A debut novel tells the tale of a young, successful investment banker.
At the age of 25, Frank Parker finds himself on top of the world. An investment banker who makes oodles of money and sleeps with countless women, he thinks of himself as a genius or in other words, an Alpha. He sums up his position rather bluntly by saying, “I’m a winner. This is because I’m fucking smart.” But how did he become this way? Tracing the roots of his alpha-ness back to a movie he watched in grade school about a dominant male gorilla, he begins a steep ascent that encompasses fights, steroids, and plenty of sex. It is the last topic to which Frank devotes most of his attention. As the reader is informed, after Frank sees his first pornographic film, he falls in love with “the idea it presented: dominance and power so direct and in such a physical and seemingly pleasurable way.” And so the sexual dominance and power play out in acts of all types, leaving him at one point saying, “I started running out of new hot girls to have sex with.” Graphic at times (as when Frank is having sex with a virgin), this life story is not for the meek. Frank is, by all means, a jerk who gets most of what he wants and cares little about anyone’s feelings along the way. Though shocking in places, the narrative can become tedious. At its best, when Frank uses his own life as a metaphor for finance (for example, when he compares stealing a pencil and selling it to someone in class to the subprime lending crisis), there is certainly enough to keep the reader interested. But to be intrigued by someone like Frank takes a special kind of endurance. Lacking the sheer insanity of Patrick Bateman in American Psycho, Frank certainly has a story to tell, though it is rarely a surprising one.
As vicious and unrelenting as its main character, the book moves quickly but in predictable directions.