Friday, April 9, 2010

Book #33 – Money to Burn

51z2Wh-HZSL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_ This reminds me more of a Stephen Frey novel, but Money to Burn is a Grippando, and perhaps his best one year. In this one we have a rising star in the investment bank world, a young man that is the youngest investment advisor to win an award at a prestigious Wall St. firm. He’s on vacation in 2003, with a new girlfriend and they sneak away from the 300ft rented yacht his firm owns. They rent their own sailboat and get married. The next morning he wakes up to find his bride has disappeared.

Cut to 4 years later, where he’s on his way to another dinner event. He’s rich, married to a new wife, and still a star. However in a novel that’s written from the headlines of the past couple years, the sub prime mortgage crisis is looming and he’s warned his firm.

However that’s not the issue. He checks his balance on the accounts to find his entire portfolio, worth millions, has been liquidated and transferred offshore. He contacts his firm, and it appears to be an identity theft crisis. Until the next morning when all of a sudden it appears the subprime crisis has hit, and his firm is about to take a $20billion writedown. Survivable, but a bad one. And with the stock of his company falling it appears that he might be the one that shorted a lot of the stock.

Now he’s not a victim, but a suspect. As he races to try and clear his name, there appears to be a conspiracy afoot.  The book builds, but then ends in an almost too quick, too unbelievably fashion as his dead first wife reappears.

The writing is good at the beginning, like the other Grippandos, but then he struggles to cleanly finish the book. The story gets a little too fantastic, with mobsters and assassins running around, but it’s an exciting read until the last few dozen pages. Then it seems to end too quickly, too suddenly, and too conveniently.

However it was a fun read, and you almost are cheering for the bad guys here as it appears we have a nice target for the subprime crisis.

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