Rumple’s debut novel features businessmen and their bankers caught up in the turmoil of the Great Recession.
Craig Patterson has been caught in an affair with a female colleague at the bank where he works and is now trying to piece together the tatters of his marriage. His emotionally distraught wife Kathy is seriously contemplating divorce. An executive in the work-out department of Paine Mountain Bank & Trust, in Phoenix, Ariz., Patterson’s latest file is that of the bank’s largest customer, Mogollon Assembly Company, which has fallen behind on the payments on its $60 million loan. Mogollon is run by the two sons of the company’s founder George Stanton, an abusive man who accuses his sons of ruining his company. The sons, Frank and Jim, have a new deal with Bakrik Electric that could save their company, but to do it they need an additional $16 million in financing. Patterson discovers that Bakrik has a shady reputation and joins his bosses in deciding that the bank cannot take such a risk. The brothers go ahead anyway and plunge their company further into financial straits. The last straw comes when Bakrik Electric refuses to pay what they owe to Mogollon, citing nonexistent quality defects. This drives Frank Stanton over the edge and to drastic action. The novel has many passages that ring true to life. The author, a banker himself, knows his milieu and the human costs of an economy in recession. But, having laid the groundwork, Rumple pushes the plot forward without an accompanying development of the nuances in the emotional struggles of the characters. The result is that the book ends abruptly, with a build-up to the climax that seems rushed, leaving the final scene and the book’s resolution lacking in justification.
An affecting look at economic pain, but lacking enough depth to fully resonate with readers.