cover image All Together Now

All Together Now

Matthew Norman. Ballantine, $27 (288p) ISBN 978-1-984821-09-6

In Norman’s bittersweet latest (after Last Couple Standing), a self-made billionaire is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and invites his three high school besties to spend one last weekend together. Robbie Malcolm, 35, has a sprawling mansion on Fenwick Island, off the coast of Delaware, where his friends arrive for a kind of living wake. There’s Blair McKenzie, who put aside her dreams of being an artist to lead a much more conventional life; Wade Stephens, an unsuccessful novelist living in New York and facing eviction; and Cat Miller, a Los Angeles television producer who quit her job after a yearlong affair with the show’s star, Gabrielle Torres, who refused to leave her husband for Cat. Robbie reveals the news of his terminal illness; tells Blair, Wade, and Cat about the unhappy secrets they’re keeping from one another; and details a plan to use his fortune to make them happy. But a dogged reporter crashes the weekend and reveals Robbie has his own secrets. The author has some apt things to say about the temptations and limits of wealth, and the plot builds to a series of climaxes that elicit genuine emotion. This is spot-on escapist entertainment. Agent: Jesseca Salky, Salky Literary Management. (June)