NEST OF VIPERS by Linda Davies


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 The game of fast-track money deals is as much an aphrodisiac as power and forbidden sex in this financial thriller, a first novel. In Davies's universe, manipulating markets and people is sport, a turn-on for her loose-cannon heroine, Sarah Jensen, who connives to expose dirty doings at the cutthroat Inter-Continental Bank (ICB) of London. Why does Sarah, a beautiful and successful currency trader, snoop to conquer evidence of fraud? Because the governor of the Bank of England asked her to. Later, she admits having been flattered and seduced by the ``glamour of secrecy.'' Sarah, orphaned at eight, also has a penchant for risk-taking and self-destructive behavior. She beds her seemingly sinister boss, Dante Scarpirato, excited after winning illegally in the volatile foreign-exchange markets to prove she is one of the boys--who make millions during an afternoon's trading when sterling rises against the dollar. Just as recklessly, she recruits a female pal into planting bugging devices in the apartment of Carla Vitale, lover of a corrupt ICB colleague. It turns out that Carla has been blackmailing a high-ranking Italian banker (with ties to the Mafia) so that her yuppie beau can engage in international insider trading. This is explosive information, and the bodies start piling up. Meanwhile, it becomes clear that the man who set Sarah up as a mole is himself a puppet for a ruthless honcho in narcotics intelligence. When two of Sarah's friends die, partly because of her own blundering, she fights back with machiavellian cunning. This gripping read reveals a flashy merchant class and a moral void--akin to an upholstered pit in a gambling casino. (Film rights to MGM; Literary Guild main selection)

Pub Date: Feb. 10th, 1995
ISBN: 0-385-47596-9
Page count: 412pp
Publisher: Doubleday
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 1994


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