HARD MONEY by Michael M. Thomas


Email this review


An entertaining new novel by the author of Green Monday, 1980. Seventy-five-year-old Xenophon Horace Hubert Monstrance, founder of the successful broadcasting company GBG, decides to emerge from retirement to regain control of his company, which under his son Abner's stewardship has been renamed AbCom and has branched out into financial services, computer software, and real estate. The elder Monstrance wants to bring back high-quality programming--AbCom's biggest hit under Abner is ""The Dumpsters,"" about a family that lives in a garbage receptacle--but more broadly he is determined to restore value to American life, and this includes exposing Eldon Erwit, the folksy former television personality who is now president of the United States, for the right-wing bigot and tool of the rich that he is. Like the giant stock-market manipulation in Green Monday, this is a nifty idea, and Thomas, a former investment banker, provides fascinating descriptions of the mechanics of a proxy fight, the ritual of meetings with securities analysts, and the machinations of Wall Street's mergers and acquisitions specialist, arbitrageurs, and greenmailers. He is also adept at etching in acid the milieu of the super-rich, whether in the Hamptons, on a remote key in the Caribbean, or at a gallery opening in Manhattan. But unfortunately, all this is seen through the eyes of a particularly long. winded narrator, Stephen Armitage Mountcastle VI, a magazine writer and school chum of Abner Monstrance. Sam, as he's called, insists on telling us everything about himself, from what he likes to eat for breakfast to his casual affairs to his secret scorn for all these very rich people, with whom he nevertheless seems to spend all his time. In short, no one seems up to his lofty standards, which makes him something less than sympathetic. And the superabundance of detail he furnishes about himself pulls the book out of shape. Still, in its favor are the very real cleverness of the plot, characters engaged in doing interesting things, and some trenchant commentary on current financial, corporate and political practices.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1985
Publisher: Viking