The Decadents

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Pub Date 26 May 2022 | Archive Date 31 Dec 2022

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Description

Phil Ochs has his troubles. His adult son is a failed artist who’s targeting him in a terroristic poetry campaign, his wife has developed an addiction to As Seen On TV gadgets, and a professional rival is poaching managers from his seventeen Fry Buddy fast food franchises.

Worst of all, Phil is a southern conservative who shares a name with a famous liberal folksinger. It’s this lifelong association, he believes, that’s denied him the respect he’s always craved. Who could take him seriously, after all, when his name evokes thoughts of that radical hippie tree-hugger?

When he loses a coveted business award to a producer of testicular implants for neutered pets, Phil is finally through being disrespected. He devises a scheme that’s certain to bring him notoriety. Whether that means becoming a figure of admiration or of national hatred will all depend on how well he conceals the more depraved elements of his plan.

The Decadents is a darkly satiric novel featuring a cast of characters who are unique and unforgettable.


Phil Ochs has his troubles. His adult son is a failed artist who’s targeting him in a terroristic poetry campaign, his wife has developed an addiction to As Seen On TV gadgets, and a professional...


A Note From the Publisher

Book is going through final round of edits, to be complete by the end of January, 2022

Book is going through final round of edits, to be complete by the end of January, 2022


Marketing Plan

- Short print run + POD availability

- Author tour via Barnes and Noble.

- Virtual tour and physical, in store book signings. 

- Publicity campaign / Radio / TV

- Social media promotions

- Media appearances

- Social media campaigns and "live book signings" on Facebook and Instagram.

- Short print run + POD availability

- Author tour via Barnes and Noble.

- Virtual tour and physical, in store book signings. 

- Publicity campaign / Radio / TV

- Social media promotions

- Media...


Available Editions

EDITION Paperback
ISBN 9781956769043
PRICE $17.99 (USD)

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Average rating from 28 members


Featured Reviews

The Decadents
by MC Schmidt
The Decadents is a darkly satirical novel featuring a cast of characters who are unique and unforgettable. I LOVED this book so much. I laughed at Phil Ochs and his family until tears and waking my husband could not stop me. What a great book, MC Schmidt is one great writer! I will buy many copies of The Decadents when it comes out for sale.
Thank you, NetGalley and MC Schmidt the honor of laughing and finding just the right one.Best of this year for humor.

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This book was a true delight and provided a combination of satire and humor that made me chuckle several times. Almost all the characters are lovable with all their flaws, Phil Ochs with his political ambitions, Lillian with her fondness for home gadget purchases and phone chat with the rep from As seen on TV, and of course, their son David Samuel "with all his oddness and flourish for words" and "South Carolina's most dramatic little twit". I look forward to reading more by this author. Thank you, NetGalley and MC Schmidt for this amazing book. I am going to read this again to enjoy it one more time!

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I just love this book so much! Cannot recommend it enough! My first to read by this author but definitely not my last!

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This is a deliciously fun read! I love all the funny flawed characters, and the authors sense of humor throughout!

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'The Decadents' is a darkly humorous tale about backward family dynamics and a derailing political campaign. Comprised mainly of two connected narratives, one being the terse relationship between Phil and his son, David Samuel, and the other Phil's dubious political drive, the novel dips in and out of comedy to stretch and strain the moral limits of the titular decadents.

The story makes an undeniably strong first impression. With a raucously funny exchange between father and son, and the ensuing presentation of David Samuel's eccentric character, we could even say that 'The Decadents' tricks its readers into assuming that the same absurd, jovial humor will persist throughout.

Instead, this lightness deteriorates more and more with every page, until an overall sense of horror begins to outweigh the initial delight. Still, Schmidt never misses an opportunity to insert an amusing thought or interaction into the otherwise somber dealings, such as a "bitchy" cat presumed capable of devouring a corpse before it could ever be discovered. The deeper we delve into the plot, the more surprising and welcome these interjections appear.

One of the novel's highlights is its sharp, rapid-fire dialogue. The uniqueness of each of the characters' way of talking also adds polish to Schmidt's writing. In particular, it's David Samuel's elevated and highly overdramatic speech that serves as a sort of punch line to anything that is said within his vicinity. 

And it's his romanticized conflict with his father that is arguably the most comedic and engaging element of the story. That may be because some of the most inventive descriptions never leave David Samuel's shadow. For example, "his body was a thousand dogs in silky blankets all moving in different directions", as well as Phil's memorable depiction of his son's appearance to his future attacker.

Sadly, after making a shining debut in the first part of the story, the son is delegated to the margins. Instead of acclimating to David Samuel's snark and sass, two-thirds of the novel focus on fleshing out Phil's political aspirations, accommodating all the folly and tediousness that this entails. But seeing as Phil is declared a detestable character by all the people he interacts with, and likely the majority of the readers, this change of direction sucks most of the momentum out of the novel. As a result, though connected, the two plotlines create enough forks in the narrative to give us the impression that we're reading two separate stories.

Perhaps the split wouldn't be as jarring if the political component didn't introduce an entirely new character, Eddie Ellis. Though his presence is later justified, Eddie's own family drama naturally takes away from the attention that could be paid to some of the other neon figures that pop in and out of the story, and whom we are led to care about a great deal more. All the loose ends are tied in the end, but this doesn't change the fact that for most of the novel, we're led to believe that one crucial storyline has been regretfully abandoned.

Most notably, there is very little humor in Eddie's life, and its lack bleeds into the storyline. All thoughts of the comedy promised by the first few chapters of 'The Decadents' flee, and we're left with an accountant of one bleak character's downfall. As the title suggests, the characters are at the forefront of the story, and their personalities inevitably dictate our level of engagement.

Nevertheless, there are some truly uproarious moments, ones that pull full-bodied laughs and induce cramps, and a few more comedic scenes sprinkled throughout. Most importantly, Schmidt's prose is quick-witted and highly intelligent, and leaves you excited for more.

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The novel is an American satire about Phil Ochs, an old republican fast food chain-owner from South Carolina. Plagued by "lack of respect" from the business community and a "weirdo" son who is into poetry, theatre, and the finer things of life that Phil thinks are signs of weakness, he sets out to teach his son a lesson, and to run for the South Carolina Senate against a sure-shot Democratic winner. However, he ends up underestimating all the people he uses to accomplish his missions, and ends up getting very different results than he had hoped for.
This book was a surprise read. While the humour was not really to my taste (far too niche American for a person in a different country to appreciate), the story really started to build up at around 30% of the novel. The characters did initially seem cartoonish (and to some extent remain so until the end), their motivations become clearer in the second act, and that's when the reader can begin to sympathize with them, pathetic and flawed as they are. I personally ended up liking almost all the characters, except perhaps Phil Ochs, whose arc is the least developed of them all. In a sense, he doesn't grow, although everyone else around him does.
Overall, an entertaining read. Will recommend to anyone looking for some lighthearted fun (and has some idea of American culture and politics).

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Thank you to NetGalley and Library Tales for the advance electronic galley of this book in exchange for an honest review.

The Decadents is the story of Phil Ochs, a Southern Republican fast food king, and how he comes to run for state senate. It is also the story of his family, who seem to put the fun in dysfunctional. His son, David Samuel is a would-be artist and poet. His wife, Lillian, lives for “as seen on TV” merchandise, which she discusses at length with the telephone salespeople.
In an effort to turn his son into the man he would like him to be, Phil hatches a…rather unusual plan. As to how that plan turns out—it may depend on which character you ask!
This novel is described as “darkly satiric”. I think that’s accurate. Think Augusten Burroughs. I liked satire a lot more when I was younger—before I saw how close to the mark it often hit. That being said, I found the book to be extremely readable—I finished it quickly—and I really did enjoy many of the characters!

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My first to read by this author but definitely not my last! I love all the funny flawed characters but truly enojoyed the authors satirical humor. The plot was a slow pick up but once it did I couldn’t put it down. If you liked Schitts creek you’ll love this book.

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I try not to look at reviews before I write mine, but I slipped a bit on this one. Most reviewers, myself included, could easily summarize this book as “darkly humorous,” which would be true. The first scene shows the MC, Phil Ochs, at work in one of his many fast food franchises. He takes a call from his son, David Samuel, who is threatening suicide by throwing himself off the roof. Phil advises his son to aim for the neighbor’s yard. A scene like that will get my attention and set off my “wth?” meter, and it for sure will keep me reading.

Here’s the blurb: Phil Ochs is a successful fast food franchisee who despairs of ever achieving the community recognition he feels he deserves, particularly with an odd, poetic son that he despises. In an effort to force his son to grow up, Phil hires a local high school kid to assault David Samuel (who, I need to point out, is twenty three years old). Without discussing it with his wife, Phil decides to run for a local Senate seat at which point we meet Eddie, a washed up, heavy drinking campaign manager whose wife has left him for their (female) attorney. In an attempt to get his career back on track, Eddie convinces Phil to hire him to navigate the election, with no idea that Phil is unelectable.

I saw satire bandied about in a lot of other reviews, as well as consternation that the humor in the first chapters didn’t continue throughout the book. While I’m not sure about the satire, I do agree with the humor – I laughed less after the first few chapters. However, I think a lot of reviewers missed something that screamed out at me – this book is about characters lacking self-esteem and how they go about finding it. Phil needs community recognition, David Samuel needs his father’s recognition, Eddie needs to figure out how to navigate life without his family, Colin needs to reclaim his self-confidence after accepting a bribe to beat up David Samuel, and Lillian (Phil’s wife) just needs someone to talk to; (she finds a captive listener with the Made for TV customer service rep.)
While the book touched on some dark places, it was funny and ended on a hopeful note. Although none of the characters found themselves where they thought they’d be at the end, I think they found what they needed.

I rated this book 3.5 stars. ⭐⭐⭐+

I’d like to thank NetGalley and Library Tales Publishing for making the ARC copy available and I’ve left this review honestly and voluntarily.

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Thank you to NetGalley and Library Tales Publishing for this Advanced Reader Copy, in exchange for my honest review.
I was not sure what to expect from this book. The book started off as a quirky story about a family. The story of Phil, a fast-food franchisee, and his complicated relationship with his son David Samuel. I enjoyed the dark, sarcastic story and it gave a bit of a Wes Anderson film vibe. The book seems to take a turn in the later 2/3 of the book when Phil decides to run for state senate and enter Eddie, a wannabe campaign manager. I found the political aspirations to take away from the dysfunctional family story.

None of the characters are particularly likeable, which makes the story kind of interesting. The dark humor or satire is not for everyone. I actually liked the weird relationship between Phil's wife, Lillian, and her customer service rep, Raj.

If you like quirky, this is the book for you.

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The Decadents by MC Schmidt, is a darkly humorous, satirical, oddball tale focused around a deplorable person named Phil Ochs. Phil is a conservative fast food franchise magnate from South Carolina. And he has problems! One of them hooks you right into the story, as his son David Samuel calls him at work to inform his father that he's on the roof of the family home, and is going to jump. Phil's response, after his trademark "Creeping Jesus!", is to utter a few lines that set the tone for the character and are guaranteed to make you laugh.
As deplorable as Phil himself is and even with the horrible stuff he does, you can see someone you know within him. It's the same with all the characters -- they're recognizable.. Schmidt has done a fine job with writing people whom you can care about even as you laugh at their foibles and shake your head over the zany and ridiculous things they get up to in the story. They all have traits that we can see every day in others around us. Maybe even in ourselves. All of them seem to be searching for some sort of validation too, where ever they may find it. Like Phil's wife Lillian with her room full of "As See On T.V.!" kitchen gadgets (even a corn dog fryer)., and her almost counseling session-like phone calls to Raj at the sales center for her gadgets. Having worked a phone center at one point, I laughed until I almost cried at Raj's response to Lillian's calls.. The author nails some of the confessional types of interactions phone agents get stuck dealing with, with deadly accuracy.
I was a little thrown by the addition of Phil's political consultant, who's story line seemed not humorous, but he still fit in overall with the general story. And he fit with the theme I saw of people looking for someone to say "You're appreciated!" He served a purpose, definitely. But he did slow the story down quite a bit at some points.
Overall, I found myself happy with the book. It did make me laugh. I did wind up interrupting my husband's reading several times so I could read bits aloud to him. The only thing I did not enjoy was the character of Phil's friend with the speech impediment. I know Phil would call me a Snowflake but I don't find punching down funny. Fortunately it was a couple of brief appearances. And Phil himself does admire the man for his refusal to stay away from the tough words (as Phil says).
I'd definitely recommend The Decadents to anyone looking for a laugh, who enjoys satirical and/or dark humor. It's a fast, funny read with a side order of ridiculousness. Imagine Fawlty Towers in the small towns of South Carolina with a strongly Conservative bent. And it was fun to read about where I live too. It definitely hit close to home in many ways. Thank you to NetGalley and Library Tales Publishing for the DRM copy of The Decadents in exchange for my honest review.

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I really enjoyed this book and found it to be really amusing, I liked that the characters were so quirky and just odd in the best possible way. The main character Phil is going through a mid-life crisis of sorts and is trying to find a way to make his legacy and to find a way to improve his relationship with his son and to give him a path moving forward. At the same time, the people that surround him are trying to either support, or mess with him. "Creeping Jesus" this was the perfect blend of dark comedy and satire that I just did not know I needed to read. I want to read more from this author in the future. Thanks for the ARC, NetGalley.

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