed at home have to make as the soldiers return.Plus, it’s fun to see Wichita, Kansas, captured in such a sordid light, and then see Ogden blithely dismiss that picture in a memory of his cousins: “they all went to the picture shows and they pictured Wichita as the very heart of urban sin and decadence. It struck me now that if Wichita really was that way I’d be happy as a clam there.”

  • Scottnshana
    2018-08-21 22:44

    I have to admit, I was pretty amped about reading this book. I liked "The Ice Harvest" (both the book and Harold Ramis's film adaptation), I have enjoyed other books on guys returning from World War II to my hometown (like both my grandfathers did), and I think Phillips has a good, raw style in his prose. One of my best friends (an English teacher) recommended it. At the end of the day, though, I like having a protagonist with which I can empathize, and this book is basically a couple of months in the life of a sociopath. His track record as a soldier, a father, and man in general presents a chain of minimal performances and no regrets. I found myself halfway through the book wishing for the classic noir moment when thugs/angry husband/corrupt cops give the main character a good beating or switchblade up the nose. If you want to read a good dirty book about Wichita in this period, check out Earl Thompson (either "A Garden of Sand" or "Tattoo"). If you want a novel about vets coming home to Wichita and making the "adjustment" to peacetime, I think Jim Lehrer's "Oh, Johnny!" conveys a lot of the real but bitter moments of real life. The common thread here is this--Thompson and Lehrer give the reader a multi-dimensional protagonist and place him in the middle of sour, disappointing life experiences to make a point about decisions we make and their consequences. I'm not sure what point Phillips is trying to convey in this book other than do the bare minimum to get by in life, then leave town when it gets complicated. I think he could have pulled this off--as he did in "The Ice Harvest," if his main character wasn't such a turd.

  • Stuart
    2018-09-02 02:39

    NB: I know Scott in real life and think he is an absolute peachWayne Ogden is a delightful bastard, and Scott Phillips' idiosyncratic postwar Kansas is gritty, grimy and a hell of a lot of fun.Without digging into the details of the plot, The Adjustment deals with America's movement from wartime to peacetime footing, to the social distortions created when hundreds of thousands of shell-shocked GIs returned from WWII, from America's transition from a scrappy upstart to the world's leading industrialist.Full of neon and vice and sex and foul language, this book has a lot going for it. Phillips' characters are at once likable and detestable, and he can turn a phrase tersely and well.There are a few problems--some of the language is slightly repetitive, easily corrected by having someone edit with an eye for style and usage. The other issue has to do with the pacing. The book is either thirty pages too short or thirty pages too long. The first two thirds are enjoyable noir set-pieces that don't quite add up to the fantastically well-executed and heist like final third, an orgy of intelligently-crafted vengeance and bloodshed. Thirty pages less and we get a whiplash-tight novella. Thirty pages longer and we get an in-depth psychological portrait of how someone who wasn't that great to begin with became much, much worse.It's an entertaining read and definitely worth the time and money. Scott's an outstanding artist and I look forward to reading his newest work.

  • Craig Pittman
    2018-09-03 01:51

    The anti-hero of this novel, PR man Wayne Ogden, may be the nastiest fictional narrator I've encountered since reading C.S. Lewis' "The Screwtape Letters." Everything he says and does subverts the dual cliche's of "The Greatest Generation" and Midwestern values. Ogden is a returning Army veteran from World War II -- but his service was in the quartermaster corps, where he made tons of money as a black marketeer and a pimp. Now back home in Wichita, he's got a steady job and a wife who loves him -- but his job is as a bag man, pusher and a procurer for the company CEO and he cheats on his wife every chance he gets. In the course of this book Ogden lies, steals, beats up people, burgles a dead man's house to steal evidence, blackmails executives, even kills a man -- and for the most part has great fun doing it. He experiences not a single moment of remorse. In this short novel Phillips injects a lot of humor and action to keep the reader entertained, and he excels at deft characterization. He really makes Ogden's perverse circle come to life. What he has trouble with is plotting. There really isn't much of a narrative arc here. The one suspenseful part of the story -- someone from Ogden's past is sending him anonyous threatening letters -- has a pretty lame payoff. Ogden solves the mystery almost by accident and deals with the situation pretty easily. Over the course of the novel, Ogden doesn't grow or change one bit. He's exactly as twisted and mean at the end as he was at the beginning. I'd call this diverting noir, but not great noir.

  • Jason Edwards
    2018-08-30 20:27

    I would like to give this one more than three stars, but I enjoyed the book for personal reasons, so I don't know if I can promote 3.5 up to 4. I like the post WWII time-frame of the book, but that's because I've been trying to write novels set in a similar time. Also, the book is set in Wichita, Kansas, where I grew up, so I got a kick out of recognizing a lot of the street names and places.But I have to be honest: I don't really know what the point of the novel was. Unless it was some sort of American-Midwestern twist on existential angst. The hick version of The Stranger-- but that's not an argument I'm prepared to make, much less understand. We follow the main character around while he follows his boss around, getting him his daily dose of prostitutes, drugs, whipping boys for his verbal abuse. All the while he deals with his own schemes, his wife, his reputation and relationships. Sounds fairly pat, doesn't it?Frankly, it is. But like I said, I enjoyed reading it, if only for personal reasons, but you might find something you like in there too. It's an easy read, to be sure, and I'll readily admit that maybe I missed something grand going on. If it turns out I did, I'd be more than happy to read it again, and I think that's praise enough, to say a book is worth a second read.

  • Tony
    2018-09-04 02:45

    THE ADJUSTMENT. (2011). Scott Phillips. **. The title, apparently, comes from the ‘adjustment’ returning GIs had to make to civilian life upon their return after WW II. One such returnee – though not typical – was Wayne Ogden. He spent the war in the Quartermaster Groups in London and Rome, and became one of the ones that knew how to use the system to his advantage. He was a strong proponent of the black market and also pimped on the side. When he returned to his native Wichita, he takes a job with Collins Aircraft, as the president’s go-to guy. The president, Everett Collins, is a thoroughly jaded individual, and uses Wayne to get his girls and drugs for him and to oversee his bodyguards. Wayne does good job but decides that he can ultimately bring down Collins as a personal form of revenge. The story is choppy and the writing reminds you of the cheap paperbacks with the lurid covers from the 1950s. In spite of high-praise blurbs from Michael Connelly and George Pelecanos, the author doesn’t deliver what they seem to promise. Maybe I was just in a bad mood.

  • Alecia
    2018-09-06 00:50

    What a nasty protagonist Wayne Ogden is! This is an almost plotless (very) noir tale that may not be everyone's cup of tea. WWII is over and Wayne is a returning vet, having spent his time quite lucratively during the war as a supply sargeant in the Quartemaster Corps. He pimped girls and traded in stolen goods. He returns to Witchita, Kansas, to his wife Sally, who becomes pregnant (Wayne is not happy about this). Although Sally is described as being absolutley gorgeous, Wayne spends most of his time carousing in clubs with his new boss (he's returned to pimping for him now), and can't seem to stay home. Phillips has some fun describing Sally's atempts to cook meals for her husband to keep him home. Wayne's got so many women out there, it makes the reader's head spin. The novel turns darker as Wayne turns to blackmail and extortion to "help" his addicted boss thwart the board of director's attempt to dislodge him. I thought the ending worked very well.

  • Aaron
    2018-08-21 22:33

    Another stunning display of country pulp western noir. My favorite thing about this book is my favorite thing about books in general. I love when a sentence or chapter leads me into a whole other realm or genre for a spell. In this case Phillips referenced the Machine in Kansas City shortly after Pendergast died which reminded me how I have always wanted to research the vivid organized criminal history in Kansas City. So I thank you Mr. Phillips for yet another awesome portrayal of what really goes in our secret, sordid lives of vice, greed, avarice and lust. I wonder what the world would be like if people were more honest and did not pretend to be well. I find it interesting how nearly every loud mouthed republican, religious fanatic or preacher raging against the sin of drugs and homosexuality always gets caught getting two dollar squeezers high on trucker crank.

  • John M.
    2018-09-01 03:35

    I've read a lot of books, and Wayne Ogden is the biggest jerk of a character I can remember coming across. He's a backstabbing, blackmailing, and brutal person. He cheats on his wife mercilessly, hangs around people he openly despises, and manages to effortlessly get any woman who crosses his path. He gets away with everything and goes out of his way to make everyone else in the novel completely miserable. Did I enjoy the book? More or less. I'd never read a novel set in Wichita before, and the other characters were interesting and colorful. Scot Philips is a good writer who can tell a good story. My biggest criticism is that I couldn't root for Ogden, and it was his story. The writing itself was fine, but I didn't understand Ogden's behavior. Was it PTSD? Or is it simply that Ogden is a misanthropic misogynist?

  • ABC Group
    2018-09-07 00:40

    This was my first foray into Scott Phillips' work and I have to say he writes the antihero narrative well. Wayne Ogden isn't loveable, but he has his appeal. A resourceful functionary in the life of Everett Collins, Ogden is a drug peddler, womanizer and all around thug. He serves his purpose well for Everett, but the realization hit me that he's mostly irredeemable. I like the character a lot, but akin to the myriad of folks on Sopranos, he's simply not a good person. This may seem obvious, but my attraction to him as a likeable guy dissipates as I begin to reflect on his actions. In no way am I slagging how well written Ogden is. This book is great...really great. Like Woodrell and other writers in this genre, Phillips puts forth human flaws and somehow makes them seem not so reprehensible. For fans of literary noir, I highly recommend this book.

  • Gregg
    2018-09-17 21:31

    I found this to be very well written, a good story and able to keep me interested throughout. That being said, it is not always an easy book to read(not for the easily offended or faint of heart). The central character hasn't a single redeeming quality. He only is concerned with his own well being, not his pregnant wife, his employer, no one but himself. He is willing to do whatever it takes to protect himself and his own interests, no matter who he hurts to do it. I usually don't like a story where I can't find anything to like about the main character, but the writing is so crisp, I found myself engrossed in the story despite that. If you like James Ellroy's style of writing,(I am a big fan) you should like this book.

  • Rupert
    2018-09-06 19:29

    Sweet Jesus! You would almost have to go back to Jim Thompson's The Killer Inside Me to find a more brutal tale told from the perspective of a breezy unreliable narrator. The difference being that in Thompson's book the narrator realized he had an unquenchable darkness within, whereas this go blithely destroys everyone in his path seemingly without any conscience whatsoever. The brilliance of the writing being in drawing you in and subversively making you relate to some degree with the sociopath. There might even be a cloaked satire of free market economy within, but that might just be my prejudice.

  • Jean-Paul Adriaansen
    2018-08-30 03:29

    Wayne Ogden, an ex-supply sergeant who “fought” in WW II as black marketer and a pimp, returned to Wichita, KS, to build up a "respectable" living with his beautiful wife.Wayne, although officially a PR-man in Collins Aircraft, is more preoccupied as a “special errand” gofer for his boss, delivering drivers, bodyguards, drugs, and women, not particularly in that order. Readapting (adjusting) to civilian life doesn’t go well when you’re living on the dark sides of life.This book is not for sensitive softies; it is dark, noir and violent, but once you start reading ... it won’t let you go.

  • Patrick O'Neil
    2018-08-21 20:38

    This is the 3rd book of Scott Phillips' that I've read and there seems to be a underlining theme in all of them where the protagonist is a not so good person working under and for "the man." Who's definitely not a good person, in fact he's a scumbag of infinite proportions. There's always illegal activity, corruption, and sexual maladies. The settings are small town middle America. The protagonist, a somewhat likeable rouge. And with these sort of duplicate plots one would think it'd be boringly repetitious, or predictable, but it's not. And with The Adjustment Phillips explores this same scenario even more.

  • John
    2018-09-07 21:24

    Mr. Phillips brings us the post-World War life and times of a veteran pursuing fast money and faster women in a manner familiar to the dark protagonists of Thompson and Cain. While The Adjustment owes a tip of its fedora to those authors, its heightened ultra violence and sexual descriptions manages to feel even more authentic. With a shrewd use of the occasional era specific vernacular ("angel maker" for abortion doctor and "blind pig" for illegal bar) Scott Phillips has crafted a dangerous world that's fun to visit (but I'm glad I don't live there.)

  • Craig
    2018-09-03 03:42

    I liked it, though it was a bit on the episodic side. Not really one connected story so much as vignettes about the main character, who looks worse and worse as the book goes on. Then it just ends--not really a conclusion, but things just tail off. Is this guy coming back in another, more-developed book? I love Phillips' books, and it's great to have him back after too long a stretch, but this one just didn't quite do it for me.

  • James Sajo
    2018-08-24 19:34

    Plenty entertaining! This book is all about the characters, who were vivid and disgusting and vibrant and just fabulous. I felt the story was relegated to a secondary role, as each time the protagonist faced some conflict or challenge, he resolved it with little fanfare. That said, it is worth to read this book just to get to know the cast. Well done.

  • Harvey
    2018-09-04 01:44

    A fascinating homage to the noir classics of the 40s. An Army Quartermaster/Black Marketeer/Pimp adjusts to life back in Wichita after WWII. At heart he is still a scam artist; can he make it work stateside?I've really enjoyed Scott Phillips' work ever since The Ice Harvest and it's nice to see he is in good form here.

  • Jason Pastor
    2018-09-11 19:40

    Lame- the first person narrator is annoying as all hell- modern writers need to accept the fact that they cannot write like the old hard boiled masters, and this book is a prime example. What a colossal waste of time this turd of a book was.