Novelist James Grippando plunges into the murky waters of high finance in his latest thriller, "Money to Burn." (Avon Books, 432 pages)
The plot centers on Michael Cantella, two-time investment adviser of the year for Wall Street's prestigious investment bank, Saxton Silvers.
While on his honeymoon, his wife, Ivy, disappears from their yacht and is presumed to have drowned and been devoured by sharks.
Four years later, Cantella faces his own deadly shark attack - of the financial kind - as he finds his personal investment accounts suddenly wiped out.
Worse yet, he is implicated in insider trading. As "short sellers" threaten to bury his firm, Saxton Silvers, Michael Cantella is implicated in the murder of the television journalist who broke the story on Saxton Silvers financial woes.
To top things off, his first wife mysteriously reappears in his life and his second wife files for divorce. Cantella faces more than financial and personal ruin as he is running from a deadly assassin known as "Ian Burn" for his preferred method of torture.
Grippando anticipated much of the misdeeds of the recent Wall Street scandals and they provide the backdrop for this intriguing work. He deftly explains various financial concepts such as short selling, credit default swaps, and the infamous "NINA - no income, no assets" mortgages which fueled the hideous housing bubble.
Readers will not know whether to laugh, cry or scream (I felt like doing all three) as Grippando skillfully uncovers the idiocy in high finance which caused so much havoc to our nation's economy. The author proves that the financial section of the newspaper can read like a classic crime thriller.
Sprinkled throughout this taut tale of mischief and mayhem on Wall Street are lovely references to a number of the architectural jewels found throughout Manhattan including the beautiful St. Thomas Episcopal Church.
The publisher, Harper Books, has provided a preview of James Grippando's ninth novel in his popular attorney Jack Swyteck series, "Afraid of the Dark."