A smart shot at the absurdity of Wall Street and the long fall that brought us all down.

GHOSTS OF MANHATTAN

A bond trader living the high life at Bear Stearns starts to see the writing on the wall over the course of a single tumultuous winter.

With his noir-ish debut novel, former broker (and spouse of Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly) Brunt delves not just into the mechanics of the financial crash, but also the mindset that created the explosive state of affairs. Set at the end of 2005, the novel’s entry into the financial world comes via narrator Nick Farmer, a 35-year-old married bond trader. The guy, to put it mildly, is burnt. “There is one noble thing about crime,” he explains. “It is the only true meritocracy on the planet. No one in the crime industry cares whether you went to Harvard or dropped out of the fifth grade. They don’t look at resumes—you eat what you kill.” His life is a textbook case of arrested development, full of nightclubs, coke in bathroom stalls and banter with his crew over items like “stripper glitter.” It’s a trade where making millions just shows you’re incapable of multimillions. Despite his impending self-immolation, Nick steps up when a maladjusted but brilliant analyst asks him to back his report revealing the massive risks of the firm’s practices. He also comes to the rescue when his younger reports do a six-figure job on a hotel room one night, covering for kids who can pay the damages out of their last bonus. In the meantime, he starts a flirtation with Rebecca James, a CNBC reporter who’s digging into the dirty laundry, even as he physically threatens the guy he thinks is having sex with his wife.

A smart shot at the absurdity of Wall Street and the long fall that brought us all down.

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4516-7259-6

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Touchstone/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 16, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2012

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THE GREAT ALONE

In 1974, a troubled Vietnam vet inherits a house from a fallen comrade and moves his family to Alaska.

After years as a prisoner of war, Ernt Allbright returned home to his wife, Cora, and daughter, Leni, a violent, difficult, restless man. The family moved so frequently that 13-year-old Leni went to five schools in four years. But when they move to Alaska, still very wild and sparsely populated, Ernt finds a landscape as raw as he is. As Leni soon realizes, “Everyone up here had two stories: the life before and the life now. If you wanted to pray to a weirdo god or live in a school bus or marry a goose, no one in Alaska was going to say crap to you.” There are many great things about this book—one of them is its constant stream of memorably formulated insights about Alaska. Another key example is delivered by Large Marge, a former prosecutor in Washington, D.C., who now runs the general store for the community of around 30 brave souls who live in Kaneq year-round. As she cautions the Allbrights, “Alaska herself can be Sleeping Beauty one minute and a bitch with a sawed-off shotgun the next. There’s a saying: Up here you can make one mistake. The second one will kill you.” Hannah’s (The Nightingale, 2015, etc.) follow-up to her series of blockbuster bestsellers will thrill her fans with its combination of Greek tragedy, Romeo and Juliet–like coming-of-age story, and domestic potboiler. She re-creates in magical detail the lives of Alaska's homesteaders in both of the state's seasons (they really only have two) and is just as specific and authentic in her depiction of the spiritual wounds of post-Vietnam America.

A tour de force.

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-312-57723-0

Page Count: 448

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Oct. 31, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2017

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Finding positivity in negative pregnancy-test results, this depiction of a marriage in crisis is nearly perfect.

ALL YOUR PERFECTS

Named for an imperfectly worded fortune cookie, Hoover's (It Ends with Us, 2016, etc.) latest compares a woman’s relationship with her husband before and after she finds out she’s infertile.

Quinn meets her future husband, Graham, in front of her soon-to-be-ex-fiance’s apartment, where Graham is about to confront him for having an affair with his girlfriend. A few years later, they are happily married but struggling to conceive. The “then and now” format—with alternating chapters moving back and forth in time—allows a hopeful romance to blossom within a dark but relatable dilemma. Back then, Quinn’s bad breakup leads her to the love of her life. In the now, she’s exhausted a laundry list of fertility options, from IVF treatments to adoption, and the silver lining is harder to find. Quinn’s bad relationship with her wealthy mother also prevents her from asking for more money to throw at the problem. But just when Quinn’s narrative starts to sound like she’s writing a long Facebook rant about her struggles, she reveals the larger issue: Ever since she and Graham have been trying to have a baby, intimacy has become a chore, and she doesn’t know how to tell him. Instead, she hopes the contents of a mystery box she’s kept since their wedding day will help her decide their fate. With a few well-timed silences, Hoover turns the fairly common problem of infertility into the more universal problem of poor communication. Graham and Quinn may or may not become parents, but if they don’t talk about their feelings, they won’t remain a couple, either.

Finding positivity in negative pregnancy-test results, this depiction of a marriage in crisis is nearly perfect.

Pub Date: July 17, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-7159-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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