Rich Mauro is living the dream—heaps of money, beautiful girlfriend, bright future—when an insider-trading scheme involving him and his blue-collar co-workers in the printing department of a big New York law firm blows up in their faces.
Mauro, an ex–construction worker with connections at Olmstead & Taft, is all but guaranteed a cushy job after law school. But Jason Spade, a self-hating young ne'er-do-well at the firm, talks him into thinking he's going to lose his girlfriend Elyse to the hotshot ad man her starchy-rich parents have in mind for her—unless he comes up with a nest egg fast. The insecure Mauro agrees to lift privileged investment information from the papers they're copying and to his profound regret enlists three workmates in the plan, including his mildly retarded supervisor and a reformed Puerto Rican gang leader. They're all in it together: To access the offshore account where their millions in stock profits will go, each participant secretly chooses three digits of a 15-digit password. Things go swimmingly until financial analysts get wind of the trading irregularities. Mauro thinks they can just step away from the scheme with what they've earned. But the Dominican mobsters to whom Spade is in debt, unbeknownst to his partners, have other ideas. Though we are told from the start that things will end tragically, the brutality and shocking suddenness of the climax still catch us by surprise.
Though this novel cries out for some Elmore Leonard–like whittling away of soft tissue, Santora pulls no punches with his Faustus-like story.