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IN BED WITH WALL STREET

THE CONSPIRACY CRIPPLING OUR GLOBAL ECONOMY

An important book that could have been much better with improved writing and greater insider sharing by Doyle.

A former Wall Street insider excoriates the current nonsystem of alleged self-regulation and weak government regulation in the finance industry.

After being employed as a mortgage-backed securities trader at Bank of America, Bear Stearns and other large financial firms, Doyle became disillusioned and departed. He now runs his own investment practice and serves as something of a whistle-blower. The problems he discusses are mostly familiar to readers conversant in current American politics: the coziness of legislators and lobbyists; campaign contributions meant to sway thinking and, sometimes, votes; government regulatory agencies, such as the Securities and Exchange Commission, that seem more watchful than they are, as well as so-called self-regulatory groups within the Wall Street community that rarely protect investors from inexcusable financial losses. With great intensity, Doyle focuses on a little-known self-regulator called the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. His deep digging into the operations of that group qualifies as investigative journalism, and the scandalous details he recounts are impressive. Unfortunately, Doyle does not engage lay readers, relying far too heavily on unfamiliar acronyms and institutional prose; further, he does not draw memorable characters, either the heroes or the villains. As a result, the book is mostly exhausting to understand, although the effort may be worthwhile for patient readers with some economics background. The final chapter, a lengthy list of proposed reforms, is far easier to digest. Doyle proposes a new agency to be created by Congress (until now part of the scandal rather than part of the solution)—called the Financial Regulatory Review Board—and run by highly qualified individuals currently in the private sector who have demonstrated a passion for public service. The author has clearly done his homework while thinking about a reform effort.

An important book that could have been much better with improved writing and greater insider sharing by Doyle.

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-137-27872-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Nov. 11, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2013

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KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON

THE OSAGE MURDERS AND THE BIRTH OF THE FBI

Dogged original research and superb narrative skills come together in this gripping account of pitiless evil.

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Greed, depravity, and serial murder in 1920s Oklahoma.

During that time, enrolled members of the Osage Indian nation were among the wealthiest people per capita in the world. The rich oil fields beneath their reservation brought millions of dollars into the tribe annually, distributed to tribal members holding "headrights" that could not be bought or sold but only inherited. This vast wealth attracted the attention of unscrupulous whites who found ways to divert it to themselves by marrying Osage women or by having Osage declared legally incompetent so the whites could fleece them through the administration of their estates. For some, however, these deceptive tactics were not enough, and a plague of violent death—by shooting, poison, orchestrated automobile accident, and bombing—began to decimate the Osage in what they came to call the "Reign of Terror." Corrupt and incompetent law enforcement and judicial systems ensured that the perpetrators were never found or punished until the young J. Edgar Hoover saw cracking these cases as a means of burnishing the reputation of the newly professionalized FBI. Bestselling New Yorker staff writer Grann (The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness, and Obsession, 2010, etc.) follows Special Agent Tom White and his assistants as they track the killers of one extended Osage family through a closed local culture of greed, bigotry, and lies in pursuit of protection for the survivors and justice for the dead. But he doesn't stop there; relying almost entirely on primary and unpublished sources, the author goes on to expose a web of conspiracy and corruption that extended far wider than even the FBI ever suspected. This page-turner surges forward with the pacing of a true-crime thriller, elevated by Grann's crisp and evocative prose and enhanced by dozens of period photographs.

Dogged original research and superb narrative skills come together in this gripping account of pitiless evil.

Pub Date: April 18, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-385-53424-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

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UNDER THE BRIDGE

A tour-de-force of true crime reportage.

Godfrey reconstructs a horrific murder with a vividness found in the finest fiction, without ever sacrificing journalistic integrity.

The novel The Torn Skirt (2002) showed how well the author could capture the roiling inner life of a teenager. She brings that sensibility to bear in this account of the 1997 murder of a 14-year-old girl in British Columbia, a crime for which seven teenage girls and one boy were charged. While there’s no more over-tilled literary soil than that of the shocking murder in a small town, Godfrey manages to portray working-class View Royal in a fresh manner. The victim, Reena Virk, was a problematic kid. Rebelling against her Indian parents’ strict religiosity, she desperately mimicked the wannabe gangsta mannerisms of her female schoolmates, who repaid her idolization by ignoring her. The circumstances leading up to the murder seem completely trivial: a stolen address book, a crush on the wrong guy. But popular girls like Josephine and Kelly had created a vast, imaginary world (mostly stolen from mafia movies and hip-hop) in which they were wildly desired and feared. In this overheated milieu, reality was only a distant memory, and everything was allowed. The murder and cover-up are chilling. Godfrey parcels out details piecemeal in the words of the teens who took part or simply watched. None of them seemed to quite comprehend what was going on, why it happened or even—in a few cases—what the big deal was. The tone veers close to melodrama, but in this context it works, since the author is telling the story from the inside out, trying to approximate the relentlessly self-dramatizing world these kids inhabited. Given most readers’ preference for easily explained and neatly concluded crime narratives, Godfrey’s resolute refusal to impose false order on the chaos of a murder spawned by rumors and lies is commendable.

A tour-de-force of true crime reportage.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-7432-1091-3

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2005

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