Friday, November 9, 2012

review: ghosts of manhattan by douglas brunt

In Ghosts of Manhattan, Douglas Brunt profiles a Bear Stearns bond trader in 2005.  Although Nick has a seven-figure salary, it’s just not enough, especially when compared to some of his coworkers.  Nick is married, but that doesn’t stop him from going out drinking with the other guys from work which often leads to strip clubs, hookers, and drugs.  He recognizes that his lifestyle is detrimental to the marriage, but Nick also can’t figure out how to not need the money he makes.  This alone was an interesting story, but Brunt pushes it into the fantastic category by incorporating signs that everything is about to crash.  The brokerage firm had hired a man named Freddie to assess the risks of its dealings; Freddie correctly predicted the forthcoming crash, but Bear fired him after he made the report.  The book is fiction, but Brunt convinced me that much of this is based in reality.  It’s easy to believe the recession was due in large part to many greedy people who were having far too much fun partying to pull even a little from the substantial risks that were taken.  The characters were realistic too.  Nick’s coworkers were completely believable in their debauchery while the actions of Nick and his wife, Julia, were understandable.
Review copy provided by the publisher, Touchstone.

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