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by Norb Vonnegut

Pub Date: April 26th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-312-38469-2
Publisher: Minotaur

Things go from grim to worse for rising hedge-fund star Jimmy Cusack when his company collapses and the fund that recruits him is targeted for destruction by cutthroat bankers in Iceland and a sheikh in Qatar.

One-time stockbroker Vonnegut (a distant cousin of the late Kurt) follows up his debut, Top Producer (2009), with a hectic Wall Street thriller. Cusack, a blue-collar Boston native, is sitting pretty with his 61st floor office in the Empire State Building, a $3 million condo in New York's trendy Meatpacking District and a pregnant, loving wife with Beacon Hill bloodlines. When investors suddenly pull out of his hedge fund, he is left facing foreclosure. Serendipitously, or so he thinks, he lands with the prosperous LeeWell Capital in Greenwich, Conn. ("ceremonial capital of Hedgistan"). It's run by Cy Leeser, a product of Hell's Kitchen who has a weakness for expensive art and has a beautiful Brazilian romance novelist for a wife. Cusack quickly scores a major account he hopes will bail him out, but nothing and no one are what they seem—especially the sexy hit woman on the loose. The fund spouts leaks and Jimmy is left desperately racing against time to save himself and his wife Emi. He can only hope for help from his old Wharton friend, Geek, and a mystery man who leaves him notes signed with the name of former NFL quarterback Daryle Lamonica.

Vonnegut knows the territory almost too well—it's sometimes difficult to keep up with his dense inside plotting—and Cusack could hardly be a more callow protagonist. But the novel moves at such a fast clip, spilling goods on recession-era wheelers and dealers as it goes, that readers will get caught up despite the flaws.