Date of Award
Department or Program
Master of Arts in Liberal Studies
“The Razor and The Reel” is a crime fiction novel focusing on the darker side of mass media, the corruption of ideals, and the nature of truth in an uncertain world. It is a nightmarish descent into an alternate history of the American 1920s, where the parallels to today's culture of prevailing despair, social collapse, and ruthless capitalism become increasingly obvious as the novel progresses. The plot follows a trio of gangsters as they attempt to rescue a runaway girl from a small but twisted southern town rampant with religious extremism and racism. This town (modeled after Orlando Florida before Walt Disney World,) is dominated by the construction of a massive theme park, and a media mogul named Joseph Crow (a sort of demonic combination of Walt Disney and David Duke).
The work explores themes of media power and its effects on culture, the use of violence, and the morality of actions within an amoral world. It is a dark and brutal novel, surreal, bloody, and shrouded in mystery. It is bleak and at times almost nihilistic, save that it reminds us to treasure the company of those who stand by our side.
Mayes, Lee, "The Razor and The Reel" (2023). Dartmouth College Master’s Theses. 79.
Available for download on Wednesday, August 13, 2025